BANGOR, Maine — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court is scheduled next week to hear oral arguments in more than a dozen appeals at the Penobscot Judicial Center.
The justices will convene Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to consider legal issues in cases that run the gamut from employment to business to family to criminal law. All but two of the appeals stem from decisions made in lower courts located in northern and midcoast Maine.
Most of the year, the justices convene at the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland. Since the completion of the Penobscot Judicial Center in November 2009, the court has visited the Queen City more frequently than it had previously. Justices last convened in Bangor for one day in April and for two days in November.
“There is only one Law Court in Maine,” Chief Justice Leigh I. Saufley said in April on the reason the court tries to convene at least twice a year in Bangor. “We try to get out on the road so that lawyers have the opportunity to argue in their own communities and to reduce the travel costs for clients whose cases we hear. We also hope that more people will watch oral arguments to learn more about the judicial process and that more lawyers will become involved in appellate work when they attend oral arguments.”
Two of the appeals to be heard next week grew out of criminal cases adjudicated in Penobscot County.
Terry W. Chesnel, 56, of Lewiston was sentenced in July 2008 to five years in prison for continuing to drive after having his license revoked and for drunken driving, according to a brief filed in the case. In addition, he was ordered to pay $4,505 in fines including surcharges.
During his incarceration, money has been deducted from his prison account to help pay the fine. As of April 21, a total of $1,595 had been collected toward Chesnel’s fines in that manner, according to a brief filed by Assistant District Attorney Susan Pope.
Chesnel, who was receiving about $200 a month from family and friends, objected to having 25 percent of his prison account taken out to pay the fines. He maintained that he did not have to begin paying fines until after his scheduled release on Oct. 8, 2013. A Penobscot County judge last year denied his request to end the transfer of funds from his prison accounts.
In an unrelated case, David Archer, 36 of Bangor has appealed his conviction for attempted murder. He was sentenced last summer to 18 years in prison with all but 13 suspended after a jury found him guilty in January 2010 of trying to kill his ex-girlfriend in April 2008.
In his appeal, Archer’s attorney, Verne E. Paradie Jr. of Auburn, who did not represent the defendant at trial, argued that, among other things, the testimony of Archer’s mother about when he threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend should not have been admitted.
Pope argued in her brief that the judge properly admitted all evidence.