Contrary to the implication made by attorney Jim Howeniec in his Oct. 8 BDN OpEd that he has an 80-year-old client jailed over a year awaiting trial on a charge, there is no 80-year-old client held in Androscoggin County Jail on a misdemeanor charge. There is in the jail an 80-year-old client who was arrested Oct. 14, 2014, and charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors, including Class A gross sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact and sexual abuse involving a minor. For these serious charges, bail was set at $25,000.
Since then, trial has been set on three separate dates, beginning as early as Jan. 5, 2015. Howeniec has requested multiple competency exams, which the court has granted. But, as any attorney understands, the requests necessarily delay his client’s trial, which is now scheduled for November.
While I appreciate the counsel’s passionate defense of the need for counsel for indigent defendants, his OpEd does BDN readers a disservice to suggest that his client is languishing behind bars awaiting trial for misdemeanor offenses. The charges are serious, bail reflects the seriousness of the charges and the court has been ready to provide a trial since last January.
Mary Ann Lynch, Esq.
Government and Media Counsel
Maine Judicial Branch
Hike the minimum wage
I find it amazing that I can pick up the paper and read about businesses not wanting to pay employees more because it would cut into their profits and then read a second article saying the U.S. median income is down and poverty rates are up.
Raising the minimum wage and putting more money into the pockets of the consumers seems like the obvious answer in our consumer-based economy. But I assume we will be cutting education and welfare because of supply-side economic voodoo.
Unite for sensible gun control
No gun should be able to hold over six shots without reloading. We need to protect innocent people from dying needlessly. Only our police departments and military should be able to possess guns with clips for faster firepower.
The Republican Party is in the hip pocket of the NRA. It is all about money for them and to hell with innocent Americans. It is past time to pass sensible laws to protect our population and still have the right to own guns for self-defense.
Let us remember that when our right to bear arms was enacted by the Founding Fathers, guns only held one bullet, and then they had to reload. Those days are gone. We need to at least try to become a safer society for the sake of all innocent children. Let’s unite, Republicans and Democrats, for unified sensible gun controls.
Yes on Question 1
I was very happy to read in a recent BDN Daily Brief that Sen. Angus King and former Sen. George Mitchell endorsed Question 1 on the Nov. 3 ballot. Question 1 will reform Maine’s campaign finance system to increase transparency and accountability in elections by strengthening disclosure requirements so voters can tell who is trying to influence their vote. And it will increase fines and penalties for those who break our election laws so violators are truly held accountable.
Right now, there is far too much money in politics. Every election cycle millions of dollars pour into Maine from secret money groups, all in an effort to influence politicians and mislead voters. It’s not OK, and that’s why Question 1 is so important.
Earning an endorsement from King and Mitchell only underscores the importance of Question 1. Both men truly care about Maine and have devoted much of their lives to public service. In addition, they both truly understand the influence that big money has on our elections and on public officials.
By endorsing Question 1, they are standing up against the status quo and helping Mainers throughout this state fight to ensure our voice is heard and isn’t drowned out wealthy special interest money in our Democracy.
This November, I am joining King and Mitchell by voting yes on Question 1.