May 28, 2020
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Lawyer files motion to hold health commissioner in contempt

Darren Fishell | BDN
Darren Fishell | BDN
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services offices on State Street in Augusta, shown in this December 2017 file photo.

PORTLAND, Maine — A Portland defense lawyer wants to hold the acting commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services in contempt of court.

Attorney Sarah Branch says her client spent nearly one month in jail waiting for mental health treatment. The Portland Press Herald reports the state has attempted to dismiss the case by arguing the man Branch represents is now receiving treatment in Augusta.

Branch represents 44-year-old Joseph Lluvera, who was found incompetent to stand trial. He was ordered committed, but remained in jail for nearly a month. Branch filed the emergency motion for contempt, arguing that leaving Lluvera in jail was cruel and unusual punishment.

District Court Judge Jed French will now decide whether the contempt hearing can go forward. The Maine Attorney General’s Office declined comment.


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