June 16, 2019
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Federal courts in Maine will run out of money next week

Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
The Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building in Bangor.

Federal courts in Bangor and Portland will run out of money late next week but continue to operate as the federal government’s shutdown persists, according to U.S. District Judge Jon Levy, the chief federal judge in Maine.

Levy said Thursday in a posting on the court’s website that the federal judiciary has enough funds to run either through Thursday, Jan. 31 or Friday, Feb. 1. The courts would begin operating without funding on Feb. 4.

The projected end date for operating funds is an update from an estimate two weeks ago, when the federal court’s administrative office projected that the courts had enough money to last through Jan. 18.

The court system has continued operating because it has put off “non-critical operating costs” and used court filing fees and other available accounts for basic operating costs, according to information posted on the judiciary’s website.

[A running list of the shutdown’s effects in Maine]

In addition to federal district and bankruptcy courts, the system includes the Federal Public Defender’s office and U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services.

“Should a complete lapse in funds occur, Maine’s two federal courthouses in Portland and Bangor will remain open and operating, but will do so with a reduced staff of employees who will not be receiving paychecks,” Levy announced.

A plan outlining which employees would be told to stay home and who would be deemed essential and required to keep working will be announced next week, the judge said. Weekly updates about significant changes to operations will be posted on the court’s website.

“The judges and the entire court staff are committed to continuing to carry out the judiciary’s constitutional responsibility to administer justice and uphold the rule of law,” Levy said.

The federal court system in Maine was established in 1789 as one of the 13 original federal district courts.

 



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