ACLU in Maine expands lawsuit over rights of low-income defendants

The Kennebec County Superior Court on Friday granted the ACLU of Maine's request to expand its lawsuit against the state for violating the Sixth Amendment rights of low-income defendants.

The court's decision allows the ACLU to name Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey as a defendant and update allegations that the state fails to provide low-income defendants with an attorney within a reasonable time after arrest. In addition, the ACLU can file new wrongful imprisonment claims against county sheriffs and the state for unconstitutionally detaining indigent defendants without providing them with an attorney.

A report by the ACLU of Maine found that the number of people without a lawyer has increased by nearly 500 percent in the past six months and that 144 people are incarcerated without legal representation.

Anna Harden

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