Maine Commission To Study Priorities and Timing of Judicial Proceedings in State Courts meets October 12

Back in March I noted the introduction in Maine of SB 297, a bill to create a Commission To Study Priorities and Timing of Judicial Proceedings in State Courts. The sole duty of the commission is to “study the priority and timing of judicial proceedings in state courts including, but not limited to, judicial proceedings that require priority treatment pursuant to statute.”

The bill was eventually signed into law and the commission is set to hold its first meeting on October 12.

The first item on the agenda is a review of SB 297 and Joint Rule 318:

Whenever a legislative measure is proposed that contains a provision to expedite, establish or adjust the priority of judicial proceedings, the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over the proposal shall hold a public meeting on the proposal and determine the level of support for the proposal among members of the committee. If there is support for the proposal among a majority of the members of the committee, the committee shall request the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over judiciary matters to review and evaluate the proposal as it pertains to the appropriate priority and timing of judicial proceedings in all state courts. Information may be requested from the Judicial Branch. The joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over judiciary matters shall conduct the review and report back to the committee of jurisdiction.

Also on the agenda are presentations on:

  • The Judicial Branch’s Perspective, by Mary Ann Lynch, Director of Court Information
  • Perspectives from Other Legal Practitioners
    • Maine State Bar Association
    • Maine Prosecutors Association
    • Pine Tree Legal Assistance
    • Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services
    • Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Discussion is then set to follow on process and product:

  • Criteria for setting priorities?
  • Review of priorities – How? By categories?
  • Uniformity/consistency in language – Model for current and future provisions?
  • Recommendations specific to the current priorities?
  • Identification of criteria used by the Commission and recommendation of criteria to be used in the future by Judiciary Committee?
  • Necessary legislation to implement Commission recommendations?
  • Codify or amend Joint Rule to include criteria?

While the duty of the commission was never altered, the composition of the commission went through several legislative iterations (details below).

Introduced Joint Committee On Judiciary Version Senate Amended/Enacted Version
Senate Republican Senate Republican Senate Republican
Senate Democrat Senate Democrat Senate Democrat
House Republican House Republican House Republican
House Democrat House Democrat House Democrat
House Republican OR Democrat House Republican OR Democrat House Republican OR Democrat
Chief Justice’s selection Chief Justice’s selection Chief Justice’s selection
Chief Justice’s selection Chief Justice’s selection Chief Justice’s selection
Attorney General’s selection Attorney General’s selection Attorney General’s selection
Maine Trial Lawyers Association’s selection Maine Trial Lawyers Association’s selection Maine Trial Lawyers Association’s selection
Additional Senate Republican OR Democrat
Additional House Republican OR Democrat Additional House Republican OR Democrat
Maine State Bar’s selection
Maine Prosecutors Association’s selection
Pine Tree Legal Assistance’s selection

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