BIDDEFORD, I’LL SEE YOU IN COURT!

BIDDEFORD SACO OOB COURIER, JUNE 12, 2002

Biddeford, I’ll see you in court!

By Chris Churchill
Staff Writer
Cape Elizabeth attorney David Lourie is taking on City Hall – Biddeford’s City Hall. He has four lawsuits against the city in the works, three in association with the Maine Civil Liberties Union (MCLU).

“I’ve got as much of a caseload with Biddeford as I normally have in total,” said the bearded lawyer, 54, sitting in his messy home office. “I have a hard time saying no when people have their rights violated.”

First, he’s representing Dorothy Lafortune in a federal suit against the city’s attempt to keep her public-access program – “The Maine Forum” – off the air.

In an unrelated case with a similar subject matter, he’s representing Richard Rhames in a federal suit claiming the ongoing shutdown of public access is illegal.

And he’s representing Grayson Street resident John Packard against city charges that he illegally repaired cars at his residence. The MCLU is not involved in that case, but is involved in a spin-off case in which Lourie is charging that the city’s rules governing charter changes are illegal under state law.

“I could probably spend the rest of my life keeping [Biddeford] from acting illegally if I were willing to do it,” claimed Lourie, closing his eyes as he speaks. “I’m starting to feel like I’m the alternative city attorney for Biddeford.”

The MCLU, with 1,800 members, was founded in 1968 and is devoted to advancing and protecting the civil liberties and civil rights of Maine residents, according to its website.

Lourie’s work on behalf of the MCLU has earned him this year’s Scolnik Award, named for Justice Louis Scolnik, a retired Maine Supreme Court Justice and a founding member of the MCLU.
“We give the Scolnik Award for a member of Maine’s legal community who has made an outstanding contribution to civil liberties in Maine,” said Dorcas Gilpatrick, the MCLU’s director.
And, this year, much of Lourie’s contribution is being made in Biddeford.

As the organization has limited resources, the MCLU doesn’t take on many cases, Gilpatrick said. It looks for cases where “a significant constitutional right is in question.”

Lourie and the MCLU have yet to win one of their cases against Biddeford, and an early ruling in the Rhames case went the city’s way. But is it reason for concern that a group devoted to civil liberties has chosen to sue Biddeford three times?
“No,” said Mayor Donna Dion. Anybody can file a suit, she said, but “that doesn’t mean they’re correct.”
“Every opportunity they have, they’re going to come after us,” the mayor said of the MCLU. “Every claim they make, we’ll do due diligence and respond.”

Harry Center, Biddeford’s city attorney, did not return phone calls for this article.

Lourie, a Queens, N.Y., native, is no stranger to municipal government. After graduating from the Boston College Law School, he was the attorney for the city of Portland for 10 years.
Since going into private practice in 1990, he has watched many city and town councils in action, and has taken many to court for their actions. For example, he took South Portland to court – and won – when that its City Council refused to open all city polls for a gay-rights referendum.

Still, he is surprised by what he’s seen in Biddeford – and is scathing in his appraisals of Biddeford government: “I would classify Biddeford as being the worst in terms of respect of individual rights and basic due process,” he said.

Lourie, who obviously doesn’t back down from controversy, likes his job. He likes being an attorney, although he resisted becoming one. He comes from a family of lawyers and wanted to do something different.

“It’s the only thing I had an aptitude for,” he said. “I really enjoying practicing law. It gives me a chance to do things for people and for causes I believe in – and, sometimes, to make some money.”
Lourie usually doesn’t make money on MCLU cases – he volunteers his time. In doing so, he and the MCLU open the courts to people who wouldn’t otherwise be there.

Lafortune is an example. She would not have had the money to take Biddeford to court on her own, she said.

“I’m glad the MCLU has taken a stand on this,” she said, “because people all over are watching.”

Lawyers often have not fared well on Lafortune’s talk show, where they are portrayed as representing all that is wrong with the world. But she has good feelings about Lourie.

“I’m not going to change my feelings about attorneys,” Lafortune said. “He’s an exception.”

See also THE MAINE FORUM – FIRST AMENDMENT CASE    (Part 1)

See also THE MAINE FORUM – FIRST AMENDMENT CASE (Part 2) 

Published in: on September 18, 2011 at 7:50 pm  Comments (7)  

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  1. Thank you Chris Churchill, Staff Write for this information in paragraph #9 in that: “the MCLU doesn’t take on many cases, Gilpatrick said. It looks for cases where “a significant constitutional right is in question.” When you next see 54-year old David Laurie from Cape Elizabeth with the “messy home office” (;-) would you please give him my thanks and more thanks if he would please look into the Cirino Gonzalez case of a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus that was denied by a judge at the Cumberland County Superior Court in Portland back in 2009. It has significant rights but are they enough to “look” into DOing something about that of for him and/or other(s) in the future who might be brought over from New Hampshire both illegally and unlawfully to Federal Court? His case is interesting because when asked to sign a waiver in writing, he kept the written offer as evidence that the Assistant U.S. Attorney Arnold Huftalen KNEW that it was against 18USC3232 to TAKE him across state lines withOUT such, but did so anyway from his Boscawen Jail cell at one of the two facilities here in N.H. who do agree to do business with the Feds even AFTER they too know that the Feds haven’t even complied with N.H. RSA Ch. 123:1 http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/NHTOC/NHTOC-IX-123.htm for the “agent” mentioned therein is currently Martha Johnson of the G.S.A./ General Services Administration in Washington, D.C. as landlord / landlady or the 40USC255 to 3112 “head” of “agency” for her tenants over there at the Warren B. Rudman, and James C. Cleveland Building at 53-55 Pleasant Street in Concord, N.H. being the U.S. Marshal and U.S. District Court; plus: U.S. Attorney respectfully. They KNOW that they have to file by their own U.S. Attorney Manual 664 but who REFUSE to do so. See: http://www.justice.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/crm00664.htm An H.R. by N.H. State Rep. Dan Itse of Freedom, N.H. http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/ols/nhlegislativelsrlisting.pdf to deal with this in the N.H. General Court in Year 2012, so David might like to get involved with this +/or a similar case now so as to make not just waves, but a tidal wave of a like front-page story next year that hopefully will excite the people so much that a flood of $donations come into the M.C.L.U. to say: thank you for what you’re doing as a state citizen against these Federalists who seek to trample on our rights as citizens in both states, (Article 12 “inhabitants” here in N.H., Part First & Bill of Rights, plus the Article 30, Part 2 “citizen”s too) since the Sixth (6th) Amendment is still on the books and since he has proven himself here, then maybe if Uncle Sam tries to tread into other violations that your Esquire or Shield WILL be to call upon David your hero to also be The Sword for $damages. The law of the 6th in that the criminal prosecution of ALL trials means just that of at the one hundred (100%) level and not this “some” talk that is like George Orwellian “Nineteen Eighty Four” of calling white black, and black white, etc. in a topsy-turvey or bass-ackwards world of corruptors meaning the bad apples in the barrel who have got to be impeached for a violation of their oaths of office to honor the law, not to do it a dis-honor!

  2. When I read this I, at first I thought we should be celebrating. How did it turn out?

  3. I followed the provided links for additional and interesting info. Looking forward to more posts on this topic, because if the Federal Court comes to be used as a tool to further take our rights away, we really don’t have anything left, and we’ll be living like Celts, or Plymouth Pilgrims in the not too distant future.

  4. The reporter Chris Churchill did a good job on this article, but he’s good at ripping people apart……doesn’t do his homework…..a typical mainstream reporter. To my knowledge, he left left the newspaper(s) …

    MCLU, Atty. David Lourie, did not want to appeal. He knew that the Federal Court was playing ball with the City of Biddeford….

    I filed an appeal, pro se, with the First Circuit Court of Appeals ; my appeal was GRANTED, case remanded for further proceedings. Judge Brock Hornby did not hold “further proceedings.” He dismissed the case. I appealed again, First Circuit affirmed the court’s decision. I read about the decision in the Journal Tribune. I had to call the court to send me their Order!

    I could have filed with the US Supreme Court, but didn’t. I was fighting the City of Biddeford with their backdoor scheme to take my home (if you’re not a “resident” you can’t use the public access…….this was their intent, thus the “taking” of my home.

    City attorney Harry Center left his position when the case was remanded; he also left the law firm of Smith Ellliot & Garmey. Where the case was not over at that point, I guess he thought it best to get out of the picture.

    I have more to add to this story and how it ties in to the taking of my home. I’ll get to it.

    Dottie

  5. Thanks Dotti. Thus what you’ve confirmed here is that Maine judges do not go by common English. “Further proceedings” is a plural phrase, whereas a Dismissal without even one hearing as by a single word of: DENIED is not even a proceeding. What dictionary do they use? The one from “George Orwell”? (;-) Not really a laughing matter! In fact illegal and unlawful if this judicial crap was ever done so over here in New Hampshire as against R.S.A. Chapter 21:2 for the common use of words and Article 14 “complete”ness too, in our N.H. Bill of Rights respectfully.

  6. The Biddeford Police Department is corrupt. They have a Deputy Chief, Joanne Fisk who violated a citizen. A citizen was stopped by one of their Police Officer. The citizen called the Clerk of Courts, Kathy Jones to tell her she was going to be late. The Clerk, Kathy Jones asked the
    citizen why the police officer stopped her on her way to work. The citizen told her, Kathy Jones told the citizen, oh we can get the DA to take care of that. The citizen repeated it to the Police Officer without thinking. She reported Robert Flint to the Biddeford Police as he was rude to her. Instead of calling her back, Joanne Fisk called the Clerk of Courts Kathy Jones to come over to view the tape exchange that the officer taped of the stop. Kathy Jones left her post to view the tape. She
    took a copy of it back to her office to give to her boss. Joanne Fisk give her a copy of this tape without going thru the DA. The citizen who was stopped was also a Clerk of Courts. She had to go thru the DA to get her own tape. Kathy Jones is in a hearing admitting she went over to the Police Department for personnal reasons and for no other reason.
    The charges were dropped from the DA office because her attorney told the DA’s office that it was going on the news. Joanne Fisk had no right giving this tape to Kathy Jones. It caused problems for the Citizen Clerk of Courts in her job environment. This case is going into State Court. Thank goodness for the news media. When this case is filed, I will be calling the news to follow this case. Corruption all the way by the Biddeford Police Department.

  7. Flint was a hard ass as a trooper twenty years ago. I wonder why he is still a traffic cop?


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