Justice Roland A. Cole Named Chief Justice Of The Superior Court

BDN reports “Superior Court Justice Roland A. Cole has been named chief justice of the Superior Court by Leigh I. Saufley, chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Cole replaces the former chief justice, Thomas Humphrey, who was sworn in last week by Gov. Paul LePage as an associate justice on the state supreme court.

“I am delighted to announce that Justice Roland A. Cole has agreed to serve as chief justice of the Superior Court effective June 10, 2015,” Saufley said Tuesday in a press release. “We are very fortunate that a judge with his skills and experience is willing to take on the responsibilities of the chief justice of the Superior Court.”

Cole was appointed to the District Court bench in 1981 by Gov. Joseph E. Brennan, the press release said. He was appointed to the Superior Court bench in 1986 by Brennan. Read more HERE.

Cole will earn $126,000 a year in his new post, a raise of $5,000 over what he earned as an associate justice.

Related:

Committee on Judicial Responsibility and Disability
MEMBERS AND STAFF

The Committee is composed of seven members who serve for one nonrenewable six-year term. Two of the members are judges (from the Superior, District, or Probate Courts), two are lawyers,and three are members of the public (including the current chairperson). The judicial members of the Committee are appointed by the Supreme Judicial Court, and the lawyer and public members are appointed by the Court upon the recommendation of the Governor. The current Committee Members are:

  • Dr. Anne E. Pooler, Chairperson, until February 3, 2021
  • Dr. Jill Gordon, until October 7, 2017
  • Jennifer Nichols Ferguson, Esq., until December 12, 2017
  • District Court Judge Peter J. Goranites, until August 3, 2017
  • Superior Court Justice Paul A. Fritzsche, until August 31, 2018
  • Robert E. Crowley, Esq., until August 31, 2018
  • Jon P. Van Hoogenstyn, until August 31, 2018

The Committee has four alternate members (one Superior Court Justice, one District Court Judge, one lawyer, and one public member) who attend Committee meetings and vote when a regular member is absent or is disqualified from participating in a particular matter. The current Alternate Members are:

Judicial:

  • Superior Court Justice Roland A. Cole, until August 31, 2018
  • District Court Judge Patricia G. Worth, until August 3, 2017

Lawyer Member:

  • Charles W. Smith Jr., Esq., until August 31, 2018

Lay Member:

  • Christine S. Gianopoulos, M.P.A., until February 3, 2021

Judicial Liaison:

  • Associate Justice Ellen A. Gorman, Maine Supreme Judicial Court

In addition, the Committee currently employs a part-time Executive Secretary, who is a lawyer, and an Administrative Assistant. They are:

Cabanne Howard, Executive Secretary

Committee on Judicial Responsibility and Disability Roster (PDF)

The “fix is in”! When will the Governor “fix” this?

A Maine State Senator, David Dutremble, Reports On The Judiciary Committee What The Public Has Witnessed For Years!

BDN reports “Public Lockout: From Deliberations by the Judiciary Committee of the Maine Legislature.

All legislative committees are mandated by Maine law to conduct hearings, deliberations, and work sessions in public.

But in a May 19 speech on the Senate floor, state Sen. David Dutremble (D-Biddeford) reported that the Judiciary Committee conducted such business in private over the weekend that started May 8. Its deliberations concerned the reappointment of controversial Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz – the judge who issued an illegal gag order in January – and whose reappointment was opposed by many members of the public.

Maine citizens deserve to know what transpired that weekend with their Judiciary Committee. Did the members, in fact, meet behind closed doors and/or have private conversations in violation of state mandates? A legislative inquiry into the actions of the committee is warranted to protect the interests of the public.

Here’s what is clear: Without a single comment or question, the Judiciary Committee on May 12 unanimously recommended that Moskowitz be reappointed. One by one, each committee member simply voted yes. Those of us who witnessed this were dumbfounded. It left us with the uncomfortable feeling that something was amiss. How was their unified position reached outside of public view?

This spring was the first time in 20 years that judicial reappointments were challenged. And many citizens vehemently and passionately expressed their opposition to Judge Moskowitz, as well as to Judge Patricia Worth before him. In both cases, the Judiciary Committee nevertheless unanimously recommended approval. And at least in the case of Moskowitz, committee members allegedly deliberated outside of the public’s view and earshot.

This is extremely concerning. State mandates requiring the utmost transparency are meant to protect us all.

Input from those who are consumers of the court system – not just lawyers who earn their livings in front of judges – must be heard. People also deserve to know that the systems set up to protect them are working as they’re supposed to. When systems become about protecting themselves instead of the citizens they were designed to protect, the delicate fabric and balance of our constitutional rights is put in jeopardy. Legislative maneuvers that eliminate transparency and thereby remove public oversight are the antithesis of a democratic society.

We urge the Maine Legislature to take action and give the public answers. When asked to explain how his committee could unanimously approve a judge with no public discussion whatsoever, the chair of Judiciary Committee, Sen. David Burns (R-Washington), responded that, “it is unfortunate that some individuals and legislators have tried to impugn the integrity of the committee members.”

Those who may dismiss this call for investigation, attributing it to “sour grapes” or “angry litigants,” demonstrate a lack of respect for the most essential principles that define our nation.

To date, the president of the Maine Senate, Michael Thibodeau, has failed to respond to requests for a public inquiry about the actions of the Judiciary Committee.

This raises additional concerns. Without a legislative inquiry and report, Maine citizens will be left to wonder if their legislative and judiciary truly are the separate branches of government that are fundamental to freedom and liberty. We need to know what our legislators are doing – and why they’re doing it.

If you agree with me on this, We urge readers to contact their legislator and request an investigation. Let’s just find out what happened.”

Read more HERE.

**********

While it took decades for a state representative to listen, then experience for himself, the egregious misconduct by member of the Judiciary Committee, the proof is in the pudding.

In rebuttal to the BDN’s report “This spring was the first time in 20 years that judicial re-appointments were challenged” is not correct. Several people testified before the committee in opposition to York County Superior Court Judge Arthur Brennan’s reappointment, less than 20 years ago.

“When asked to explain how his committee could unanimously approve a judge with no public discussion whatsoever, the chair of Judiciary Committee, Sen. David Burns (R-Washington), responded that, “it is unfortunate that some individuals and legislators have tried to impugn the integrity of the committee members.”

Senator David Burns was a member of the Judiciary Committee when former A.G. William Schneider was appointed to judgeship by Governor Paul LePage. Review “A System In Crisis” and you can come to your own conclusions as to the “criteria” used for confirmation of judges.
View HERE.  (Opposition to nomination begins at 46:14)

Phil Merletti Commentary on “A System In Crisis” – Judicial Confirmation Hearing of William J. Schneider, click here.

Related:

BDN reports “Maine Judiciary Committee Delays Reappointment Of Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz.”

“Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz was appointed to the District Court bench in January 2008 by Gov. John Baldacci after work as a prosecutor with the York County district attorney’s office. Gov. Paul LePage renominated Moskowitz to the bench last month along with eight of his colleagues.”

BDN reports ” A vote by the Judiciary Committee on the reappointment of the Maine judge was delayed Thursday until next week. Sen. David Burns, R-Whiting, chairman of the committee, said the delay would give District Court Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz and committee members an opportunity to read written testimony submitted before the hearing.

Burns said the committee would vote on Moskowitz’s renomination about 5 p.m. Tuesday.

More than half a dozen members of the legal community in Cumberland and York counties, including two district attorneys and a retired judge, spoke in favor of Moskowitz’s reappointment.

Moskowitz told the committee he wanted to keep his job.

“Like all people, I make mistakes,” he said. “You are all aware of my error issuing a controversial order. I sincerely regretted making that mistake. But I view my mistakes as a clear opportunity to learn and improve.”

Joshua Tardy, a Newport lawyer and former Republican legislator who is chairman of the governor’s judicial advisory committee, which vets judicial nominees, said the committee took concerns expressed about how Moskowitz handles family cases seriously.

“The committee felt an obligation to determine the veracity of the complaints about Judge Moskowitz,” Tardy told the committee. “I assure you that they have been taken seriously, and we have done our due diligence. We did not make a quick decision, but it was an easy decision once we had information.”

Moskowitz also was endorsed by the Maine State Bar Association and the Maine Trial Lawyers Association. The presidents of both organizations said they sought out members to ask about their experiences before Moskowitz and he was praised resoundingly.

Widespread reports from informants whom we know well have experienced in his court a repeated pattern of rudeness and disrespect, failure to follow the law.

The last time the committee rejected a nomination was in the late 1980s, according to Rep. Barry Hobbins, D-Saco, who has been a member of the Legislature since the 1970s.”

Read more HERE.

MPBN reports “Michael Welch, president of the Maine Trial Lawyers Association, said “We all make mistakes. How do you deal with it?” His organization endorsed Moskowitz’s reappointment because of his outstanding abilities as a judge.”

State Sen. David Dutremble, a Biddeford Democrat, says he had been approached by a number of people with complaints about Moskowitz and got no assistance from the Administrative Office of the Courts or the governor’s office when he tried to investigate those complaints. Dutremble was critical of the politics involved in judicial appointments.

“Attempts to escape politics inevitably result in heeding the advice of a narrow group of decision makers that express the opinions of special interests of segments. In Maine, the segment that votes on the judge is the bar – especially those members who are actively political within the bar,” Dutremble said. “The public and the ‘pro se’ users are excluded from the process.”

Read more HERE.

PPH reports “Attorney Joshua Tardy, who is chairman of Gov. Paul LePage’s Judicial Selection Committee, said his group conducted a thorough review before deciding to recommend Moskowitz.

“It was not a quick decision to be blunt, but it was an easy decision after all the deliberation. Judge Moskowitz is truly deserving of nomination,” Tardy said. “Our committee has received wide spread consensus and feedback that he is fair, that he is smart. He is honest. He is efficient.”

Other attorneys who spoke in favor of Moskowitz included David Levesque, president of the Maine State Bar Association; Robert Ruffner; Michael Welch, president of the Maine Trial Lawyers Association; Judy Potter; Kenneth Altshuler; Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson; York County District Attorney Kathryn Slattery, Gerald Conley; Kristine Hanly; Diane Dusini; Robert Crowley, a retired judge; ; Ardith Keef and JohnWebb.

Notably, attorney Matthew Nichols, Webb’s law partner at Nichols and Webb, wrote a contradictory letter to the Judiciary Committee in which he said Moskowitz is “not a good judge.”

“If I had only my bad experiences with Judge Moskowitz, I would likely not be writing to you. But my own experiences have been echoed by countless other attorneys ranging from criminal defense lawyers, prosecutors, litigants and family law attorneys alike,” Nichols wrote in a letter dated May 4. “

The chairman of the committee, Sen. David Burns, R-Washington, on Thursday strictly enforced a three-minute time limit for testimony of Moskowitz’s opponents. But Burns allowed many attorneys in favor of Moskowitz to speak much longer.

Jerome Collins, who organizes an advocacy group called Maine Guardian Ad Litem Alerts, said he surveyed many citizens, as the Maine Bar Association, surveyed lawyers. He said citizens who appeared before Moskowitz who wanted to talk about him were those who felt wronged. He said that’s the opposite of lawyers who mostly only wanted to speak if they had something complimentary to say about the judge.

“What you really need is a legislative audit of the court to get the answer of what’s really going on. You need to conduct an in depth audit,” Collins said.

Other opponents who spoke against Moskowitz were Sen. David Dutremble, D-Biddeford; Falmouth activist Michael Doyle and Scarborough resident Robert Baizley.

None of the committee members asked Moskowitz any questions at the hearing.”

Moskowitz’s only supporter who was not a lawyer was Sen. Linda Valentino, D-Saco, who described herself as friends with Moskowitz.

Read more HERE.

CHANNEL 8 news report on Judge Moskowitz, view HERE.
A mistake? He’s sorry? Sorry doesn’t cut it!

Judge Moskowitz Finally Gets Caught By Someone Other Than FTM Running His Kangaroo Courtroom, click here.

Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz Apologized And Acknowledged That His Order Was Not Lawful, click here.

Judicial Confirmation Hearing – Judge Jeffrey H. Moskowitz Thursday, May 07, 2015, click here.

Maine Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz Comes Under Review At Public Forum, click here.

Public Exposure Moves Maine’s Attorney General Janet Mills,click here.

PPH Reporter Scott Dolan Presented With Freedom Of Information Award For Challenging Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz’s Gag Order, click here.

Judge Donald Marden’s Cabbage Is Shredded, click here.

Have You Been Harmed By Maine’s Judicial System? Click here.

IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT ON THE BENCH?

Judicial Confirmation Hearing – Judge Jeffrey H. Moskowitz Thursday, May 07, 2015

127th MAINE LEGISLATURE
NOTICE OF CONFIRMATION HEARING

JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY

Senator David C. Burns, Senate Chair
Representative Barry J. Hobbins, House Chair

POSITION: District Court Judge
NOMINEE: Honorable Jeffrey H. Moskowitz of Saco

PUBLIC HEARING: Thursday, May 07, 2015, 2:00 PM, State House, Room 438

Other upcoming confirmation hearings:

Gubernatorial Nomination on 4/29/2015 – Justice Joyce A. Wheeler
Gubernatorial Nomination on 4/29/2015 – Judge Andre G. Janelle
Gubernatorial Nomination on 4/29/2015 – Judge Rae Ann French
Gubernatorial Nomination on 4/29/2015 – Justice Donald H. Marden
Gubernatorial Nomination on 5/6/2015 – Justice Roland A. Cole
Gubernatorial Nomination on 5/6/2015 – Judge Peter J. Goranites
Gubernatorial Nomination on 5/6/2015 – Judge Susan A. Sparaco
Gubernatorial Nomination on 5/7/2015 – Justice William R. Anderson

DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS: Written comments relevant to qualifications of the nominee may be filed with the Legislative Information Office by 9 am on the day of the hearing.
CONTACT PERSON: Casey Milligan, Legislative Information Office, 100 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0100; 207-287-1692

View more details HERE.

Related:

Judge Moskowitz Finally Gets Caught By Someone Other Than FTM Running His Kangaroo Courtroom, click here.

Maine Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz Comes Under Review At Public Forum, click here.

Public Exposure Moves Maine’s Attorney General Janet Mills, click here.

PPH Reporter Scott Dolan Presented With Freedom Of Information Award For Challenging Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz’s Gag Order, click here.

Judge Donald Marden’s Cabbage Is Shredded, click here.

Have You Been Harmed By Maine’s Judicial System? Click here.

Maine Senate BAR Member, Roger Katz, Proposing Per Diem Compensation For Active Retired Judges From $300 Per Day To $500 Per Day!

Note – the latest Judiciary Committee schedule states the hearing is at 2:00 p.m. Those attending the public hearing should be there at 1:00 p.m….just in case.

LD 731 Sponsor Sen. Roger Katz of Kennebec – Cosponsored by Representative Barry HOBBINS of Saco and Senators: David BURNS of Washington, Dawn HILL of York, Chris JOHNSON of Lincoln, Representative: Matthew MOONEN of Portland

Public hearing: Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015, 1:00p Room 438 State House

Senator Roger Katz (attorney) (R-Kennebec)
Senator Dawn Hill (attorney-inactive) (D-York)
Rep. Barry Hobbins (attorney) (D-Saco) – House Chair of the Judiciary Committee
Senator David Burns (R-Washington) – Senate Chair of the Judiciary Committee
Representative Matthew W. Moonen (D-Portland) – member of the Judiciary Committee
Senator Christopher K. Johnson (D-Lincoln) – member of the Judiciary Committee

This proposed legislation further proves the “double standards”, whose “interests” it serves and begs many questions.

Judges retire, receive a pension, return to the bench and get more compensation…as this bill raises the per diem compensation for active retired judges and justices from $300 per day to $500 per day!

BAR members proposing raises for their “club”members.

When judges return to work is there a reduction in their pensions?

What about people on social security (living on less than a livable wage) who go back and are subject to reduction?

How about judges who strip people of entitled pensions in their decisions/judgments, causing financial hardship?

How about the VA which delays veterans’ pension claims for years/decades, causing financial hardship?

Ask your representative for help with these issues and you’ll get the standard answer “there’s nothing I can do.” Yet they can do plenty when it comes to their buddies.

Wouldn’t this bill in itself be considered fraudulent legislation, since it’s presented by BAR card carrying attorneys? A conflict of interest? A vested interest which would constitute a racketeering enterprise (RICO)?

Could this be considered embezzlement from the taxpayers who paid their salaries, their pensions and are now paying retirement and salary? Wouldn’t it be nice if we all could do that?

Are they paying taxes on either one?

Talkshoe Radio – Maine State Bar Association…100 Years of Law & Justice (1891-1991) (Part 2)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
9:00 PM EDT

Call in Number: (724) 444-7444
Call ID: 27398#

Click here to join in online.

Part 2 – Archived program, EPISODE 57, click here.

Part 1 – Archived program, EPISODE 56, click here.

*Note: The Maine Supreme Court issued their opinion in the Question of Law presented to the court by Gov. LePage….We started the program with the opinion and didn’t get into the 100 Years of Law and Justice which ties in to the opinion. We will continue part 2 next week.

OPINION OF THE JUSTICES

100 Years of Law & Justice (1891-1991),  click here.

1891 Act Incorporating Maine State Bar Association, click here.

PPH Reporter Scott Dolan Presented With Freedom Of Information Award For Challenging Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz’s Gag Order

PPH reports” The Maine Freedom of Information Coalition praises Dolan for challenging a judge’s gag order and protecting public access to courtroom proceedings.

Dolan was covering a proceeding in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court on Jan. 6 when Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz issued an order to the media to report only the statements made by the prosecutor and defense counsel in court. Moskowitz forbid the reporting of other statements made by potential victims in the case, which involved a lawyer who was charged with domestic violence.

“The judge’s order, and Mr. Dolan’s response, garnered national press attention criticizing the order and praising Mr. Dolan for challenging Judge Moskowitz and protecting public access,” said Suzanne Goucher, coalition president.

Moskowitz eventually held a hearing to rescind his order and issued a personal apology to Dolan in court.”

Read more HERE.

Related: Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz Apologized And Acknowledged That His Order Was Not Lawful, click here.

Judge Moskowitz Finally Gets Caught By Someone Other Than FTM Running His Kangaroo Courtroom, click here.

Published in: on March 16, 2015 at 2:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Talkshoe Radio – Maine State Bar Association…100 Years of Law & Justice (1891-1991)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015
9:00 PM EDT

Call in Number: (724) 444-7444
Call ID: 27398#

Archived program, EPISODE 56, click here.

*Note: The Maine Supreme Court issued their opinion in the Question of Law presented to the court by Gov. LePage….We started the program with the opinion and didn’t get into the 100 Years of Law and Justice which ties in to the opinion. We will continue part 2 next week.

OPINION OF THE JUSTICES

Click here to join in online.

100 Years of Law & Justice (1891-1991),  click here.

1891 Act Incorporating Maine State Bar Association, click here.

Talkshoe Radio – Discussion On “Brief” Dispute Between Maine Governor Paul LePage and Attorney General Janet Mills…Oral Argument

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
9:00 PM EDT

Call in Number: (724) 444-7444
Call ID: 27398#

Archived program, EPISODE 55, click here.

Click here to join in online.

Related:  Talkshoe Radio – Discussion on Governor Paul LePages’s Request For Opinion of the Justices With Phil Merletti and Lise DuPont, Author of “Where Did The Original Constitutional State Go?” Click here.
Wednesday, February 4, 2015 broadcast, Archived program, EPISODE 51, click here.

Talkshoe Radio – Update on Article V Constitutional Convention Forum and “Brief” Dispute Between Maine Governor Paul LePage and Attorney General Janet Mills, click here.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 broadcast, Archived program, EPISODE 54, click here.

The “Brief” Dispute Between Maine Governor Paul LePage and Attorney General Janet Mills, click here.

Attorney General Janet Mills Asks The Maine Supreme Judicial Court Not To Take Action On Governor Paul LePage’s Questions

PPH reports “The governor has asked the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to weigh in on whether he needs permission from Janet Mills to hire outside legal counsel in some cases.

Attorney General Janet Mills is asking the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to take no action on Gov. Paul LePage’s query last month on whether he must seek permission from Mills to hire outside legal counsel in cases where her office declines to defend the administration’s position.

Mills argued in papers filed Friday that the state’s highest court should find that LePage’s “request for opinion” sent on Jan. 23 does not meet the legal hurdle for the court to even consider it. She also argued that one question the governor posed has already been answered by the court in a 1989 ruling and that the other is overly hypothetical.

Lawyers for the governor, however, argued in their own brief filed Friday that LePage is asking serious questions that require an immediate answer. They argue that the court should find that a “solemn occasion” – the required legal hurdle for the justices to hear the questions – exists, and that LePage should be allowed freedom to hire outside lawyers as he chooses.

LePage’s letter to the court asking for intervention in his dispute with Mills marks the first significant effort in the Republican governor’s administration to strip power from the Democratic attorney general, who is elected by the Legislature as the state’s top legal officer.

The court plans to hear arguments on the governor’s request on Feb. 26. Friday was the deadline for the two sides and any other interested party to file briefs for the court to consider before oral arguments. The sides have until Feb. 13 to file additional responses.”

Read more HERE.

BDN reports” Attorney General Janet Mills says the Maine Supreme Judicial Court should ignore questions from Gov. Paul LePage about whether he must continue seeking her approval before hiring outside lawyers to represent the state.

If the attorney general refuses to represent the state in court, the state must obtain her permission to hire an outside attorney.

Mills argued in her brief that state law and previous Maine Supreme Judicial Court opinions make clear that the attorney general is responsible for approving outside counsel to represent any state agency.”

Read more HERE.

A.G. Mills “is responsible for approving outside counsel” and “the state must obtain her permission to hire an outside attorney.”

Peter Brann also filed a brief into this case. Brann was “Assistant Attorney General and then State Solicitor in the Attorney General’s Office between 1981 and 1999. Peter Brann now a partner at Brann & Isaacson, which has been hired as outside counsel on behalf of the State, with the Attorney General’s written approval, in a number of matters.”

Brann states in his brief “Moreover, the Attorney General and his staff are not the equivalent of a private law firm.”

They get around it…..sure has the appearance that the AG has a “private law firm” in its pocket.

Is the “fix” in? Does Peter Brann stand to gain financially with the status quo?

Related:  Talkshoe Radio – Discussion on Governor Paul LePages’s Request For Opinion of the Justices With Phil Merletti and Lise DuPont, Author of “Where Did The Original Constitutional State Go?” Click here.

Talkshoe Radio – Discussion on Governor Paul LePages’s Request For Opinion of the Justices With Phil Merletti and Lise DuPont, Author of “Where Did The Original Constitutional State Go?”

Wednesday, February 4, 2015
9:00 PM EDT

Call in Number: (724) 444-7444
Call ID: 27398#

Click here to join in online.

Archived program, EPISODE 51, click here.

 

The ongoing dispute between Gov. Paul LePage and Attorney General Janet Mills has reached the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Governor LePage requested an Opinion of the Justices regarding the proper constitutional responsibility and relationship between the Chief Executive and the Attorney General.

Governor LePage’s letter to the Maine Supreme Court, click here.

Maine Supreme Court Order, click here.

State of Maine 1855 Resolve, click here.

1975 Amendment

1975, Public Law – AN ACT Redistributing the Powers of the Executive Council

Maine Constitution (1820)

“Where Did The Original Constitutional State Go?”, author Lise Dupont. Click here.

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