Courts and Crime

A South Paris man has been found not guilty of reckless conduct in connection with a fatal hayride accident that killed an Oakland teenager in 2014.

Prosecutors tried to show that David Brown was criminally reckless in driving a jeep pulling the hay wagon at a farm in Mechanic Falls. Investigators found that mechanical failure caused the hayride to plunge down an embankment and crash into a tree.

LEWISTON, Maine - Crime in Maine has decreased for the fourth consecutive year, according to the state Department of Public Safety. 

Overall, crime dropped by 7 percent in 2015, though some categories of crime increased, such as rape, which jumped by nearly 5 percent. 

But Cara Courchesne of the Maine Coalition on Sexual Assault says that jump is likely due to better reporting. "We definitely, in terms of people calling our crisis support line, see jumps when there are high-profile cases."

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine State police are still trying to untangle what happened last night that led to the shooting death of a Biddeford man.  

Maine Public Safety Department spokesman Steve McCausland says there were several people at the apartment building at the time of the shooting.

"The shooting occurred about 1 o'clock this morning," McCausland says. "There were a number of people there, and our task now is to determine the circumstances of this shooting, which means interviewing a number of people."

The dead man is identified as Jonathan Methot, 30.  

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine State Police have charged a 32-year-old Fairfield man with murder following the discovery of his wife's body on Tuesday.

State Police spokesman Steve McCausland says authorities took Luc Tieman into custody in Waterville this morning at about 10 o'clock.  Tieman is charged in the death of his wife, 34-year-old Valerie Tieman. 

McCausland says Tieman had spent the night in a motel, "and detectives this morning, in consultation with the Maine Attorney General's Office - we collectively made the decision - that an arrest was appropriate."

Eight new state troopers were sworn in at ceremonies at the criminal justice academy last week, but that has done little to ease the vacancies at the Maine State Police.

Lawmakers gave pay raises ranging from 12 percent to 18 percent to troopers after they were convinced the state police was not competitive with other law enforcement agencies both in and out of state.

Courtesy Suja Thomas

PORTLAND, Maine - They are the embodiment of the U.S. legal system:  a trial held before a jury of one’s peers.  But jury trials are happening less-and-less frequently. 

It’s the subject of a recently published book by Professor Suja Thomas of the University of Illinois College of Law, “The Missing American Jury:  Restoring the Fundamental Constitutional Role of the Criminal, Civil and Grand Juries.” 

Neil Conway / Flickr/Creative Commons

You may have heard the recent news about two teenage boys who allegedly stole a front-loader parked near the Maine Turnpike in West Gardiner and led police on a low-speed chase for several miles.

During their drive — some of it the wrong way down the highway — the two boys did substantial damage to property, and deliberately hit two cars, one of which was a police car.

No one was injured, but on hearing the news, you may have wondered, “What on Earth were they thinking?”

PORTLAND, Maine - Portland Police say they've arrested a 28-year-old citizen of Norway in connection with email threats to kill officers using explosives and high powered rifles.  

Portland officers and the FBI took Espen Brungodt into custody today at around 1 p.m. at the Residence Inn in Portland.  

The threats led to the temporary closure of a parking garage near the police station and evacuation of the Cumberland County Courthouse.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has suspended a York County probate judge for violating judicial conduct.

This is the third time Robert Nadeau has been disciplined.

Courtesy: Maine Drug Enforcement Agency

PORTLAND, Maine - Already this year, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency has responded to more meth labs, and meth dump sites, than it did in all of 2015.  This year, that's 86 responses, compared with 56 for all of last year.

MDEA Director Roy McKinney says those numbers are very high for the area. "For Maine, the activity in meth production is greater than the other five New England states combined."

The parents of a 17-year-old girl killed in 2014 in a hayride accident are suing the owner of the farm where the accident happened.

Cassidy Charette of Oakland was killed at Harvest Hill Farms, and 22 other people were injured, when a Jeep pulling the hay wagon went out of control and flipped over.

Attorney Jodi Nofsinger, who is representing the Charettes in the wrongful death lawsuit, says the tour operators likely knew the 1979 Jeep was not safe.

A federal appeals court has upheld jail sentences for egg industry executive Jack DeCoster and his son, Peter, whose Iowa company caused a nationwide salmonella outbreak in 2010.

The DeCosters were originally sentenced to three months in jail for what U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett called a “litany of shameful conduct” that occurred at their Iowa egg production company. But they were allowed their freedom while they appealed their sentences. They argued, and business groups agreed, that the sentences were unreasonable and unconstitutional.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

Inmates at the Maine State Prison in Warren and the Maine Correctional Center in Windham have a new resource to help them maintain their sobriety: their peers. 

Maine’s Human Rights Commission on Monday found that eight people who said they’d been discriminated against under Maine law had reasonable grounds for going forward with their cases.

The commission investigates complaints of unlawful discrimination in several spheres, including at work.

The commission found Shasta Roy had reasonable grounds for her hostile workplace and sexual harassment complaint against Theorore’s Seamless Gutters in Richmond.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday against two Maine men who were caught with guns in violation of a federal statute.

Both Stephen Voisine of Wytopitlock and William Armstrong III of New Vineyard had misdemeanor domestic assault convictions.

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