Maine Supreme Judicial Court Decisions

Established in 1820 when Maine became a state, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court takes its authority from Article VI, Section 1 of the Maine Constitution. Previously, Maine had been part of Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court had held jurisdiction over Maine residents. The Court is distinct from many other state supreme courts because it has the authority to issue advisory opinions upon the request of the executive branch or the legislative branch. Like many other courts, it holds appellate jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases in the state. When the Maine Supreme Judicial Court exercises its appellate jurisdiction, it is formally known as the Law Court. According to a Stanford University study in 2012, it is the second-most liberal state supreme court in the U.S.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court consists of seven justices. Each justice serves a seven-year term, which can be renewed an unlimited number of times. Instead of electing its justices, Maine uses an appointment process. The Governor of Maine appoints each new justice, who then must be confirmed by the Maine State Senate. The Governor also appoints the Chief Justice on the Court, and the Chief Justice serves in that capacity for their entire seven-year term. There are no specific requirements for a candidate to be appointed to the Court, except that they must be “learned in the law.”

A justice may be removed from the Maine Supreme Judicial Court if they are impeached by the Maine House of Representatives in a majority vote and convicted by the Maine State Senate in a two-thirds vote. Alternatively, a justice may face removal upon the address by the Governor of both the House of Representatives and the State Senate.

Browse Opinions From the Maine Supreme Judicial Court

Recent Decisions From the Maine Supreme Judicial Court
Alliance for Retired Americans et al. v. Secretary of State et al.
Date: October 23, 2020
Citation: 2020 ME 123
Bank of New York Mellon v. Shone  
Date: October 22, 2020
Citation: 2020 ME 122
Docket Number: 2020 ME 122

Justia Opinion Summary: In this appeal from a residential foreclosure judgment, the Supreme Judicial Court clarified the criteria under the business record exception to the hearsay rule for admitting into evidence records that a business has ob...

In re Children of Loretta M.  
Date: October 15, 2020
Citation: 2020 ME 121
Docket Number: 2020 ME 121

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment entered by the district court terminating Mother's parental rights to three of her children, holding that the court did not clearly err in finding at least one ground of p...

McDonald v. City of Portland  
Date: October 13, 2020
Citation: 2020 ME 119
Docket Number: 2020 ME 119

Justia Opinion Summary: In this personal injury action, the Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court denying the motion for summary judgment filed by the City of Portland on immunity grounds, holding that the plaza whe...

State v. Fleming  
Date: October 13, 2020
Citation: 2020 ME 120
Docket Number: 2020 ME 120

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court vacated Defendant's convictions for trafficking in prison contraband, unlawful possession of a scheduled drug, and violating a condition of release, holding that the trial court erred in its ha...

Adoption by Jessica M.  
Date: October 6, 2020
Citation: 2020 ME 118
Docket Number: 2020 ME 118

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the probate court terminating the parental rights of Parents in anticipation of adoption pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 18-A, 9-204, holding that the court did not err or e...

In re Estate of Robert W. Kerwin  
Date: October 1, 2020
Citation: 2020 ME 116
Docket Number: 2020 ME 116

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the probate court granting in part Petitioner's petition for discovery of property pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 18-C, 3-110 but limiting the scope of the examination of L...

Jones v. Secretary of State  
Date: October 1, 2020
Citation: 2020 ME 117
Docket Number: 2020 ME 117

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court denied the motion filed by Plaintiffs to stay the effect of the mandate of this Court's decision issued in this matter on September 22, 2020 pending Plaintiffs' petition for a writ of certiorar...

Estate of Carol A. Kennelly v. Mid Coast Hospital  
Date: September 29, 2020
Citation: 2020 ME 115
Docket Number: 2020 ME 115

Justia Opinion Summary: In this medical malpractice action, the Supreme Judicial Court vacated the portion of the superior court's order compelling discovery of the redacted medical records of fifty Mid Coast Hospital (MCH) patients, nonparties...

Jones v. Secretary of State  
Date: September 22, 2020
Citation: 2020 ME 113
Docket Number: 2020 ME 113

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the superior court vacating the Secretary of State's determination that an inadequate number of valid signatures had been submitted to place on the ballot a people's vet...

Reppucci v. Nadeau  
Date: September 22, 2020
Citation: 2020 ME 114
Docket Number: 2020 ME 114

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court awarding Plaintiff $91,172, plus costs and interest, on her legal malpractice complaint arising from Defendant's representation of her in a divorce a...

Coward v. Gagne & Sons Concrete Blocks, Inc.  
Date: September 17, 2020
Citation: 2020 ME 112
Docket Number: 2020 ME 112

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the superior court in favor of Gagne & Son Concrete Blocks, Inc. on the claims brought by Thomas and Lisa Coward that arose out of an accident at the Cowards' home invol...

Jones v. Secretary of State  
Date: September 8, 2020
Citation: 2020 ME 111
Docket Number: 2020 ME 111

Justia Opinion Summary: In this challenge to the superior court's judgment on a petition for judicial review challenging a decision of the Secretary of State the Supreme Judicial Court held that execution of the judgment was automatically staye...

U.S. Bank Trust, N.A. v. Keefe  
Date: August 13, 2020
Citation: 2020 ME 104
Docket Number: 2020 ME 104

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment entered by the superior court denying U.S. Bank Trust, N.A.'s motion to extend the time to file a notice of appeal as to its foreclosure complaint against James D. Keefe,...

State v. Peaslee  
Date: August 13, 2020
Citation: 2020 ME 105
Docket Number: 2020 ME 105

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of one count of murder, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying Defendant's motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidenc...

The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.