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
Black v. Bureau of Parks & Lands  
Date: November 29, 2022
Citation: 2022 ME 58
Docket Number: 2022 ME 58

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the business and consumer docket entered in favor of Plaintiffs vacating the Bureau of Parks and Lands' lease of public reserved land to NECEC Transmission LLC and…

Janusz v. Bacon  
Date: November 17, 2022
Citation: 2022 ME 57
Docket Number: 2022 ME 57

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of foreclosure and order of sale entered by the district court in favor of Plaintiffs on their complaint for residential foreclosure, holding that Plaintiffs failed to…

Davies v. Davies  
Date: November 15, 2022
Citation: 2022 ME 56
Docket Number: 2022 ME 56

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the district court striking Mother's "motion to reopen evidence" on Father's motion to modify child support because she failed to pay a filing fee, holding that Mother…

State v. Hallowell  
Date: November 10, 2022
Citation: 2022 ME 55
Docket Number: 2022 ME 55

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant's convictions for attempted murder, aggravated assault, and other crimes following a nonjury trial, holding that there was no error or abuse of discretion in the proceedings…

State v. White  
Date: November 8, 2022
Citation: 2022 ME 54
Docket Number: 2022 ME 54

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of conviction of attempted murder and other offenses entered by the trial court, holding that multiple acts of prosecutorial error occurred in this case, requiring remand…

Gardner v. Greenlaw  
Date: November 1, 2022
Citation: 2022 ME 53
Docket Number: 2022 ME 53

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the district court dismissing with prejudice Grandmother's complaints for determination of de facto parentage concerning her two minor grandchildren, holding that the…

In re Adult Guardianship & Conservatorship of T.  
Date: October 25, 2022
Citation: 2022 ME 51
Docket Number: 2022 ME 51

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment entered by the probate court appointing the Department of Health and Human Services as T.'s adult guardian and conservator pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 5-301, 5-401(2),…

Mitchell v. Mitchell  
Date: October 25, 2022
Citation: 2022 ME 52
Docket Number: 2022 ME 52

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the district court granting Wife's complaint for divorce, holding that the trial court's factual findings were not supported by competent record evidence. On appeal,…

State v. Barclift  
Date: September 27, 2022
Citation: 2022 ME 50
Docket Number: 2022 ME 50

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant on two charges of aggravated furnishing of cocaine, which were merged for sentencing, holding that the trial court erred when it denied…

State v. Lovell  
Date: September 8, 2022
Citation: 2022 ME 49
Docket Number: 2022 ME 49

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of conviction entered in the trial court upon his conditional guilty plea to drug-related offenses and endangering the welfare of a child, holding that the trial court did…

State v. Beeler  
Date: August 30, 2022
Citation: 2022 ME 47
Docket Number: 2022 ME 47

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of conviction of criminal operating under the influence (OUI) with one previous OUI offense and violation of condition of release entered by the trial court after a jury…

NECEC Transmission LLC v. Bureau of Parks & Lands  
Date: August 30, 2022
Citation: 2022 ME 48
Docket Number: 2022 ME 48

Justia Opinion Summary: On interlocutory appeal in this case involving the New England Clean Energy Connect project (Project), the Supreme Judicial Court held that retroactive application of legislation enacted by voters (the Initiative) to the…

State v. Rosario  
Date: August 25, 2022
Citation: 2022 ME 46
Docket Number: 2022 ME 46

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of aggravated trafficking of scheduled drugs, holding that the trial court did not err in denying Defendant's motion to suppress, and Defendant's remaining…

Beedle v. Beedle  
Date: August 11, 2022
Citation: 2022 ME 45
Docket Number: 2022 ME 45

Justia Opinion Summary: In this post-dissolution action, the Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the district court granting Appellant's motion to amend a stipulated order, holding that the motion to amend the stipulated order was…

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.