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
Gamage v. Public Utilities Commission  
Date: October 12, 2021
Citation: 2021 ME 50
Docket Number: 2021 ME 50

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the decision of the Public Utilities Commission dismissing Appellants' complaint alleging that Central Maine Power Company (CMP) committed unreasonable practices by delivering notices...

Boles v. White  
Date: October 7, 2021
Citation: 2021 ME 49
Docket Number: 2021 ME 49

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court entering summary judgment in favor of Karen and Ronald White on Cecelia Boles's complaint alleging premises liability, holding that there was no erro...

Narowetz v. Board of Dental Practice  
Date: September 28, 2021
Citation: 2021 ME 46
Docket Number: 2021 ME 46

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court remanded this matter challenging the superior court's judgment affirming a decision of the Board of Dental Practice sanctioning Appellant, a licensed dentist in Maine, for unprofessional conduc...

State v. Murray  
Date: September 28, 2021
Citation: 2021 ME 47
Docket Number: 2021 ME 47

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of intentional or knowing murder, elevated aggravated assault, and robbery, holding that none of Defendant's arguments on appeal had merit. On appeal, Defendant...

In re Child of Nicholas G.  
Date: September 28, 2021
Citation: 2021 ME 48
Docket Number: 2021 ME 48

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court dismissed as interlocutory Father's appeal from a judicial review order requiring him to return his child to Maine, holding that Father's appeal of the interlocutory order was not permitted. A...

LaMarre v. Town of China  
Date: September 16, 2021
Citation: 2021 ME 45
Docket Number: 2021 ME 45

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court reversing the decision of the Board of Appeals affirming the Town of China code enforcement officer's (CEO) issuance of an after-the-fact permit to allow the p...

State v. Akers  
Date: September 14, 2021
Citation: 2021 ME 43
Docket Number: 2021 ME 43

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court vacated Defendant's conviction for intentional or knowing murder entered in the trial court following a jury trial, holding that the trial court erred in denying Defendant's motion to suppress...

Connary v. Shea  
Date: September 14, 2021
Citation: 2021 ME 44
Docket Number: 2021 ME 44

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part the judgment of the superior court granting a partial summary judgment in favor of Defendants on count two of Plaintiff's second amended complaint seeking a declarat...

Caiazzo v. Secretary of State  
Date: July 29, 2021
Citation: 2021 ME 42
Docket Number: 2021 ME 42

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court affirming the decision of the Secretary of State to draft a single ballot question for a direct initiative, holding that the Secretary of State did n...

Monteith v. Monteith  
Date: July 27, 2021
Citation: 2021 ME 40
Docket Number: 2021 ME 40

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court declining Patricia Monteith's request to register in Maine a child support order issued in Maryland against George Monteith as to the parties' four c...

State v. Gessner  
Date: July 27, 2021
Citation: 2021 ME 41
Docket Number: 2021 ME 41

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the trial court accepting Defendant's conditional guilty plea to escape, holding that, by separately trying Defendant for criminal threatening in Sagadahoc County and th...

State v. Bentley  
Date: July 22, 2021
Citation: 2021 ME 39
Docket Number: 2021 ME 39

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant's sentence of forty years' imprisonment imposed in connection with his guilty plea to murder, holding that the trial court did not misapply any principle or abuse its discret...

Hill v. Town of Wells  
Date: July 13, 2021
Citation: 2021 ME 38
Docket Number: 2021 ME 38

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the superior court vacating the determination of the Town of Wells Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) denying Plaintiff's application for two setback variances on the grounds...

In re Children of Kacee S.  
Date: July 8, 2021
Citation: 2021 ME 36
Docket Number: 2021 ME 36

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the district court denying Mother's second motion for relief from the judgment of the district court terminating her parental rights to her four children, holding that Mother mad...

State v. Daly  
Date: July 8, 2021
Citation: 2021 ME 37
Docket Number: 2021 ME 37

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant's conviction and sentence for knowing or intentional murder and the denial of his motion for a new trial, holding that there was no error. On appeal, Defendant argued that t...

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.