Maine

State/Local Funding

  • The Maine Judiciary is a state funded system. 
  • Thestate pays for the Appellate Courts and the Administrative Office of the Courts and for the salaries of trial court judges, support staff and clerical staff.  The state pays for technology equipment and operating expenses.  The state pays for the local courthouses and their maintenance and equipment.  
  • Maine’s total state and federal grant appropriation was increased from $60.8 million in FY12 to $63.9 million in FY13.  The state general fund appropriation increased from $55.2 million to $57.1 million, an increase of 3.6%. The percent of the state general fund appropriation allocated to the Judiciary remained at 1.9%.
  • Technology funding has remained the same.
  • Debt service is included in the general fund amounts.
  • Increases from FY11/12 to FY12/13 were for:

            1) Personal Services: an additional $494,000 for benefit increases and an additional $250,000 for filling
                vacancies.

            2) Security: an additional 638,000 was received for entry screening.

            3) Debt Service:  an additional $613,000 was received for debt service for issuance of bonds.

  • Over the past four years, fees decreased 7%.
  • The budget situation in the next three years is likely to stay relatively the same.

Funding Principles for Judicial Administration

  • The Judicial Branch does not present its budget directly to the Legislature.  The Judiciary presents its budget request to the Executive Branch for inclusion in the Governor’s budget. 
  • The Judicial Branch has budget authority to manage and administer appropriated funds without restrictions of detailed budget line items.
  • The FY13 budget is not sufficient to enable the courts to provide or enhance necessary technology to meet the demands of the public.  Maine is seeking additional funding in FY14 and FY15 to replace their case management system which does not now have the capacity to support e-filing or to meet the demands of data exchange.
  • The introduction of technologies has not yet enabled the courts and others to provide and receive enhanced court services

Steps Taken to Address Tough Economic Times

Staffing Levels:  Over the past four years, the number of judges, the number of trial court staff persons, the number central office staff persons and spending on trial court operating expenses has remained the same and will continue to remain the same in FY13.

Service Reductions: 

  • Over the past four years, the Maine courts have reduced hours of operation and have delayed filling vacancies in the clerks’ offices and in judicial support positions.
  • These actions have resulted in reduced service to the public, limited access to court services, increased delays and backlogs, to a limited extent.

Compensation:  Over the past four years, the Maine courts have frozen the salaries of judicial officers and court staff and will continue to do so in FY13.

Efficiency Measures: 

  • The Maine courts have implemented e-payment of fines and fees; they have set up a Courts on-line fine payment system.
  •  They plan to purchase a new Case Management System in FY14 to build a platform for e-filing.  An e-citation workgroup has convened and will continue planning for implementation in FY14 and FY15.

Restructuring:  The Maine courts have created a unified criminal docket in two locations and are planning to expand the model in FY14 and FY15.

Business Practices: 

  • Maine is videoconferencing arraignments for incarcerated defendants and mental health proceedings in locations with the highest volume of mental health cases. 
  • In FY13, they will be transitioning to digital recording of court proceedings.

Outsourcing: The Maine courts have outsourced the provision of language access services.  Using Google Mail, they have moved from local e-mail/storage servers to the cloud.

Centralization: 

  • The Maine courts have implemented a service center and have centralized traffic citation processing.
  • They implemented a pilot call center for three counties and plan to expand slowly statewide in FY14 and forward.  Centralized traffic citation processing was implemented prior to 2009.
  • The Maine courts are in the same position as they were in FY09 to provide access and timely justice. 

Reports and Articles

Gavel to Gavel

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