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News & Press: From the Courts

Judicial Branch Plans in the Event of State Government Shutdown

Thursday, June 29, 2017  
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Please see the attached documents that outline the immediate plans within the Judicial Branch in the event of a state shutdown. These two documents list the courthouses that will be open next week: July 3 and July 5 schedule and July 6 and July 7 schedule

Subsequent courthouse operation information will be provided, if the shutdown continues beyond next week, and will be posted on the Judicial Branch website at: http://www.courts.maine.gov/

Approximately half of Maine's 36 courthouses will be closed if there is a shutdown. The number and location of open courthouses may vary, day to day, based on the kinds and the numbers of cases already previously scheduled and "noticed" to litigants, law enforcement, lawyers, government agencies and the public. Interested persons should call ahead and check the website.

A memo from State Court Administrator Ted Glessner describes the criteria used to determine which case types will be processed. In general, cases that raise constitutional liberty issues, including many criminal matters, and public health and safety issues, such as criminal, child protection, and protection from abuse will be heard, while most civil cases, including divorce and parental rights, small claims, evictions, and other general civil matters will be delayed until further notice, should state government shut down. 

Online services to pay traffic tickets and court fines will not be operating in the event of a shutdown, because court staff will be unavailable to revoke arrest warrants previously issued for failure to pay fines, and also because the Bureau of Motor Vehicles will not be open to reinstate drivers' licenses once fines are paid.

Throughout any shutdown, the Judicial Branch will continue to evaluate the need for essential court services. Any changes will be announced on the web page: http://www.courts.maine.gov/.

Maine Bar Association 124 State St. Augusta, ME 04330