Court cutbacks extended, operations vary widely across state
Federal courts in Maine will continue to limit operations through June 30 while the state court system is likely to extend its limited-hours schedule through at least May.
In March, state and federal courts curtailed some hearings to help reduce community transmission of the coronavirus and to protect employees who interact with the public.
U.S. District Judge Jon Levy on Thursday, April 30 extended restrictions for federal courts in Bangor and Portland, saying that states of emergency declared by President Donald Trump and Gov. Janet Mills are still in effect. Clerks offices are closed to the public and all hearings are being held by telephone or video conference.
Clerks are available for questions by phone and may accept paperwork by appointment from people who do not have access to the court’s electronic case filing system.
Federal grand jury sessions have been canceled. No criminal or jury trials will be held.
State courts remain open to the public but hours are limited. Grand jury sessions were not held in April and have been canceled in May. Criminal and civil jury trials scheduled in April and May have been continued indefinitely.
The state court system is encouraging the use of video conferencing whenever possible and allowing motions in emergency criminal cases if a defendant is in custody, child protection, protection from abuse and harassment motions and mental health matters. Judges also may consider some uncontested civil matters including divorces and parental rights and responsibility cases.
Courthouse hours vary. Check the court system’s website for more information or call 207-753-2999 before going to a courthouse.