Maine court system extends emergency coronavirus deadlines
The Maine court system on Wednesday extended many of the emergency deadlines set because of the coronavirus pandemic. It also expanded the list of cases and proceedings that may be scheduled and heard and implemented additional safety precautions for those entering courthouse facilities consistent with orders issued by Gov. Janet Mills.
People who need to visit courthouses must wear a mask or cloth face covering that covers the nose and mouth at all times, according to the new order issued by acting Maine Supreme Court Justice Andrew Mead.
The court system is asking people who owe fines and other fees to pay them through the online payment system. The deadline for people unable to pay their fines was extended from May 4 through June 1.
The order also said through May 30 judges could schedule and hear all types of cases as long as all hearings, conferences and other court events take place only by video or audio conference.
Prior orders had limited what could be filed as emergency motions in criminal, child protection, protection from harassment and abuse and mental health matters. Through the end of May, the only cases that will not be heard are evictions, foreclosures and small claims cases.
The court will continue to allow motions to be filed by email, including motions for protection orders, but the guidelines outlined must be followed and hard copies must also be mailed to clerks’ offices.
The delay of grand jury sessions and jury trials was extended from May 31 through June 30.
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which has not held oral arguments since early March, could hear them next week by video conference under the revised order.
Courthouses in Maine remain open to the public but for limited hours. People are asked to check the court system’s website, or call 207-753-2999 before going to a state courthouse.