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Maine State Courts

Courts – State Courts – Maine

Highest Court

Supreme Court
The Supreme Court consists of 7 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Hears appeal on questions of law in civil and criminal cases, interlocutory criminal appeals from District and Superior Courts, appeals of decisions of a single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court. (2) Conducts appellate review of criminal sentences of one year or more.

General Courts

Superior Court
The Superior Court consists of 16 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Original jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters not within the exclusive jurisdiction of District Court. (2) Hears all criminal felony cases, and criminal misdemeanor jury trials.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Limited Courts

District Court
The District Court consists of 33 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Hears civil actions (no maximum), domestic relations, protection from abuse, quiet title, and small claims cases. (2) Hears non-felony criminal cases, traffic infractions, civil violations, felony probate cause hearings, and juvenile cases.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Probate Court
The Probate Court consists of 16 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Specialized subject matter including estates and trusts, adoptions and name changes, guardianship and protective proceedings.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Additional Information

Rules on courts records and unclaimed property
The Supreme Judicial Court may prescribe, repeal, add to, amend, or modify the rules or orders regarding records of all the judicial courts of Maine and the issue of unclaimed property. (Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8-A of the Maine Revised Statutes)

Trial terms
The times and places for holding court, the schedule outlining the business to be conducted, and when a grand jury shall be summoned shall be done at the decision of the Chief Justice of the Superior Court.  A justice of the Superior Court may specially summon a grand jury at anytime.
(Title 4, Chapter 3, §110 of the Maine Revised Statutes)

Simultaneous and special sessions
When public convenience requires, the Chief Justice of the Superior Court may allow two or more simultaneous sessions of the Superior Court in the same county or special sessions in any count.  The business should be divided to secure speedy and convenient disposal.  This also applies to transactions of civil or criminal business or both. (Title 4, Chapter 3, §111 of the Maine Revised Statutes)

Acceptance of fine and guilty plea
Upon payment of the fine and surcharge of a criminal traffic offense, the clerk of the division will accept a plea of guilty from the individual in accordance to the schedule of offenses and fines established by the Chief Judge.  When a person pays a fine without filing a signed waiver,  that person is assumed to have read and waived their rights and understand that the payment  is substituted as a waiver and is treated as a judgment of the court and that the record of the judgment will be sent to the Secretary of State.   (Title 4, Chapter 5, §164-A of the Maine Revised Statutes)

Examination to determine sanity of accused
A Judge of the District Court may order an accused person to immediately be examined by a physician to determine their psychological state. The cost of such examination shall be paid from the treasury of the county in which the action is pending.  (Title 4, Chapter 5, §168 of the Maine Revised Statutes) .

County law libraries
In every county that has a law library, a county law library committee must be formed consisting of members appointed or elected by the county bar association or governing body, such as the bylaws provide.  Membership does not have to be limited to attorneys.  The committee shall have a chair, a treasurer, and a clerk.  (Title 4, Chapter 6 §195 of the Maine Revised Statutes))

General jurisdiction
Each judge may take the probate of wills and grant letters testamentary or of administration on the estates of all deceased persons who, at the time of their death, where inhabitants or residents of his county or who, not being residents of the State, died leaving estate to be administered in his county, or whose estate is afterwards found therein; and has jurisdiction of all matters relating to the settlement of such estates. He may grant leave to adopt children, change the names of persons, appoint guardians for minors and others according to law, and has jurisdiction as to persons under guardianship, and as to whatever else is conferred on him by law. (Title 4, Chapter 7, §251)

Inside Maine State Courts