All data is current as of 2013, unless otherwise noted.
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How the right to counsel is administered and structured

State commission: yes
Branch of government: judicial

The Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services (MCILS) is an independent five-member commission in the judicial branch that is statutorily charged with providing “efficient, high-quality representation to indigent criminal defendants, juvenile defendants and children and parents in child protective cases, consistent with federal and state constitutional and statutory obligations.” The Governor appoints all five members, though his appointments are subject to review by a joint legislative committee on judicial matters. One of the members must be appointed from a list of qualified nominees submitted by the President of the Senate, one from a list submitted by the Speaker of the House, and one from the Chief Justice.

By statute, MCILS is responsible for administering an indigent defense system of “qualified and competent counsel in a manner that is fair and consistent throughout the State” and in a manner that is “free from undue political interference and conflicts of interest.”


How the right to counsel is funded

Percentage of state funding: 100%
Percentage of local funding: 0%
Percentage of alternative funding: 0%

The statewide Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services (MCILS) has consistently been underfunded since its inception.

The methods used to provide public counsel

The state-level Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services (MCILS) oversees a statewide assigned counsel system that pays attorneys on an hourly basis.


Legal authority

Maine Constitution, art. 1, § 6

Maine Revised Statutes Annotated, tit. 4, §§ 1801 through 1806 (commission on indigent legal services), and tit. 15, § 810 (assignment of counsel)

Source of data: original research conducted by Sixth Amendment Center staff.