A New York man accused of being a part of a drug distribution ring bringing fentanyl to Maine has requested a Superior Court docket choose to both discover a lawyer to characterize him or decrease his bail considerably in order that he could be launched from jail.
Jquam Bailey, 34, of the Bronx, New York, was arrested on June 2 with 5 different folks at a home in Enfield and charged with aggravated drug trafficking. He has been held on the Penobscot County Jail unable to put up $25,000 money bail since then.
Bailey is considered one of a dozen or extra defendants in Maine who qualify for however haven’t been appointed legal professionals at their first courtroom appearances attributable to a important scarcity of legal professionals keen to characterize indigent shoppers. Attorneys all through the state and in Penobscot County have balked at taking over instances attributable to low pay and excessive caseloads.
Superior Court docket Justice William Anderson stated Thursday at Bailey’s bail listening to that simply 4 legal professionals in Penobscot County are accepting appointments for prison instances.
“That is uncommon and unprecedented,” the choose stated of the disaster.
Anderson famous that in 2018 there have been 44 lawyer out there to take prison instances, however that quantity had fallen to 29 the next 12 months. He stated that he has been working to discover a lawyer exterior of Penobscot County to take Bailey’s case and anticipated to make an appointment on Friday.
Along with the dearth of legal professionals taking courtroom appointments, discovering a lawyer for Bailey has been sophisticated by the truth that he had 5 co-defendants who additionally wanted legal professionals.
Bailey on Thursday didn’t declare that his constitutional rights had been violated within the delay to discover a lawyer to characterize him. He did ask that his bail be lowered to $5,000 money, which he would be capable to put up in order that he might return to New York, work and rent his personal lawyer.
Assistant Lawyer Common Jason Horn instructed Anderson that even when Bailey have been to make bail, a warrant for his arrest out of Pennsylvania for escape from a jail there would stop him from returning to his residence state.
Anderson concluded that underneath Maine’s bail code, not having an legal professional was not a cause to decrease a defendant’s bail. However the choose expressed frustration over the state of affairs.
“It looks as if a choose ought to have the ability to do one thing,” he stated.
The shortage of lawyer keen to take prison instances is now a statewide disaster, because the state is constitutionally obligated to make sure prison defendants have legal professionals.
Final 12 months, judges in Aroostook County reached exterior that county’s borders as a result of there weren’t sufficient native lawyer out there. The Maine Monitor reported final month that 11 legal professionals every have greater than 301 open instances, and half of the open indigent instances are being managed by simply 33 legal professionals.
Maine doesn’t have a public defender system however as a substitute contracts with protection attorneys, who’re paid $80 an hour as soon as a case is resolved. They’re paid by and overseen by the Maine Fee on Indigent Authorized Providers.
The fee qualifies legal professionals for sure sorts of instances based mostly on their courtroom expertise. Attorneys additionally could decide to deal with solely misdemeanor instances or home violence instances or murder instances. Drug instances like Bailey’s are thought of to be violent felonies, and legal professionals will need to have some trial expertise to qualify to be assigned them.
Additionally charged on June 2 with aggravated drug trafficking have been: Tammy Lee, 61, Christopher Campbell, 20, and Madison Whitmore, 18, all of Enfield; and Naim Stewart, 32, and Kenute Walker, 33, each of the Bronx, New York.
If convicted, Bailey and the opposite defendants resist 30 years in jail and a advantageous of as much as $50,000.