AUGUSTA — The chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court used her annual State of the Judiciary address to lawmakers Tuesday to press for more funding for courthouse security and higher wages for the state’s judges.

Maine Chief Justice Leigh Saufley, shown in 2014, said in her State of the Judiciary address on Tuesday that about $1.5 million more is needed to fully staff court security. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

There is staffing for courthouse security screening for 65 percent of court days and $1.5 million is needed to pay the salaries of an additional 19 marshal positions to achieve 100 percent security screening, Chief Justice Leigh Saufley said.

Saufley noted that court security staff recently prevented a pair of loaded guns from being brought into courthouses.

“If an individual carrying similar weapons had gone into one of the 35 percent of Maine’s courthouses that did not have entry screening that day, we could be having a very different conversation today,” she said.

She also said judges are due for a raise and pointed to the examples of two of them, Justices Roland Cole and Nancy Mills, who have a combined 66 years on the bench.

Cole helped to launch the state drug court and Mills created the first veterans court. Mills also established a special “languishing docket” to assure that people with mental illnesses do not spend weeks and months in jail awaiting their next proceeding.

Saufley said making their pay commensurate with judges in other states would “acknowledge the importance and the value of their excellent work,” she said.

The average salary is $133,000 for trial judges and $142,000 for supreme court associate justices, making them the lowest paid in New England by more than $20,000, according to a Maine State Compensation Commission report this month.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: