University of Maine School of Law
In Maine, juvenile appeals are governed by the Maine Juvenile Code and the Maine Rules of Appellate Procedure. The Juvenile Code broadly dictates the types of rulings that a juvenile may appeal, and the Appellate Rules set out the details of how the appeal must proceed in the Law Court.
The Juvenile Code divides appealable rulings into five categories: adjudications, dispositions, detention orders, orders of deferred disposition, and bind-over orders. An adjudication is appealable to the Law Court by right, as long as the appeal is taken after an order of disposition. An order of disposition or any subsequent order modifying the disposition discretion is appealable to the Law Court by right, and reviewed for an abuse of. A detention order or an order modifying detention is appealable to the Law Court by right. A bind-over order may be reviewed only by the Law Court pursuant to an appeal of a judgment of conviction following the bind-over. Generally, a juvenile may not attack the legality of a deferred disposition; however, a juvenile who has been determined by a court to have inexcusably failed to comply with a court-imposed deferment requirement and thereafter has had imposed a dispositional alternative, may seek discretionary appellate review in the Law Court.
Who may appeal? The juvenile or the juvenile’s parents, guardian or legal custodian on behalf of the juvenile, if the juvenile is not emancipated and the juvenile does not wish to appeal. The State may also appeal from a decision or order of the juvenile court to the Supreme Court, including a juvenile court’s failure to order a bind-over.
The majority of this handbook discusses the process and considerations involved in undertaking an appeal. The procedure for appealing a juvenile matter is outlined in the Appeals chapter of the Maine Juvenile Code, which calls for the process to be supplemented by relevant sections of the Maine Rules of Appellate Procedure. This handbook also provides practice tips, references to relevant statutes and court rules, and court/model forms for use in the juvenile appellate process at the end of relevant chapters.
 These terms are defined at 15 M.R.S. § 3003.
 15 M.R.S. 3402(1)(A).
 15 M.R.S. § 3402(1)(B).
 15 M.R.S. § 3402(1)(D).
 15 M.R.S. § 3402(2-A).
 15 M.R.S. § 3311-D.
 15 M.R.S. § 3401(2)(A), (B).
 15 M.R.S. § 3402(3).
 15 M.R.S. §§ 3401-3405 (2015).
The Juvenile Justice Clinic provides students the opportunity to address the needs of troubled children in a number of diverse settings. Students in the Juvenile Justice Clinic frequently collaborate with local agencies to assist clients in meeting educational, mental health, and housing needs. With guidance and instruction from a faculty supervisor, student attorneys meet with clients and their families, attend school meetings, file motions, appear in court, and take the lead in developing programs for their clients designed to avoid both incarceration and recidivism. Students also work with other legal aid attorneys at the collaborative ‘Tuesdays at the Teen Center’ project, which involves weekly meetings with homeless teens at the Preble Street Teen Center to provide free legal advice, resource referrals, and an occasional pizza. The Juvenile Justice Clinic provides opportunities for some students to pursue broader juvenile justice policy issues. For example, students often work with Maine’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Group and Criminal Law Advisory Committee to research, draft, and edit proposed legislation. Other students may work on ongoing juvenile advocacy projects in Maine and around the country.
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