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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.[1] An adjudication is appealable to the Law Court by right, as long as the appeal is taken after an order of disposition.[2] 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.[3] A detention order or an order modifying detention is appealable to the Law Court by right.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8]

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,[9] 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.

[1] These terms are defined at 15 M.R.S. § 3003.

[2] 15 M.R.S. 3402(1)(A).

[3] 15 M.R.S. § 3402(1)(B).

[4] 15 M.R.S. § 3402(1)(D).

[5] 15 M.R.S. § 3402(2-A).

[6] 15 M.R.S. § 3311-D.

[7] 15 M.R.S. § 3401(2)(A), (B).

[8] 15 M.R.S. § 3402(3).

[9] 15 M.R.S. §§ 3401-3405 (2015).

Publication Date

Spring 6-2017


Portland, Maine


Juvenile, Appellate Practice, Maine


Juvenile Law | Law

A Guide to Juvenile Appellate Practice in Maine

Included in

Juvenile Law Commons