Since the passage of the “Maine Civil Rights Act” (MCRA, Act) in 1989, the Maine Department of the Attorney General has made enforcement of that civil “hate crime” law one of its highest priorities. According to one statistic, “more than 125 people have been prosecuted in Maine's civil courts on hate crime charges since 1994,” and only two of those actions have been lost by the State. The Attorney General at the time of this writing, Andrew Ketterer, has stated that he takes the perpetration of hate crimes seriously, and that it has been important to him “that the message gets out that Maine will not tolerate the abuse of its minority citizens.” The breadth of the term “Maine Civil Rights Act” is a bit misleading because although the Act protects civil rights, it does so only in narrow circumstances. Unlike the broader Maine Human Rights Act, the Maine Civil Rights Act is intended to apply only to situations in which there is violence or threats of violence or damage to property or threats of damage to property that are motivated by bias against categories identified by the legislature. This Comment will explore the Maine Civil Rights Act in detail. The primary purpose of this writing is to provide practitioners of law in Maine with information about the Act.

First Page