Maybell Romero


Rural areas throughout the country, including those in Maine, are beginning to navigate the challenges and benefits of burgeoning communities of color. District Attorneys’ offices in the state, however, have done little to prepare for this major demographic shift. Maine district attorneys must expand their understanding of their duties to do justice and assure access to justice by better serving rural Mainers of color. While a number of scholars have focused on the legal challenges communities of color face in urban environments as well as those faced by what have been presumed to be White communities in rural areas, this paper is the first to examine the relationship between rural Mainers of color and elected district attorneys. This paper advocates that prosecutors adopt, as Professor Lisa Pruitt has termed, a “thicker” definition of access to justice, particularly for rural Mainers of color. This paper is unique in that it examines access to justice not just from the perspective of providing access to counsel in either the criminal or civil context, but focuses exclusively on the role of rural Maine prosecutors.

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