The Piscataquis County Office of the District Attorney, located in the Piscataquis Shiretown of Dover-Foxcroft, is part of Prosecutorial District #5, which encompasses Piscataquis and Penobscot Counties. The office is situated at 159 East Main Street, Suite #11, in the Piscataquis Judicial Center. The Penobscot County Office of the District Attorney is located at the Penobscot County Courthouse, 97 Hammond Street, Bangor, Maine.
The District Attorney’s Office for Prosecutorial District #5 is comprised of the District Attorney, one Deputy District Attorney, seven full-time Assistant District Attorneys, plus support staff. The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for the prosecution of criminal cases, civil violations, traffic infractions and juvenile cases in courts located in Newport, Bangor, Lincoln, Millinocket and Dover-Foxcroft. The District Attorney’s Office serves approximately 30 Law enforcement agencies throughout the two-county Prosecutorial District.
In April of 2013, the Dover-Foxcroft District Court and the Piscataquis County Superior Court combined to become the Piscataquis County Unified Court. Piscataquis Unified Court arraignments, initial appearances, motions, juvenile matters, and trials are held in Dover-Foxcroft on the first Monday of every month, excluding holidays and at other times if ordered by the Court. Trials and Dispositional Conferences are held on the first, third, and fourth Mondays of each month. The Piscataquis County Grand Jury meets in January and June of each year, and considers between twelve and fifteen cases each session. The traverse jury meets in March, July, and November for periods of 1-3 weeks at a time to handle any criminal matters that request a jury trial. The District Attorney also has the responsibility of giving legal counsel to the County Commissioners when needed.
The District Attorney’s Office operates a program of victim assistance that is designed to provide information and support for victims and witnesses who become involved in the criminal justice system. There are three full-time and one part-time victim advocates in the Bangor office and one full-time victim advocate in the Dover office, who also assists in the Newport District Court. This office collects restitution for victims of crime. Just in Piscataquis County alone approximately $30,000 to $33,000 in restitution is collected during a year. The Victim-Witness Advocates work extensively with child abuse and domestic violence cases and are also involved in community out-reach programs. In addition to often meeting with victims and witnesses before the court date, they have arranged an on-call system to minimize the number of necessary court appearances.
The District Attorney’s Office has also undertaken a program of child abuse investigation involving the local police departments, the State Police, and the two County Sheriff’s Departments. Cases of child abuse, both sexual abuse and physical abuse, are assigned through this office. The District Attorney’s Office works closely with the Department of Health and Human Services and other professional groups when dealing with cases of this nature.
Since December of 1999, the Piscataquis County District Attorney’s Office has received Federal Grant Funds for S*T*O*P Violence against Women through the Maine Justice Assistance Council. This enabled them to hire a Domestic Violence Investigator to assist the office and the various local law enforcement agencies to seek out additional witnesses, medical evidence, and review 911 tapes. The investigator also enables them to keep better check on the safety of victims and to monitor defendants for bail compliance. Today, this position is funded by both County and Federal funds.
The District Attorney’s office reviews all complains for A, B, C, and D crimes, and some class E crimes before arraignment in an attempt to eliminate non-provable cases and cases that do not warrant further prosecution. A tremendous portion of the office’s resources, both clerical and legal, is devoted to screening cases and providing pre-trial discovery and investigation. From time to time the office provides training to law enforcement education programs.
In Piscataquis County alone, we prosecute approximately 800 adult criminal and juvenile cases a year. In addition to this, we prosecute approximately 300 civil violations and 100 traffic infractions that are returned from the Violations Bureau to District Court for trial. Although the Court disposes of a large majority of their cases without the participation of the District Attorney’s Office, if any of the cases do go to trial the District Attorney’s Office prepares the case and presents them for trial.
The public is always welcome to attend court sessions to observe the judicial system at work.