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  • To promote the study and research in the field of criminal defense law and related areas.
  • To disseminate and advance by lecture, seminars and publications the knowledge of the law relating to criminal defense practice.
  • To promote the proper administration of justice.
  • To foster, maintain and encourage the integrity, independence and expertise of the defense lawyer in criminal cases.
  • To foster periodic meetings of defense lawyers and to provide a forum for the exchange of information regarding the administration of criminal justice, and thereby:
  • To protect individual rights and improve the criminal law, its practices and procedures.

MACDL Awards

Each year the Maine Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys presents two awards at its annual meeting in June.

President’s Award – This award will be given each year to the one criminal defense attorney who best exemplifies the goals and values of the Association and the legal profession.
Past recipients: Stephen Schwartz, Neale Duffett, David Beneman, Walt McKee, Tim Zerillo,  Ed Folsom, Virginia Villa, Matthew B. Nichols,  Jamesa Drake, Jonathan Handelman and James Mason.

Unsung Hero Award – This award will be given each year to the one criminal defense attorney who best exemplifies the highest level of commitment, passion and tireless pursuit of justice in the representation of indigent defendants.
Past recipients: Sherry Tash, Rob Ruffner, Amy Fairfield, Jeremy Pratt, Robert A. Levine,  Lisa Whittier, Joe Mekonis,Ned Chester, Chris Ledwick, and Chris Northrop.

To submit a nomination, please send a letter outlining the candidate’s qualifications based on the criteria above. Nominations should be submitted to:

Jennifer Lechner
Executive Director
P.O. Box 434
Freeport, ME 04032

Upcoming events

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“It’s time."  With those words in the summer of 1992, prominent Bangor criminal defense lawyer and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers board member Marshall Stern signaled that better education, resources, lobbying, and a statewide voice on matters of importance should be available to Maine criminal defense lawyers and their clients.

Portland criminal defense lawyer Stephen Schwartz heeded the call from his mentor, gathered several of his friends in the Bar as incorporators, including Lenny Sharon, Gail Latouf, Vilean Taggersell, and Tom Van Houten, and founded the Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, becoming its first president.

Steve and Lenny, our second president, were the driving forces behind the proliferation of the organization, gaining hundreds of members by traveling throughout the state, and traveling with their families to Rhode Island to obtain affiliation with the NACDL in 1993.  Steve also founded and was the first editor of the professional publication Maine Defender, the newsletter of the MACDL.

Maine has no public defender and the defense of those charged with crimes, be they indigent or not, falls on the shoulders of a small group of private defense lawyers.  Marshall and Steve were passionate in their desire to bring the defense bar together through an organization dedicated to the needs of criminal defense lawyers and their clients.

Today, MACDL counts among its members almost all of the criminal defense lawyers in Maine. We meet as a group at an annual legal seminar held in June.  We publish a quarterly newsletter, hold training sessions and meetings around the state assisting our members through a sharing of ideas and resources, and lobby in the Legislature on criminal defense matters.  When called upon, we also provide friend of the court briefs to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Please browse through our site for more information about the association.


Copyright MACDL 2016

Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. PO Box 434 Freeport, ME 04032.


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