The Homicide Unit
By law, the Office of the Attorney General directs and controls the investigation and prosecution of homicides.
When a homicide occurs, Assistant Attorneys General assigned to the Homicide Unit of the Criminal Division respond and advise detectives from the investigating agency. The Maine State Police and Portland and Bangor police departments are the three agencies state-wide charged with the responsibility of investigating homicides. The prosecutors work closely with detectives, forensic scientists from the Crime Laboratory and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner during the course of the investigation. This collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach is utilized throughout the investigation and trial of the defendant. When an individual is convicted of murder or manslaughter, the Office of the Attorney General handles all appeal and post-conviction litigation.
The Unsolved Homicide Unit
Statewide, Maine has more than 100 cases, comprising unsolved murder cases, suspicious death cases and missing person cases in which criminal conduct is suspected. We recognize the public imperative in solving these cases. The failure to prosecute murderers for their crimes endangers the public safety, undermines public confidence in the criminal justice system and causes unspeakable pain to the loved ones of victims.
Historically, unsolved homicide cases have been assigned to the same group of detectives who investigate other major crimes, including new cases of homicide, child abuse, sexual assault, robbery, etc.. In 2015, the legislature funded two Maine State Police detectives and one forensic chemist to work exclusively on unsolved murder cases in coordination with a dedicated prosecutor in the Office of the Attorney General. These professionals are joined by a Victim Advocate who is dedicated to serving the family members of victims.
This multi-disciplinary team, Maine’s first Unsolved Homicide Unit, will review these cases with “fresh eyes” and collaborate with law enforcement, medical examiners, forensic scientists and other experts to create new momentum to solve these crimes and hold offenders accountable.
Domestic Abuse Homicide Review Panel
This panel is established by the Commission on Domestic and Sexual Abuse. It is chaired by an Assistant Attorney General, who is also a homicide prosecutor. Members of the Panel include the Chief Medical Examiner, a physician, a nurse, a law enforcement officer, the Commissioners of Corrections and Public Safety, a judge, a prosecutor, an Assistant Attorney General who handles child protection cases, a victim-witness advocate, a mental health service provider, a facilitator of a batterers' intervention program, and persons designated by the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence. The Panel reviews homicides cases where the victim has been killed by a family or household member. The Panel recommends methods of improving systems for protecting persons from domestic and sexual abuse, including modifications of laws, policies and procedures.
Frequently Asked Questions
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- Homicide Survivor's Guide (PDF)
- 2014 Report of the Domestic Abuse Homicide Review Panel (PDF)
- 2012 Report of the Domestic Abuse Homicide Review Panel (PDF, 3.6mb)
- 2010 Report of the Domestic Abuse Homicide Review Panel (PDF)
- 2008 DV Homicide Panel Report (PDF, 508kb)
- Maine Department of Corrections Victim Services
- Center for Grieving Children
- The Compassionate Friends
- Concerns of Police Survivors
- Mothers against drunk driving
- National Center for Victims of Crime
- National Organization for Victim Assistance
- National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children