Argued my first Law Court appeal, Arbour v. Department of Corrections

I argued my first appeal before Maine’s highest court on Tuesday, Oct. 23,¬†Edward Arbour v. Department of Corrections. As a student attorney for the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, I was assigned over the summer to write a supplemental brief for Mr. Arbour, who challenged an administrative disciplinary punishment he received while he was a prisoner at Maine State Prison.

The Supreme Judicial Court scheduled the case to be argued as part of its annual educational touring sessions, convening court in the Westbrook High School auditorium in front a crowd of about 100 students.

Here’s a link to the oral argument audio: Arbour v. Department of Corrections oral argument.

Here’s how the Court summarized the appeal: “Edward Arbour appeals from the Superior Court’s affirming an administrative decision of the Department of Corrections disciplining Arbour. Arbour argues that the Superior Court erred because 1) the conduct for which he was disciplined was protected speech, 2) the relevant disciplinary regulation is unconstitutionally vague, 3) the disciplinary hearing was not by an impartial officer, and 4) the evidence was insufficient to support the discipline decision.”

My opponent in the case, Assistant Attorney General James Fortin, and I both stayed after the formal oral arguments in the case to answer questions from the high school students.

The high school students asked a ton of questions and seemed very engaged. That was the best part of the whole argument experience.

Here are the links to the briefs and the appendix in the case:
Appellant’s brief by Mr. Arbour
Appellant’s supplemental brief by me
DOC’s brief in response to Mr.Arbour’s brief
DOC’s brief in response to my brief
Edward Arbour appendix