A legal protection lawyer who has defended accused terrorists may lose his legislation license in Maine after he was charged with a number of crimes.
Scott Fenstermaker, a former Manhattan lawyer who practices in Maine, was charged in November with trespassing, assault, reckless conduct and tried theft, based on courtroom data. Fenstermaker’s case is a uncommon instance of a lawyer going through legal fees for what he says was simply doing his job.
The legal fees led the company that oversees court-appointed legal professionals for poor Mainers to bar Fenstermaker from taking up court-assigned circumstances and withdraw from his caseload of greater than 100, straining an already struggling indigent authorized service.
Fenstermaker discovered final week that the prosecutor engaged on his case is in search of his disbarment, eradicating his potential to apply legislation in Maine, based on a letter dated Jan. 6 from the Maine Bar Board of Overseers.
Till not too long ago, Fenstermaker had been on a roster of Maine legal professionals eligible to symbolize individuals who can’t afford illustration. In 2022, the state noticed a “disturbing” scarcity of legal professionals for poor Mainers, and now Fenstermaker has been barred from taking these circumstances.
In contrast to different states, Maine doesn’t have public defenders. As an alternative, protection legal professionals are overseen by the Maine Fee on Indigent Authorized Companies, which is voluntary.
In October, the Maine Monitor reported that the state noticed a record-low variety of legal professionals out there in 2022 to just accept new, court-appointed circumstances by means of the fee. The dearth of legal professionals and the rising variety of circumstances being delivered to prosecution has prompted some defendants to attend as long as six weeks before being assigned an attorney.
Fenstermaker can’t be assigned circumstances as a part of the MCILS, mentioned Justin Andrus, the fee’s government director, who declined to say why or when Fenstermaker was deemed ineligible.
In a Nov. 1 letter despatched to Fenstermaker from the fee notifying him of his suspension, Andrus cited the pending legal fees, data the fee acquired that allegedly confirmed Fenstermaker made statements “to detriment of a consumer throughout” a listening to and that he failed to offer discover of listening to to a consumer who was subsequently arrested for failing to seem on the listening to as the explanations behind his removing from the MCILS listing.
Fenstermaker mentioned the November fees had been from a Sept. 28 incident when he was attempting to persuade a towing firm proprietor to launch his consumer’s automobile from the impound lot when an argument broke out. The proprietor referred to as police and Fenstermaker and his consumer had been summonsed for legal trespassing. However these fees had been elevated to incorporate assault, reckless conduct and tried theft in a Nov. 1 criticism filed in Washington County District Courtroom.
“This isn’t only a state of affairs the place a protection lawyer received arrested. This can be a state of affairs the place I used to be with my consumer — who additionally received arrested — in my capability as a lawyer,” Fenstermaker mentioned. “It’s not like I used to be going out and burglarizing properties in my free time.”
A number of motions have been filed because the criticism in each Washington and Hancock counties in search of to strike Fenstermaker’s look from the report, based on courtroom paperwork.
Whereas a lawyer in New York for 30 years, Fenstermaker was a prosecutor and represented detainees held on the Guantanamo Bay detention middle.
He represented Ammar al-Baluchi, an alleged courier for Osama bin Laden who has been accused of serving to facilitate the Sept. 11, 2001, assaults, in addition to Mustafa bin-Ahmed al-Hawsawi, who allegedly helped fund the Sept. 11 assaults.
Fenstermaker has additionally represented Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi Arabian who’s alleged to be the mastermind behind the bombing of the united statesS. Cole in Yemen in 2000, amongst different high-profile legal circumstances.
The legal case towards Fenstermaker is at a standstill whereas a brand new choose is discovered. Maine District Courtroom Choose David Mitchell recused himself as a result of a battle of curiosity in November, based on courtroom paperwork.
“I’m not suggesting that legal professionals needs to be immune from having to obey the legal legal guidelines,” Fenstermaker mentioned. “I’ll say that in case you go round arresting protection legal professionals, who’re in a state of affairs like I used to be in after I received arrested, it’s going to create issues.”
The Washington and Hancock counties district legal professional’s workplace didn’t reply to a request for remark.