Judge impounds record with indictment error in fatal Maine hayride accident

Portland Press Herald

Sig Schutz is quoted in this article about the chief justice of the Maine Superior Court keeping secret the document that falsely charged a South Paris man with manslaughter. The man charged was a driver in a haunted hayride accident that killed a Messalonskee High School junior in October of 2014.


Sigmund Schutz, a First Amendment lawyer with Preti Flaherty in Portland, believes the document should be made public.

“Indictments are public records. Transparency is essential to maintaining public respect for the criminal justice system, ensuring its integrity and protecting the rights of the accused,” Schutz said Monday. He said a signed indictment, whether valid or not, issued by the grand jury is a public record under Maine’s court rules, as well as the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Schutz represents the Press Herald in First Amendment cases and filed a letter with the court asking that Cole reverse his decision.