PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine courts have started the transition to online records and plan to charge 10 times the amount charged to access federal court records.
The first 300 cases have been filed and currently, the public must pay $1 per page to view a document online, the Portland Press Herald reported.
Court officials have promised that a spring update will make previewing documents free and downloading those pages will cost $2 for the first page and $1 for each additional page.
A spokesperson said the Maine Judicial Branch will use these fees to pay for the new system that will cost between $1.3 million and $1.8 million each year.
A federal appeals court recently ruled that the 10 cents charged per page to access PACER — the federal court system — was higher than needed to operate the system and should be reduced.
“I think the court system is probably acting in good faith in trying to get this stuff online, but given that anybody can walk into a courthouse and see any case or pleading at no charge … it seems to me like the best practice for the court system would be to make the electronic documents available at as low a cost to the public as possible,” said Jim Campbell, president of the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition.
The transition to online records won’t be fully implemented until at least 2022
(Copyright (c) 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)