HISTORY OF THE MAINE-ARCHANGEL RULE OF LAW PROJECT
In 1988, the cities and towns that make up Greater Portland, Maine established a vibrant Sister City Relationship with the City of Archangel in Northwest Russia.
In 1992, the State of Vermont, building on an already existing relationship with the Republic of Karelia in Northwest Russia, began privately funded exchanges of delegations focusing on learning about each other's legal system.
In 1993, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) recognized the promise of the Vermont/Karelia legal initiative and began supporting it with federal funding to promote the Rule of Law in Russia.
In 1996, USAID urged Vermont to replicate its highly successful legal program in other American states and link them to other jurisdictions in Russia. That year, the legal communities of Maryland and the Saint Petersburg Oblast (Region) in Russia were partnered.
In February 1997, Maine's Chief Justice, at the request of the Vermont Rule of Law organization and recognizing the strong foundation built by the Greater Portland/City of Archangel relationship, established the Maine/Archangel Oblast Rule of Law Steering Committee.
Since early 1997, there have been many federally funded exchange delegations back and forth between the legal communities of Maine and the Archangel Oblast. Delegations have included judges, law professors, prosecutors, criminal, defense lawyers, commercial lawyers, corrections officials and legislators. Areas of interest have included the formation of legal clinics at Archangel law schools, the training of the Archangel criminal justice system to conduct jury trials, the publishing of decisions of the Archangel Supreme Court; the training of Archangel district court judges in domestic violence cases and the assistance to the Archangel Regional Assembly of Deputies (legislature).
Currently, seven U.S. states are partnered with seven Russian regions in the Russian American Rule of Law Consortium, Inc., (RAROLC), a §501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.
This legal partnership began in 1997 and was built upon an already existing and active sister-city relationship between Greater Portland, Maine and the City of Archangel. On the request of Vermont Supreme Court Justice John Dooley of the Vermont/Karelia Rule of Law Project, Chief Justice Daniel Wathen of the Maine Supreme Court established a Maine Steering Committee. The initial Steering Committee, which convened in February 1997, included a Justice of the Maine Supreme Court, two trial judges, two law professors from the University of Maine School of Law, and members of the state bar. After briefings by Justice Dooley and Jan Eastman of the Vermont/Karelia Rule of Law Project, the Maine Steering Committee chose Neale Duffett (a member of the Maine bar and also the Co-Chair of the Sister City Committee) as its initial representative to Archangel.
Meanwhile, by May 1997, Alexander Petrovsky, Minister of Justice of Karelia; Boris Taratunin, Chief Justice of the Karelia Supreme Court; and Rostislov Dusaev, Dean of the Petrozavodsk State University Law Department, had made contact with the members of Archangel legal community and encouraged them to enter the partnership. Three representatives of that community, Mikhail Averin, Chief Justice of the Archangel Oblast Regional Court; another judge of that court, and Tatiana Zykina, Dean of the Pomor State University Law Department, met with Neale Duffett at a Vermont/Karelia event in May in the capital of Karelia: Petrozavodsk. Mr. Duffett, along with Vermont representatives, then traveled to Archangel in early June 1997 for discussions on forming the partnership. The Archangel legal community formed a partnership steering committee chaired by Tatiana Zykina and including the Chief Justice of the Arbitrazh Court, the Chief Justice of the Regional Court, the Head of Judicial Administration for the Oblast, the Chairman of the Presidium of the Oblast Collegium of Advocates, a commercial lawyer, and the Prosecutor for the City of Archangel. The meetings showed particular interest in forming an American-style legal clinic at the Pomor State University Law Department by using the newly formed legal clinic in Karelia as a model.
In August 1997, the Dean of Pomor State University Law Department attended an ABA sponsored conference on clinical legal education in Washington, D.C. She was selected for participation because of her involvement in the incipient partnership and her interest in using it for the development of the Archangel legal clinic. Following that event, she traveled to the University of Maine School of Law for five days to view the clinic there and discuss future activities between the law schools. This visit was funded locally by the Maine legal community.
In September 1997, the Maine Steering Committee selected three persons to participate in seminars in Karelia and in Archangel. The three members selected were Justice Caroline Glassman of the Maine Supreme Court (retired), commercial lawyer George Burns and law professor Judy Potter (a founder of the University of Maine Legal Clinic). They participated in seminars in Karelia and then moved on to Archangel where they joined Maine lawyer Neale Duffett for discussions with our Russian counterparts. The Pomor Law Department quickly committed to the establishment and opening of a legal clinic. In fact, development of that legal clinic was selected as the highest priority for the partnership. In addition, after discussions between Justice Glassman and Chief Justices Averin and Naumov of the Archangel Regional and Arbitrazh Courts, an agreement was reached on publishing the written decisions of those courts. The proposal involved the assignment of a Reporter of Decisions in Archangel, and the regular publication and distribution of appellate decisions to lower courts and lawyers. This project was selected as the second priority of the Maine/Archangel partnership.
In September 1998, the Pomor Law Department opened its legal clinic. Michael Mullane, Co-Director of the University of Maine School of Law Legal Clinic, visited Archangel in September 1998 with two other Maine lawyers: Neale Duffett and Paula Watson. There, they consulted on the administration and operation of the Archangel clinic in particular and of the law department in general. They participated in a conference on clinical education (which developed support for the clinic among members of the legal community in Archangel) and gave lectures on bankruptcy, evidence and banking law. They also consulted on curriculum development at the law department.
In October 1998, Pomor Legal Clinic director Tatiana Zykina, private attorney Stanislav Vitori and Chief Justice Mikhail Averin spent a week in Maine to work on the projects between the legal communities. Ms. Zykina and Mr. Vitori focused on the legal clinic. Mr. Vitori agreed to sponsor Pomor law student interns at his Archangel pulp and paper company to provide advice on specific legal problems. Chief Justice Averin learned how decisions of the Maine Supreme Court are written, published and disseminated to lawyers and trial judges, and the systems for finding decisions relevant to a particular legal issue. He met with the Justices of the Supreme Court, the clerk and the reporter of decisions.
In May 1999, Maine law professor Judy Potter presented a paper at a Clinical Law Conference in Novgorod in the Novgorod Oblast. Also in attendance were Professor James May of the Vermont Law School, Professors Sydney and Jane Picker of Cleveland State Law School, Professor David Barnhizer of Case Western University, Professor William Burnham of Wayne State University and the Directors of the Pomor Legal Clinic, the Petrozavodsk Legal Clinic, and the Novgorod Legal Clinic. At this conference, exploration was made of the idea of forming a three clinic consortium, with the clinics at Novgorod, Petrozavodsk, and Archangel.
In September 1999, Archangel Chief Justice Averin hosted judicial leaders from seven Northern Russia regions at a criminal procedure conference in Archangel.
In May 2000, Professors Judy Potter and David Cluchey from the University of Maine School of Law conducted a conference in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The conference brought together the directors of the Student Legal Clinics of four American and four Russian law schools. The American schools were Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Cleveland State Law Schools, and the Russian law schools were Pomor in Archangel (paired with Maine), Vologda (paired with New Hampshire), Karelia (paired with Vermont) and Novgorod (paired with Cleveland State). The four pairs formed partnerships and cooperative procedures to promote legal clinics in Russia to provide no-cost legal services to the poor.
In May 2000, RAROLC hosted a seminar in Petrozovodst, Karelia on the new Russian real estate title registration law. Attending from the Archangel Oblast were Alexander Markov (Chief Registrar) and Semon Goman (Deputy Registrar).
Building on the Sister City and Rule of Law relationships, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration began funding exchanges between the Maine and Archangel transportation Departments in 2000. Three officials from the State of Maine Department of Transportation were hosted in Archangel in June 2000 by the Archangel Regional Transportation Administration. The Maine delegation, led by Deputy MDOT Commissioner Jane Lincoln, worked with their Russian counterparts on a number of issues, including concrete bridges, gravel roads, airport reconstruction, environmental impact and snow/ice control.
Four prominent leaders from the governments of four Russian regions visited Washington, D.C. and Maine in July 2000 as part of a program funded by the U.S. Government to promote democratic leadership in Russia. One of the delegates was Nikoli Malakov, First Deputy Governor of the Archangel Oblast for Economic Affairs. He met with various government and business leaders in Maine as well as with members of the Sister City Committee and Rule of Law Project. This delegation was hosted by the Maine World Affairs Council and by the Sister City Committee.
Two delegations from Russia visited Maine in August 2000. The first consisted of the Reporters of Decisions from the Archangelsk Oblast (Marina Hundasenko) and from the Republic of Karelia (Valeri Snigur). They spent time with Justice Glassman and Maine Law Court Clerk James Chute and learned the details of writing and publishing appellate decisions. The other delegation consisted of eight judges from the Archangel Oblast and two facilitators from Moscow; they were hosted by the Maine Law School and by the State and Federal Judiciary. The program was a general one and was designed to familiarize the delegates with all aspects of Maine's judicial systems. The judges visited Maine Superior and District Courts, the Federal District Court in Portland, the Maine Law School and Clinic, and four private law firms of varying size and specialty. This visit was funded by the Open World Program run by the U.S. Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
In September 2000, Justice Caroline Glassman and Professor Judy Potter visited Archangel to work on the precedent publishing project and to plan for future jury trial training.
In January 2001, Maine lawyer Raymond Pelletier visited Archangel as a representative of both the Sister City and the Rule of Law Programs. Mr. Pelletier met with representatives of their Sister City Committee, Pomor University, Archangel State Technical University, the Mayor's Office and the Judiciary. Plans for several future exchanges and projects were advanced.
In March 2001, a six person legal delegation from Maine participated in "first of its kind" comparative mock trials with Russian lawyers and judges in Archangel. The delegation consisted of Professors Judy Potter and David Cluchey of the University of Maine School of Law, Superior Court Justice Roland Cole, Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson and Maine lawyers Neale Duffett and Ray Pelletier. While in Russia, the group performed one civil trial and one criminal trial. The Russian participants included law school professors, six Russian trial judges (four of whom visited Maine in August 2000), a prosecutor and two private attorneys. Students of Pomor Law in Archangel played the roles of witnesses and jurors. The trials were performed in a large courtroom at the Archangel Regional Courthouse, which was filled with spectators made up of Russian students, lawyers, judges and media.
The civil case involved a family law dispute and focused on issues of child custody, residence, alimony and support. The same set of facts was tried first under the Russian system and then under the American system. Under the Russian system the litigants themselves have a more active role.
Each party made a statement on his or her behalf, after which each of the judges on the three judge panel and each attorney addressed questions to the parties. Closing statements were given by the parties, followed by their attorneys. At the conclusion of the trial the Russian court ruled that under Russian law the particular court hearing the case could not order either of the parties to leave the family apartment, and that issue needed to be handled in a different proceeding. Therefore, it also refused to make any child custody or support decisions and simply left the parties and their children divorced, but living together in the same apartment. In the American version of the case, Professor Judy Potter and attorney Ray Pelletier played the roles of counsel for the husband and wife, respectively. Mr. Pelletier, who is fluent in Russian, conducted his examinations and arguments in Russian. Justice Cole awarded the apartment to the wife and children, gave primary custody of the children to the wife, liberal visitation to the husband, ordered the parties into co-parenting counseling and ordered the husband to pay child support. Following the trial, the Russian and American participants conducted a panel discussion and fielded questions from the Russian audience.
The criminal case involved a robbery of a young woman who was accosted late at night by a young man who claimed to have a knife. The facts were chosen to present issues of witness identification and credibility. In the Russian version of the case, which was tried without a jury as is normally the practice in the Russian system, the three judges played a much more active role than do judges in the United States. After the victim and defendant each made a statement on his or her behalf, the judges actively questioned them, as did the prosecutor and defense counsel. The defense counsel made a motion to exclude a post-arrest identification of the accused sine it was conducted in apparent violation of the Russian Code of Criminal Procedure. The Court denied the motion. The judges found the defendant guilty and imposed a seven year sentence with forfeiture of his property. Before the American version of the trial started, Justice Cole gave a short lecture on how a jury trial is conducted in the United States and Professor Cluchey lectured on the basic evidence rules. The American version of the case was presented by Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson and attorney Neale Duffett as prosecutor and defense counsel, respectively. The all-Russian jury was made up of 8 students, 2 law professors and 2 municipal judges. The arguments and examinations by counsel were vigorous and lively, leaving the jurors spell-bound. The jury took a very short time to acquit the defendant of all charges.
There was considerable newspaper coverage of the delegation's activities, and TV and radio reports. Newspaper reports and comments by Russian host organizations indicated that this was the first time that such comparative U.S./Russian trials had been conducted in Archangel, and perhaps in all of Russia.
In July 2001, nine leading members of the Archangel Oblast legal community visited Maine; the delegation was composed of three judges, two prosecutors, three legislators and one law professor. The three legislators, led by the Chairman of the Archangel Regional Assembly Vitali Fortygin, spent a day observing a jury trial in Portland; toured the SAPPI paper mills in Hinckley; toured harbor facilities and the Fish Exchange in Portland; spent half a day at Peoples Heritage Bank headquarters; and spent a day with Maine legislative, executive and judicial leaders in Augusta. The judges were led by Vladimir Bounkov, the Vice Chief Justice of the Archangel Oblast and the prosecutors were led by Sergey Orekhanov, the Vice Prosecutor of the Archangel Oblast. Law Professor Tatiana Zykina accompanied the judges and prosecutors. This group of six people spent four days observing a jury trial in Cumberland County Superior Court, touring the state and federal prosecutors' offices in Portland and meeting with two U.S. Federal Judges in Portland. They also met for several hours with Chief Justice Leigh Saufley of the Maine Supreme Court and several other members of the Supreme Court. Much of this visit was dedicated to familiarizing the Russians with all the aspects of the American jury trial process. In addition, Justice Bounkov stated that his Region leads Russia in the publishing of written appellate opinions and he proudly presented the first three such bound volumes to his Maine counterparts. The delegation also enjoyed other interests here, including shopping, swimming, touring the coast of Maine and touring New York City, which culminated in a visit to the top of the World Trade Center.
Also in July 2001, the Maine Department of Transportation hosted Peter Orlov, the Vice Governor of the Archangel Oblast, and Alexi Vereshchagin, the Archangel Oblast Road Commissioner. The two visitors focused on transportation issues including inter-model (rail/highway) facilities, road maintenance, and bridge design and construction. Vice Governor Orlov visited with Governor King and discussed future cooperation between the State of Maine and the Archangel Oblast.
Justice Caroline Glassman and Andrey Strukov (a computer technician and interpreter from Fairfield, Maine) visited Archangel in October 2001. The trip focused on the continued publication of Archangel Oblast Supreme Court decisions in book form. She learned from Oblast Chief Justice Mikhail Averin and Deputy Chief Justice Vladimir Brounkov that this project was leading all of Russia in the publishing of decisions.
Two intrepid members of the Maine House of Representatives traveled to snowy Archangel for a week in mid-December 2001 and were hosted by the Archangel Oblast Regional Assembly (Legislature). The delegates were Representative Charles LaVerdiere of Wilton, Maine and Representative William Savage of Buxton, Maine. They were led and guided by attorney Ray Pelletier. Rep. LaVerdiere chaired the House Judiciary Committee and Rep. Savage chaired the House Public Utilities and Energy Committee. The program prepared for them by the Chairman of the Regional Assembly Vitali Fortygin was intense and extremely rewarding for both the American and Russian legislators. Our Representatives participated in a number of governmental and economic roundtables, met Archangel Governor Anatoli Yefremov, met extensively with the media, toured the Archangel Pulp and Paper Mill in the City of Novodvinsk, toured the Archangel Fishing Port, met with the Archangel Judiciary, and toured Pomor Law. They also were treated to a horse-drawn sleigh ride and a traditional Russian banya. Both Maine Legislators returned home extremely excited about their trip and the prospects for future legislative exchanges. Rep. LaVerdiere said that "for democracy to flourish in Russia ... a full and complete dialogue between the policy makers in Archangel and in Maine are essential ... In the strongest possible terms, I urge that there be expanded cooperation between the Legislature of the State of Maine and the Regional Assembly of Archangel."
Two members of the Archangel Regional Assembly visited Maine in February 2002 and were hosted by the Maine House of Representatives. The visiting delegates were Stanislav Vtori (Union Party Leader) and Yuri Spiridonov (Chair of the Housing and Energy Committee). They were guided by Maine Representatives Charles LaVerdiere of Wilton and William Savage of Buxton. Their program was intense as they participated in a number of committee sessions and meetings, met Governor Angus King, toured the Portland Fish Exchange, visited a paper mill and a gas-fired generating plant, lunched with Maine 's Chief Justice, and were greeted as guests of honor by House Speaker Michael Saxl in the general Legislative sessions. They were particularly impressed with the ceremonies of each Legislative session (prayer, National Anthem, and Pledge of Allegiance) and with the fact that Maine school children not only visit the House Chamber in large numbers but also that many students work there as pages. Mr. Vtori said that he planned to "introduce such improvements into the daily work of the Regional Assembly".
Nine legal leaders from the Archangel Region visited Maine in August 2002 as guests of the State and Federal Judiciaries and the University of Maine School of Law. The three judges, three prosecutors, and three criminal defense lawyers made up the first such "mixed" delegation to visit the United States as part of the Library of Congress "Open World" program. The visit focused on the jury selection process, jury trials, witness direct and cross-examination, and oral advocacy skills. The centerpiece of the visit was a mock robbery trial in which the delegation acted as the jury and Maine judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers put on the trial using Russian law and procedure. Upon returning to Archangel, defense lawyer Elena Shashkova wrote in the local Pravdasevera newspaper that "the principle of American life is: live as you wish, as long as you don't cause anyone around you harm. This wonderful principle appeals to me very much, and I dream of it becoming a reality in our life."
Seven legal professionals from Maine were hosted in Archangel from in October 2002. Traveling to Russia were Federal Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk (Bangor), Assistant United States Attorney Gail Malone (Bangor), State District Court Judge Joyce Wheeler (York), Cumberland County Jail Administrator Jeff Newton, law professors David Cluchey and Judy Potter, and attorney Neale Duffett. Again, the focus was on jury trials as the Archangel Judiciary prepared for the January 1, 2003 start date for jury trials in serious criminal cases. Another mock jury trial was conducted as well as more training in advocacy skills and plea negotiations. In addition, the delegation met and started an ongoing relationship with the newly-created District Court system in the Region: the 65 judges will handle family and misdemeanor/domestic violence criminal cases. The delegation met with the faculty and staff at the Student Clinics at the Pomor and Archangel State Technical University law departments. Additional financial resources were provided to Chief Justice Averin to publish the next volume of printed appellate decisions of the Regional Court. Members met with Regional Assembly Chairman Fortygin to plan future legislative exchanges; Chairman Fortygin said that he has implemented some of the things learned in Maine: each Assembly session now opens and closes with the Russian National Hymn (each Maine session opens with the Star Spangled Banner) and he was studying a dual chamber system (similar to Maine's House and Senate). Finally, a significant aspect of this delegation to Archangel was Jeff Newton's ability to visit the pre-trial jail in the City, the prison across the Northern Dvina River, the juvenile detention facility, and the corrections officer training academy. Mr. Newton found the staffs of these facilities to be professionals who treated the inmates well.
In January 2003, an additional two members of the Maine House of Representatives were hosted in Archangel by the Regional Assembly. Representatives Matt Dunlap (Old Town) and David Trahan (Waldoboro) were guided by attorney Ray Pelletier. Their week-long program was intense and productive, as comparisons were made in the areas of legislative rides and process, lawmaking, taxation, constitutional law, lobbying, veto authority, and the budgetary process. Primary focus of this visit was on the issues of domestic violence and gender justice (issues where the Regional Assembly was taking a leadership role).
In April 2003, the Federal Highway Administration in Washington, D.C. sent Program Manager Tracy Busch to Archangel to participate in a major training conference.
In May 2003, Maine District Court Judges Joyce Wheeler and Mark Horton and Maine attorney Faye Luppi visited Archangel and conducted an intensive three day training program for 30 District Court judges. The focus of the training was to help the newly-created Archangel District Court system develop effective responses to domestic violence. A broad range of issues relating to domestic violence were covered: for example, Judge Wheeler spoke of the alternatives to children's testimony in the courtroom; Judge Horton spoke on protective orders and on conditions of bail/probation; and Faye Luppi (Director of Maine's Violence Intervention Partnership) discussed assessing the dangerousness of alleged abusers and the use of abuser intervention programs. The delegation was hosted by Vasili Popovsky, the Director of the Regional District Court Administration; indeed, about half of the Region's District Court Judges were able to attend. The response to the training was overwhelming as the Russians enthusiastically participated in the sessions and drafted a list of meaningful goals and recommendations for the future. Maine Justice Caroline Glassman and Law Professor Judy Potter briefly joined our domestic violence delegation in Archangel before moving on to represent Maine at a conference of all of the RAROLC American and Russian partners in Petrozovodst, Karelia. Representing Archangel at this conference were Regional Court Justice Evgeni Martynov, Prosecutor Ludmilla Kovtoninuk, Archangel State Technical University Law Dean Nikoli Skoriukov, Pomor Law Dean Tatiana Zykina, and private attorney Vladimir Morev.
In June 2003, Maine D.O.T. engineers Peter Coughlin and Arnold Fox visited their professional counterparts in Archangel to focus on gravel roads maintenance and vegetation management.
Eight District Court Judges and one District Court Administrator from the Archangel Region visited Maine in August 2003 on another project funded by the Library of Congress "Open World" Program. This visit built upon the progress made by Maine's May 2003 delegation to Archangel as it focused on domestic violence issues. Led by Director Vasili Popovsky of the Regional District Court Administration, the delegation visited several of Maine's district courts to observe criminal and protection from abuse matters; in addition, they visited the Cumberland County Superior Court and the U.S. Federal District Court in Portland. Several informal roundtable discussions focusing on domestic violence were held with several Maine District Court judges, a community-based violence intervention partnership, two Federal judges, several state legislators and Maine's Attorney General. The group also met with Maine Governor John Baldacci and Maine Chief Justice Leigh Saufley. Finally, the delegation attended briefings on Maine's Drug Court program and attended an actual Drug Court session.
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