On Tuesday, March 12, 2024, the Bangor Daily News reported that Hancock County Probate Judge William Blaisdell IV could face discipline over a contempt of court finding.

According to the article, Judge Patricia Worth of Waldo County ordered Blaisdell last week to pay more than $43,000 in back child support to his ex-wife as well as $6,000 for her legal fees. Worth also sentenced Blaisdell to 90 days in jail for refusing to follow the court’s order but deferred the sentence until March 25th to allow him time to pay what he owed or demonstrate efforts to do so.

Blaisdell, a 54-year-old licensed attorney elected as the Hancock County probate judge, may face investigation or disciplinary action from two oversight bodies. As a licensed attorney, the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar could examine Blaisdell’s behavior, as the board regulates attorney conduct. Additionally, the Committee on Judicial Conduct may launch a probe, as this committee reviews complaints against judges.

Experts noted the judicial branch would likely handle any action to remove Blaisdell from his judicial office. However, disbarment could also threaten his ability to serve as a probate judge since one must be an attorney. While suspension would not immediately remove him, it raises questions if he could still preside with a suspended law license but not being disbarred.

Ultimately, it will be up to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to determine any disciplinary sanctions from recommendations by the oversight committee or bar board. Both the board and Committee had not yet commented on potential investigations into Blaisdell as of publication.

The last known discipline of a Maine probate judge came in 2018 when former Biddeford judge Robert Nadeau received a public reprimand over misconduct during his time on the bench.

 

 

Source: Bangor Daily News