Only 10 percent of Maine's criminal records are entered into the state's computer database, reports the Portland (Me.) Press-Herald. The gap keeps judges in the dark about some defendants' criminal backgrounds when their cases go to court. The backlog in getting criminal records on the state's 2-year-old database may represent a danger, especially to domestic violence victims, because domestic homicides account for nearly half of Maine's murders.
A study by the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram says about 405,000 criminal records remain on paper. As a result, suspects in violent crimes sometimes go before judges without prosecutors or anyone else involved in the cases knowing the offender's complete criminal background. Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson said the incomplete record keeping creates a dangerous situation. “I'm positive people have been further hurt because we have cases where we don't know someone's background,” Anderson said. “It's crazy. It really creates a dangerous situation.”