As readers of this blog know, state constitutional interpretation has been a matter of discussion here and at the Maine Law Court over the last few years. Maine jurisprudence has seen a revival of the primacy doctrine, which directs state courts to resolve state constitutional issues prior to and independently of any federal constitutional issues. This revival has, in turn, highlighted the need for lawyers to engage in the advocacy necessary to enable the Law Court to engage in meaningful state constitutional analysis.
This is the issue that the Law Court took up in its most recent pronouncement on the primacy doctrine. In State v. Norris, the Law Court was compelled to find that a criminal defendant had waived an independent claim under the Maine Constitution’s search and seizure provision. But Justice Connors, writing for the Court, did not stop there. Instead, the Court carefully explained what is required to preserve a state constitutional claim.