Janet Mills names Androscoggin County judge to lead state’s highest court

AUGUSTA — Gov. Janet Mills nominated an Auburn judge Monday to chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Valerie Stanfill Submitted photo

Valerie Stanfill, 63, has served as a Superior Court justice in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford  county superior courts since February 2020, when she was nominated to the trial court position by Mills.

Before that, Stanfill had been a judge in Maine’s District Court since 2007, where she was nominated by former Gov. John Baldacci and re-nominated by former Gov. Paul LePage.

If confirmed, Stanfill will be the second woman to serve as chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in Maine’s history.

“Justice Stanfill’s sharp intellect, vast legal experience and expertise, and commitment to administering justice fairly and impartially make her an exceptional candidate to serve as Maine’s Chief Justice,” said Mills said in a media statement released Monday.

“I firmly believe that the Court will benefit considerably from her skills and that our state will be well-served with her at the helm of Maine’s Judicial Branch.”

Stanfill said Monday: “It is the honor of a lifetime to receive this nomination, and, if I am fortunate enough to earn the trust of the Legislature and be confirmed, to serve the people of Maine in this important role . . . I pledge to the people of Maine that I will serve them honorably and faithfully, that I will uphold the rule of law, and that I will work every day to deliver fair and impartial justice.”

James Howaniec, a Lewiston defense attorney, reacted to the nomination, saying, “Valerie Stanfill is an outstanding choice for Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. We are very proud of the work that Justice Stanfill  has done here in Androscoggin County, both as a lawyer and a jurist. I am thrilled to see this county finally get some long-overdue recognition in our judiciary.  I highly commend Gov. Janet Mills for an outstanding selection.”

Prior to serving the Maine Judicial Branch, Stanfill worked as Acting Director of the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic and as visiting clinical professor of law for the University of Maine School of Law. Before that, she had a substantial career in private practice, according to Mill’s office.

She has served as the Chair of the Judicial Branch Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence and Protection Orders and as a member of the Maine Commission on Domestic and Sexual Abuse, the Judicial Branch Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics, and the Maine Domestic Homicide Review Panel. She has also served as a volunteer mock trial coach for Lewiston High School.

Stanfill graduated Magna cum Laude from the University of Maine School of Law and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. She lives in Wayne.

Justice Stanfill’s nomination is subject to confirmation by the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary and the Maine State Senate.

Justice Andrew M. Mead has served as acting chief justice since former Chief Justice Leigh Saufley stepped down to serve as dean of the University of Maine School of Law.

Stanfill is Mills’ third nomination to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court since taking office. Associate Justices Catherine Connors and Andrew Horton were nominated by the governor in 2020 and confirmed unanimously by the Legislature.

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