State Representative Jeffrey Evangelos, I-Friendship, announced Dec. 7 that he will not seek reelection in November 2022.
Evangelos is currently serving his fourth term in the Maine House of Representatives, representing House District 91, which includes Friendship, Waldoboro, Union, and Washington. His term ends Nov. 8, 2022.
He made his announcement now in order to clear the field for other candidates.
"I wanted to thank my constituents and voters for the kindness and faith they have expressed in me,” he said, in a news release. “No representative could ask for more and my reasons for taking a break are unrelated to my relationship with my towns or my health."
He continued: “It wasn't a hard decision, really. Obstruction politics in Augusta made it an easy choice."
Evangelos has championed criminal justice reforms for Maine.
"Most of the reform bills that I sponsored have passed the House and the Senate, only to face obstructions in the Appropriations Committee and Governor Janet Mills,” he said. “We fund the police, we fund the prosecutors, we fund the courts and we fund the prisons without reservation. But when it comes to funding an innocence plea or effective legal defense counsel for poor people, Maine's running a rummage sale, outside the bounds of the due process requirements of the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. I've had enough of it so I'm going to return to my activist roots of the 1960s for the next two years."
He said: "Maine's record of innocence in serious felony post-conviction appeals, our record on unjustified police shootings, the absence of parole and our record on Executive Clemency all stand at zero. It's not a functioning criminal justice system. The police, prosecutors, and the Attorney General's Office are always right, the people are always wrong. It reminds me of George Orwell's allegory, Animal Farm, where one set of people assume extra judicial and extra-constitutional authority to the detriment of the rest of us (‘Some animals are more equal than others.’)”
To Evangelos, the system is: “irrevocably broken, with judges who advanced their careers thru the ranks of the Attorney General's Office and prosecutorial districts, all the way up to our Superior Courts and the Maine Supreme Court. Seriously, what chance does an innocent person in prison have when their hearing is in front of the judge who worked in the system as an Assistant Attorney General, the system and people that put them in prison? Zero chance.
"The same goes for police shootings. The score stands at an abysmal 175-0, all justified, even when the victim is unarmed. You don't get to 175-0 unless something is very, very disturbingly wrong.
“The entire criminal justice system in Maine suffers from inherent systemic bias, infected with ethical and moral corruption. Any prosecutor who would willfully keep an innocent person in a cage, blocking newly discovered evidence that would free the person, or anyone in the Attorney General's office who would rule a police shooting justified when they know the evidence shows that it was a police murder, represents not only ethical and moral corruption, it represents a serious legal problem, including obstruction of justice, violations of constitutional guarantees of due process, the right to a fair trial or hearing, and a violation of civil rights.
"Am I done with elective office?
“The answer is I don't know. I'd like to run for U.S. Congress someday in the First District, but unless U.S. Representative Pingree steps down, it doesn't seem realistic.
“As for the election of 2022, with LePage and Mills going at it, the election will mirror the Collins/Gideon cesspool. There's an old saying in politics, 'you go near the cesspool, you're going to get messed up'. So I'm taking a pass in 2022.
"This doesn't mean my work stops. I'll continue to fight for justice for our lobstering families who are suffering a form of collective punishment over the right whale issue.
“I will continue to support peace over war. And I will continue to fight for justice for the dispossessed, including our Native Americans, who have been victimized by Maine's unconstitutional justice system.
“In that regard, part of my activism will include filing a formal complaint with the United States Justice Department outlining these egregious Constitutional violations in Maine's ‘injustice’ system. I plan on asking Attorney General Merrick Garland to put Maine's criminal justice system under federal review and supervision. It's my next work in progress."