April 19, 2013: Associate Justice Donald G. Alexander of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court  rules that former celebrity lawyer F. Lee Bailey of Yarmouth is “almost fit to practice law, except for an outstanding tax debt of nearly $2 million,” essentially clearing a path for Bailey to return to the profession.

The Maine Board of Bar Examiners disagrees. It decides that Bailey, who was disbarred in Florida and Massachusetts over his representation of a marijuana dealer, does not demonstrate the “requisite honesty and integrity” to practice law. On June 20, the board appeals Alexander’s decision to the entire state supreme court.

The court decides in a 4-2 ruling on April 10, 2014, not to grant Bailey a law license, saying he has “failed to demonstrate that he is sufficiently rehabilitated.”

“Maine has spoken,” Bailey tells the Portland Press Herald after the ruling. “I gave it the best shot I could.”

Bailey moved to Maine in 2010. He is best known for having represented clients Albert DeSalvo, who confessed to being the Boston Strangler; newspaper heiress and bank robber Patricia Hearst; Dr. Sam Shepherd, who was acquitted in Ohio of having murdered his wife; and former football and movie star O.J. Simpson in his 1995 murder trial.

Joseph Owen is a retired copy desk chief of the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

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