PORTLAND (AP) – A Standish woman charged with a 28-year-old murder in Florida is trying to avoid being returned to that state.

In court papers, Lynne Harrison, 51, claims that Florida’s penal system is “inconsistent with Maine notions of decency” and that being sent there would amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

Harrison is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 8, and her lawyer and a prosecutor agree that she has little hope of staying in Maine.

Defense counsel Tom Connolly said he raised the issue in hopes that his client, who has five children and a grandchild, can get bail while she awaits trial.

“Otherwise she goes to the Dade County Jail, which is tough, and she’s not tough,” Connolly said.

The hearing will focus on Florida’s claim that there was a crime and that Harrison probably committed it, said Robert “Bud” Ellis, a Cumberland County assistant district attorney.

“This is not an opportunity to prove the rightness or the wrongness of the Florida penal system,” Ellis said. “Maine is only the conduit. She is here and we are going to assist Florida to get her back to face charges.”

Harrison, formerly known as Lynn Smith, is charged with stabbing a man to death in a Miami Beach bar in 1976.

According court documents, witnesses said she began kicking and punching a man who she said walked into a bathroom she was using. She later plunged a knife into the abdomen of Elbert McKenzie, 41, when he reportedly tapped her on the shoulder, witnesses said.

She was free on bail but failed to appear for trial.

She’d been a fugitive until her application for federally subsidized housing in Brunswick this year led to her identification.



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