A judge has dismissed a challenge to his earlier order that allows defendants in numerous local drug cases to inspect a state investigative report that makes reference to the officer involved in the investigations.

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm ruled May 3 that there was no provision in state law for findings of facts and conclusions of law to be filed in criminal cases. The attorney for Knox County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Kirk Guerrette had asked for such a findings and conclusions from Justice Hjelm in regard to his order last month.

Attorney Melissa Reynolds O’Dea on behalf of Guerrette had argued that the defendants in about 44 drug cases had no constitutional right to engage in a fishing expedition to impeach his credibility.

Hjelm ruled, however, that such a request is only allowed in civil cases.

Guerrette, a 21-year veteran with the sheriff’s office, had been assigned to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency for the past three years. He was brought back to the sheriff’s department in mid-December.

Guerrette is a potential witness in about 44 cases since he was a drug officer in those investigations.

Defense attorneys had argued at a March 7 hearing before Hjelm that their clients had the constitutional right to get information that could impeach Guerrette’s possible testimony.

The Maine Health Care Crime Task Force of the Maine Attorney General’s Office at that timeĀ also argued against release of the reports, saying it could harm a wide-ranging statewide investigation it is conducting.

Justice Hjelm also maintained that access to the reports is restricted to being done in the court clerk’s office in the presence of an attorney.