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Prosecutorial Misconduct in Maine Has Existed For Decades: Part 1

Prosecutorial Misconduct in Maine Has Existed For Decades: Part 1
October 22
13:13 2017

In 2013, Maine saw the very first prosecutor in Maine’s history to be sanctioned by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court when Assistant District Attorney Mary Kellett admitted to violating 7 ethical rules of the BAR in the prosecution of Vladek Filler. Though she was accused of more, the following list is what she was sanctioned for;

“1. Engaging in Conduct unworthy of an attorney.
2. Engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
3. Failing to employ reasonable skill and care.
4. Failing to make timely disclosure of the existence of evidence that tends to negate the guilt of the accused,
mitigate the degree of the offense or reduce the punishment.
5. Suppressing evidence that she had a legal obligation to produce.
6. Assisting the state to violate the Maine Rules of Criminal Procedure and the court’s order.
7. Employing means that were inconsistent with truth and seeking to mislead the jury.”

When Ms. Kellett was sanctioned, Justice Ellen Gorman stated that since this was Ms. Kellett’s first offense, and there weren’t other Bar Complaint’s filed against her, her license to practice law would only be suspended for 30 days. To add salt into Mr. Filler’s wound with such a light sanction for the blatant violation of his Civil Rights, Justice Gorman suspended the 30 day sanction as long as Ms. Kellett completed an additional 6 hours of Continuing Legal Education credits which are required for lawyers under Maine Bar Rule 12(a)(1). Interestingly enough, Justice Gorman had mentioned that if there were other violations by Ms. Kellett, that the Maine Supreme Judicial Court would need to reconsider whether Ms. Kellett should be allowed to continue to practice law.

The problem is that this wasn’t the first time Ms. Kellett violated the rules of the BAR. In fact, there had been ongoing issues with prosecutors from District Attorney Office 7 who clearly engaged in a culture of prosecutorial misconduct that appeared to target innocent men. Integrity4Maine is not sure whether this was motivated by political agenda, radical feminism, or merely for personal gain. But after a 2 year investigation of DA7 office between 2012 and 2014, where I personally spoke to close to 100 different victims of prosecutorial misconduct, there was clearly an agenda and a collusion with the local domestic violence organization in which a couple of the prosecutors had served on their board of directors. One would think that this would create a conflict of interest, but what it did do was create a conviction mill with an outside organization that was receiving Federal and State funding to advocate for domestic violence victims. It is my understanding that the funding is contingent upon how many people are actually helped by these organizations, so there is an incentive to label and convict people of domestic violence and rape.

                         Let’s look at a couple of Mary Kellett’s other victims that I investigated:

According to a Bangor Daily News article, Mary Kellett was prosecuting a case against a man who allegedly tried to assault his wife with a hammer. Ms. Kellett wanted to convict the man so badly that she fabricated a story that he had killed his first wife in order to illegally persuade the jury to find him guilty. Not only is this clearly a violation of the defendant’s civil rights and worthy of revoking Ms. Kellett’s license to practice law, but Ms. Kellett also committed “fraud upon the court,” a criminal offense.

“Fraud upon the court” has been defined by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to “embrace that species of fraud which does, or attempts to, defile the court itself, or is a fraud perpetrated by officers of the court so that the judicial machinery can not perform in the usual manner its impartial task of adjudging cases that are presented for adjudication.” Kenner v. C.I.R., 387 F.3d 689 (1968); 7 Moore’s Federal Practice, 2d ed., p. 512, ¶ 60.23. The 7th Circuit further stated “a decision produced by fraud upon the court is not in essence a decision at all, and never becomes final.”

According to the alleged victim, Michelle Sayasane, in an open letter she wrote to A Voice For Men, Mary Kellett threatened to call Child Protective Services and have her children taken away if she did not testify against her husband. Mary Kellett will stop at nothing to get a conviction, regardless of who is in her way.

In another case, Mary Kellett engaged in prosecutorial activism by trying to redefine the letter of the law to include putting your hands on someone’s waist as a “sexual touching.” Prosecutors are not legislators. They don’t write the law and trying to create a case precedent to change the language of current law is outside of a prosecutor’s purview.  The judge, Justice Ann Murray, disagreed with Ms. Kellett stating that the waist is not part of the buttocks, and dismissed the charge against him. Though the defendant was later acquitted of the other charges, Ms. Kellett deliberately ran this man through the mud and tried to destroy his reputation.

These are just two examples of Ms. Kellett, being Ms. Kellett. There are many more victims of her criminal conduct that I haven’t listed. But Ms. Kellett is not the only one. In Maine, prosecutorial misconduct is systemic and has affected many cases over the years.

After Ms. Kellett’s sanctioning, that District Attorney’s office was instructed to make changes to its policies regarding the handling of evidence. District Attorney Carletta Bassano, Mary Kellett’s boss, was supposed to implement the changes in order to protect the rights of defendant’s under the U.S. Constitution. Not only were defendant’s rights still not being protected, but DA Carletta Bassano was also engaging in further misconduct in order to maintain the status quo less than 6 months after Ms. Kellett’s historic sanctioning. This prompted Integrity4Maine to file a 41 page bar complaint against DA Bassano which was later found to have merit, resulting in Carletta Bassano and Assistant District Attorney William Entwisle being the 2nd and 3rd prosecutors to ever be disciplined by the State. Not only was Carletta Bassano not following her own policies and procedures, she was also not supervising and disciplining the staff under her command when they committed misconduct. The Maine Board of Overseers of the BAR also sanctioned Bassano for her blatant failure to supervise.

To be continued…..

(coming up…. the Clarence Cote case)

 

 

 

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Brian Danielson

Brian Danielson

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