This Week’s Alert: Stop No-drop
SAVE has sent a letter to Maine’s Attorney General William J. Schneider calling on him to:
- Mandate the removal of no-drop prosecution policies in the State of Maine.
- Emphasize prosecutorial respect for the ethical requirement that “the prosecutor shall refrain from prosecuting a criminal charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause.”
- Remove misleading DV information from the Office of the Attorney General website.
You can see the SAVE letter here: http://www.saveservices.org/wp-content/uploads/SchneiderLtr4.10.2011.pdf
No-drop prosecution policies make a mockery of “innocent until proven guilty,” fill court dockets with trivial cases, and ultimately squander scarce prosecutorial resources.
The misrepresentation of domestic violence research on the Attorney General’s website may serve to bias prosecutorial decision-making, as well. This is probably what happened in the case of Vladek Filler. Even though credible testimony revealed Ligia Filler once punched her husband in the face, prosecutor Mary Kellett refused to charge the woman with assault.
SAVE is now calling on persons to contact Attorney General William J. Schneider with a message like this:
“No-drop prosecution policies make a mockery of the legal notion of “innocent until proven guilty.” Mandate the elimination of no-drop prosecution policies around the state, and update your website with accurate facts, which can be found at http://www.saveservices.org.”
Here’s where you can make your respectful complaint:
Attorney General William J. Schneider
Six State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
And while you’re at it, send a copy of your message to Gov. Paul LePage:
And sign the petition:
Michael Nifong and Maine: What’s the Connection?
During the early hours of March 14, 2006, a group of Duke University lacrosse players allegedly raped and sodomized a Black woman. Over the next 13 months, the sleepy town of Durham, North Carolina became witness to a succession of prosecutorial accusations, full-throated media warnings, and castration marches.
On April 12, 2007, the state Attorney General declared the three lacrosse players innocent of all charges. Two months later, prosecutor Michael Nifong was disbarred on grounds of engaging in fraud, dishonesty, and deceit.
Twelve days later and 800 miles away in rural Maine, Ligia Filler was found running on the road partially undressed, screaming she was going to kill her husband for abusing their children. These allegations were known to be false. But allegations that her husband Vladek had sexually assaulted her soon escalated into criminal charges against this innocent man.
Despite the lack of any physical evidence, Assistant District Attorney Mary Kellett filed seven indictments of assault. The case was tried January 12-15, 2009. Mr. Filler was found guilty on three charges and innocent on four charges.
The case was appealed to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. On September 9, 2010 the Court issued its decision, ordering a new trial and concluding that Keller had engaged in prosecutorial misconduct because she had “improperly encouraged the jury to use the absence of evidence regarding the marriage ending and a child custody dispute – evidence that had been excluded based on the State’s objection – as a reason to reject [defendant] Filler’s case.”
The new trial is now scheduled for May 23-26, 2011 in Ellsworth Superior Court. ADA Mary Kellett is expected to be a member of the team involved in the re-trying of the case, raising the specter of a worrisome continuation of prosecutorial abuses.