Maine Bar Recommends Suspension for Assistant District Attorney Mary Kellett

By Robert Franklin, Esq.
December 12th, 2012

Mary Kellett

Mary Kellett

The Maine Board of Bar Overseers has recommended that Hancock County Assistant District Attorney Mary Kellett be suspended from the practice of law. Kellett’s case will now go before a single justice of the state Supreme Court who will decide whether to uphold the recommendation and if so, for how long Kellett’s suspension should last. Read about it here (MPBN, 12/10/12).

The decision on suspension came about because of Kellett’s behavior in the case of Vladek Filler whose wife accused him of raping her. The accusation came during Filler’s divorce and custody case. Even though Kellett managed to get a conviction of Filler in the first trial, the facts of the case were so obviously shaky that the family court gave him custody of his children. Due to Kellett’s violations of the rules of procedure, the rules of evidence and the State Bar’s rules of ethics for prosecutors, Filler’s conviction was overturned on appeal. After three years, he was finally convicted of pouring water on his wife, Ligia Filler.

In the mean time, Filler, who now lives in Georgia with his children, brought nine charges of misconduct against Kellett. The State Bar’s counsel recommended that Kellett be disciplined and now the Board of Overseers has agreed. That’s true despite the fact that Kellett has never been disciplined before. In most cases, suspension is a punishment meted out to an attorney with a history of infractions in which more lenient discipline, such as reprimand, has been ordered. That strongly suggests that, even though they weren’t part of the record regarding Filler’s complaints, the Board was aware of the many previous cases in which Kellett has abused the power of her office in an attempt to railroad men accused of sex crimes into prison even though there was insufficient evidence of guilt or even evidence of actual innocence.

Indeed, Stop Abusive and Violent Environments lists some nine separate cases in which Kellett ignored the ethical requirements of prosecutors in cases in which men were charged with sex crimes.

The simple fact is that, at least when it comes to allegations of sex crimes, Mary Kellett is a rogue prosecutor. At this far remove, her behavior looks tragically typical of a certain kind of person who’s been taught to believe that men are uniquely dangerous creatures, that women don’t lie about sexual assault and therefore that every allegation, regardless of how unbelievable, must be prosecuted with maximum vigor.

Even a casual reading of the ethical requirements for prosecutors shows that to be wrong, but it looks to have been Kellett’s MO anyway. Unlike all other attorneys, because they exercise the vast power of the state, prosecutors are ethically bound to carefully analyze cases and only pursue those allegations that are backed by probable cause to arrest and charge an individual. Other lawyers can take a shaky case to court and see if they can get a jury to rule for their client. Prosecutors may not do that, but Mary Kellett routinely ignored those ethical rules.

So, apparently, did her supervisor who did nothing to rein in her subordinate. I would argue that, once Kellett is disciplined, the District Attorney of Hancock County should be investigated for ethical violations and punished if any are found. My strong suspicion is that the attitudes displayed daily by Mary Kellett aren’t unique to her. If she had only attacked Vladek Filler, I’d say she acted alone, but her misdeeds go back many years and that can only happen when a supervisor either turns a blind eye or actively encourages unethical behavior. My guess is that Mary Kellett and her supervisor are birds of a feather. My further guess is that they share the belief in women’s innocence and men’s corruption and used the power of the District Attorney’s office to put that belief into practice.

Read more: Fathers and Families