PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Teri Stoddard
Telephone: 301-801-0608
Email: tstoddard@saveservices.org

Prosecutorial Misconduct May be Widespread, SAVE Calls on Lawmakers to Act Now to End Abuse

WASHINGTON/ December 20 – Following a bar panel recommendation to suspend the license of Hancock County prosecutor Mary Kellett, SAVE has identified other instances of unethical and biased conduct by Maine prosecutors. SAVE, a legal reform organization, calls on lawmakers to act swiftly to restore the good name of the state’s criminal justice system.

On December 5, a three-member panel of the Board of Overseers of the Bar found Assistant District Attorney Kellett violated at least 7 Maine Bar Rules, and recommended she be sanctioned with a “period of suspension:” http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=mebar_overseers_discipline&id=464815&v=article

Now, SAVE has documented other instances of unethical and untruthful actions by Maine prosecutors:

1. Mary Kellett’s supervisor was aware of and approved her actions. In the words of the Bar panel, “Ms. Kellett’s supervisor, the then District Attorney, failed to comply with M. Bar R. 3.13(a)(3) by ratifying Ms. Kellett’s conduct.”

2. In 2010, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled that prosecutor Kellett acted “improperly” in a sexual assault case. Despite this finding, Maine Attorney General Janet Mills did not institute any remedial or oversight measures. According to the Bar panel, “Despite the Superior Court’s rulings and the Law Court’s decision regarding the unfair prejudice to the defendant, Ms. Kellett testified at the disciplinary hearing that she would not change that aspect of her rebuttal argument, if she were to do it again.”

3. Newly elected Portland prosecutor Stephanie Anderson sponsors a web page on domestic violence that makes this claim: “Domestic abuse is the single major cause of injury to women—more than automobile accidents, stranger rape and muggings”: http://www.cumberlandcounty.org/DA/dv.htm. This statement is directly refuted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars/nonfatal/quickpicks/females.html

“These cases reveal Maine’s prosecutors are operating with little regard for ethics, Supreme Court decisions, or even scientific fact,” notes SAVE spokesman Steve Blake. “Lawmakers and citizens must bring to an end to this bizarre and embarrassing situation.”

Earlier this month, Maine’s former top drug prosecutor James Cameron was arrested in New Mexico. Cameron had disappeared hours after an appeals court upheld his child pornography convictions: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2012/12/04/arrested-maine-prosecutor-due-court/QKRNvq8X3lr6v3BEbyd6KN/story.html

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a legal reform organization working to restore the presumption of innocence in the nation’s legal system: www.saveservices.org/innocence