Contact: Teri Stoddard
Ethics Board Issues Rebuke of Hancock Co. Prosecutor Mary Kellett
WASHINGTON / May 7, 2013 – A state ethics board has issued a report concluding Hancock County prosecutor Mary N. Kellett engaged in multiple counts of prosecutorial misconduct arising from a 2009 assault trial. The ethical violations include ignoring a court order, misleading members of a jury, evidence suppression, and indulging in “conduct unworthy of an attorney.”
The Board of Overseers of the Bar report petitions the Maine Supreme Judicial Board to impose “appropriate disciplinary sanction” on assistant district attorney Kellett.
The Board report, issued April 24, 2013, documents how Kellett engaged in a series of maneuvers designed to withhold exculpatory documents that would have demonstrated the innocence of Vladek Filler, charged in 2007 on five counts of spousal sexual assault.
Filler’s defense attorney, Daniel Pileggi, had asked for copies of 911 logs, audiotapes, and other police reports — requests that were repeatedly ignored by prosecutor Kellett. As a result, Pileggi was unable to fully cross-examine the accuser during a 2009 trial held in Bangor.
Only later was it learned that one of the police reports revealed that accuser Ligia Filler had “chanted about ‘cutting up’ the defendant while laughing and crying hysterically, swearing, and kicking a door.” A separate police recording of the woman making loud threats is available online (1).
In unusually strong language, the Bar report describes prosecutor Kellett’s refusal to comply with a 2008 court order to release key documents as “inexcusable.” In failing to provide exculpatory materials to the defendant, Kellett fell short in meeting her “constitutional and ethical obligations,” the report declares in ringing tones.
The report also details how Kellett made “extremely prejudicial and improper arguments” to the jury. These statements may have served to remove the presumption of innocence from the accused, leading to the wrongful conviction of Vladek Filler for gross sexual assault in 2009.
“Citizens of Maine should be alarmed that a rogue Hancock County prosecutor has been allowed to disregard the most basic notions of fairness and due process,” notes SAVE spokesman Howard Goldman. “We can only wonder how many other reputations and lives have been harmed by the zealotry of prosecutor Mary Kellett.”
SAVE filed a 9-page ethics complaint in 2011 with the Board of Overseers of the Bar alleging numerous instances of prosecutor misconduct by Kellett (2). SAVE now calls on Hancock County district attorney Carletta Bassano to suspend Kellett from all prosecutorial duties pending final resolution of the case.
Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to domestic violence and sexual assault: www.saveservices.org