Press Release Prosecutorial Misconduct

PR: ADA Mary Kellett: Did the Punishment Fit the Offense?


For Unethical Maine Prosecutor, Did the Punishment Fit the Offense?

WASHINGTON / July 24, 2013 – Following announcement of the imposition of light sanctions on prosecutor Mary Kellett, the Center for Prosecutor Integrity is asking whether the punishment was sufficient, considering the severity of the offense.

Last week, Maine Supreme Court Justice Ellen Gorman announced that ADA Mary Kellett would have her license suspended for 30 days, but then stayed the suspension on the condition that Kellett complete six hours of continuing legal education.

Gorman’s decision followed the decision of a Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar panel which found Kellett had violated seven rules of professional conduct. Following an in-depth investigation, the three-member panel termed Kellett’s conduct in a sexual assault case to be “inexcusable” and recommended suspension of her license. The panel found Kellett had concealed exculpatory evidence and misled the jury in her closing arguments.

Kellett’s defense lawyers argued this was the first time Kellett has ever been charged with prosecutorial misconduct. But columnist Robert Franklin highlighted the existence of previous cases in which Kellett made charging decisions that lacked probable cause, according to media accounts. “This isn’t a slap on the wrist, it’s a caress with the softest of feathers,” Franklin charged.

The Center for Prosecutor Integrity notes federal and state lawmakers are increasingly concerned with the problems of over-criminalization and over-prosecution. At a June 14 hearing of the House Judiciary Committee Task Force on Over-Criminalization, the American Bar Association testified that serious problems in the criminal justice process “undermine basic tenets of fairness and equality as well as the public’s expectation of safety.”

Many believe prosecutor misconduct is inadequately addressed. Most cases of misconduct are never investigated. Of the instances that are investigated, most are not publicly reported. Of those that are reported, most are never considered by the state ethics oversight board. A 2010 analysis by the Northern California Innocence Project found the State Bar publicly disciplined only one percent of prosecutors who had been found by a court to have engaged in misconduct.

“ADA Mary Kellett intentionally flaunted her ethical and moral duty to be a minister of justice.” notes CPI spokesperson Sheryle Hutter. “And now she only has to take six hours of legal training? That doesn’t seem right.”

A Center for Prosecutor Integrity report reveals the four most common forms of prosecutor misconduct in sexual assault and domestic violence cases are charging without probable cause, engaging in selective prosecution, concealing evidence, and failing to enforce perjury statutes:

The Center for Prosecutor Integrity, a project of Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, is working to preserve the presumption of innocence, assure equal treatment under law, and bring an end to wrongful convictions:


Contact: Teri Stoddard
Telephone: 301-801-0608

Press Release Prosecutorial Misconduct Wrongful Convictions

PR: Excusing the Inexcusable: SAVE Deplores Plan to Give Free Pass to Crusading Prosecutor who Engaged in Unethical Practices for Six Years


Contact: Teri Stoddard

Excusing the Inexcusable: SAVE Deplores Plan to Give Free Pass to Crusading Prosecutor who Engaged in Unethical Practices for Six Years

WASHINGTON / July 17, 2013 – Seven months after a state ethics panel determined Hancock Co. prosecutor Mary Kellett engaged in “inexcusable” misconduct, Justice Ellen Gorman has announced a plan that would seemingly excuse Kellett’s unethical behavior. On Monday, Gorman announced she intends to shelve a 30-day suspension on assistant district attorney Mary Kellett. As a result, no sanctions will be placed on the prosecutor who engaged in unethical practices over a period of 6 years, resulting in the wrongful conviction of an innocent man.

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments – SAVE — deplores the impending decision as an affront to every citizen of Maine who believes the criminal justice system should be “just.”

The facts of the case reveal accuser Ligia Filler often changed her story to suit the circumstances. The woman was a known child-abuser with profound mental health problems, as revealed by a police recording:

In normal cases, Ligia Filler would have undergone extensive mental health counseling, and her accusations of marital rape quickly dismissed.

But Hancock Co. ADA Kellett was known to be an aggressive, even crusading prosecutor. In numerous cases, Kellett has been found to prosecute innocent men, even when media accounts revealed the sex was consensual or the accusation fabricated:

In her quest to convict defendant Vladek Filler, prosecutor Kellett withheld key pieces of evidence. This information would have revealed the accuser’s unstable emotional state, likely leading the jury to reach a “not guilty” verdict.

Eventually, Kellett got caught. On December 5, 2012 a 3-member ethics panel ruled Kellett violated seven Bar Rules. In unusually strong language, the panel described Kellett’s conduct as “unexcusable,” and recommended suspension of her license to practice law.

Vladek Filler was victimized numerous times, SAVE believes. First, by an abusive wife. Second, by a domestic violence agency that ignored his pleas for help. Third, by a false accusation of marital rape. And fourth, by a zealous prosecutor.

And if Justice Gorman follows through with her proposed plan, Filler will be victimized again, this time by a complacent Supreme Court judge.

“By imposing a 30-day suspension on Kellett and then suspending her own suspension, Justice Ellen Gorman has engaged in a form of legal double-talk,” notes SAVE spokesperson Sheryle Hutter. “Justice will not be served by allowing prosecutor Mary Kellett to continue her ideological crusade against innocent citizens of Maine.”

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to domestic violence and sexual assault:

Accusing U. CAMP Campus DED Sexual Assault Directive Innocence Press Release Sexual Assault Sexual Harassment

PR: Honor Independence Day by Demanding Govt. Bureaucrats Restore Freedom of Speech on College Campuses, SAVE Says

Contact: Teri Stoddard
Telephone: 301-801-0608

Honor Independence Day by Demanding Govt. Bureaucrats Restore Freedom of Speech on College Campuses, SAVE Says

WASHINGTON / July 1, 2013 – During the days leading up to our annual Independence Day festivities, the non-profit group SAVE is calling on Americans to demand the U.S. Department of Justice to restore freedom of speech on college campuses.

On May 9, 2013 the U.S. Department of Justice reached a Settlement Agreement with the University of Montana. The Agreement expands the definition of sexual harassment to encompass any unwelcome conduct, including speech, of a sexual nature. “Unwelcome” would now be judged by a student’s subjective feelings, not by an objective “reasonable person” standard.

The Agreement specifies that its broad new definitions and procedures are intended to be used as a “blueprint” by other colleges. The policy thus applies to all faculty members and the 21 million undergraduate and graduate students at all universities receiving federal funding, and represents a national campus speech code, SAVE believes.

The May 9 policy has triggered controversy and spirited protest. To date, over 100 editorials have been published opposing the federal mandate:

Elected officials have expressed reservations, as well. In a June 26 letter to the Department of Justice, Arizona senator John McCain charged the DOJ’s new policy threatens free speech and raises “great concerns about the security of constitutional rights.”

The McCain letter highlights examples how the DOJ directive could impair First Amendment rights: A student asking another student on a date; a professor assigning an English literature book that contains sexual allusions; or a student listening to music that contains content of a sexual nature overheard by others.

“Independence Day is about recalling and recommitting ourselves to the Founding Principles of our nation,” explains SAVE spokesperson Sheryle Hutter. “If Americans don’t speak out now in defense of freedom of speech on campus, then how will our freedoms be protected the next time a clueless government bureaucrat comes along?”

The May 9 policy comes on top of a controversial 2011 Dept. of Education mandate requiring colleges to use the weakest preponderance-of-evidence standard in handling allegations of sexual assault and curtail other due process protections. More information on the effort to restore free speech on college campuses can be seen here:  

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to domestic violence and sexual assault.