Ex-prosecutor Cameron, sentencing judge to face each other Tuesday for first time in nearly two years
PORTLAND, Maine — For the first time in nearly two years, James Cameron on Tuesday will face the judge who ordered him to spend 16 years behind bars for downloading child pornography, then refused to release Maine’s former top drug prosecutor while his appeal was pending.
Cameron, 50, of Rome is charged with criminal contempt of court for cutting his ankle bracelet and fleeing the state on Nov. 15, less than 12 hours after a three-judge panel of the federal appellate court in Boston upheld seven of his 13 convictions. A motion to revoke his bail was filed in federal court in Bangor the same day.
He was captured in Albuquerque, N.M., on Dec. 2. Two days later, a federal judge in New Mexico ordered that Cameron be returned to Maine.
Tuesday’s hearing, originally scheduled to be held Thursday, is expected to be short. Cameron last week waived his right to a bail hearing and agreed to be detained until his case is resolved. Cameron is scheduled to be informed of the new charge filed against him, but will not enter a plea, according to information on the federal court’s electronic case filing system.
Federal Public Defender David Beneman of Portland is expected at Tuesday’s hearing to be appointed to represent Cameron.
Cameron is being held at the Stafford County Jail in Dover, N.H. It is one of several jails the U.S. Marshals Service in Maine uses to board prisoners because there is no federal detention facility in Maine.
Information about when Maine marshals took Cameron into custody and when he entered the New Hampshire facility was not available late Monday.
U.S. District Judge John Woodcock on March 16 sentenced Cameron to 16 years in prison after finding him guilty on 13 of 16 child pornography counts following a jury-waived trial the previous August. Cameron immediately appealed his conviction and sentence and asked that he be released while the appeal was pending.
Woodcock refused to release Cameron, but the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overruled the judge. Cameron was released from a federal prison in Colorado in August 2011. He returned to Maine to live in a camp in Kennebec County.
The appellate court heard oral arguments in May 2012 and released its decision Nov. 14, 2012. The court refused Dec. 12 to reconsider Cameron’s appeal. The following week, the U.S. Justice Department notified that court it would not seek a rehearing of the case either, nor would it ask for a review of the decision by a full-judge panel.
Federal prosecutors have not said whether they will seek to retry Cameron on the six counts set aside by the appellate court in a 2-1 decision. A new trial has been tentatively set for Feb. 5, although it is unlikely either side would be ready to proceed that quickly.
Cameron’s first attorney, Peter Rodway of Portland, was replaced in March 2010 after Cameron declined a plea agreement, according to court documents. A trial was held 17 months later with Michael Cunniff of Portland acting as Cameron’s attorney.
If prosecutors decide not to seek a new trial, the next step would be for Woodcock to schedule a hearing to resentence Cameron on the remaining counts.