Judge to decide whether Hancock County prosecutor faces unprecedented suspension

Posted May 13, 2013, at 4:56 p.m.
Last modified May 14, 2013, at 6:15 a.m.
Hancock County Assistant District Attorney Mary Kellett (right) is accompanied by Hancock County District Attorney Carletta &quotDee" Bassano as she walks to the Penobscot Judicial Center for her prosecutorial misconduct hearing by the Maine Board of Overseers in 2012.  Kellett is accused of suppressing evidence that could have helped a former defendant.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Hancock County Assistant District Attorney Mary Kellett (right) is accompanied by Hancock County District Attorney Carletta "Dee" Bassano as she walks to the Penobscot Judicial Center for her prosecutorial misconduct hearing by the Maine Board of Overseers in 2012. Kellett is accused of suppressing evidence that could have helped a former defendant. Buy Photo

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A board that oversees the conduct of licensed attorneys in the state of Maine has filed a complaint about a Hancock County prosecutor with the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

The complaint, or information, from the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar reiterates the findings from last December by a grievance panel of the board that Hancock County Assistant District Attorney Mary Kellett violated multiple bar rules when prosecuting a Gouldsboro man in 2008 and 2009.

The panel recommended that Kellett be suspended — the first time board officials could recall such a recommendation against a prosecutor in Maine, according to Jacqueline Rogers, executive director of the board.

According to staff at the Law Court clerk’s office in Portland, Justice Ellen Gorman will review the complaint and make a final determination of whether Kellett violated rules of the Maine Bar when she prosecuted former Gouldsboro resident Vladek Filler in 2008 and 2009.

Kellett has until May 20 to file a response to the board’s complaint, which was filed in late April, staff at the Law Court clerk’s office indicated last week. A date for Gorman to hear oral arguments about Filler’s allegations against the prosecutor has not yet been set.

Kellett and her boss, Hancock County District Attorney Carletta “Dee” Bassano, repeatedly have declined to comment on Filler’s claims against the prosecutor.

The Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar held a grievance hearing last fall against Kellett after Filler, who had been charged with but eventually was acquitted of gross sexual assault, filed a complaint with the board over how Kellett had prosecuted his case. As a result of that hearing, a grievance panel of the board issued a report late last year indicating that it believed Kellett violated seven bar rules and should be suspended. The board has not recommended a specific length of time of suspension for Kellett.

Kellett is accused of violating rules of the Maine Bar with statements she made during her closing arguments at Filler’s first trial, in January 2009, and by withholding evidence and interfering with subpoenas issued by Filler’s defense attorney for that trial.

Filler argued, and the board’s grievance panel agreed, that Kellett made misleading and inappropriate statements about evidence and the burden of proof in her closing arguments to the jury.

The panel also agreed with Filler’s assertion that prior to the January 2009 trial, Kellett inadequately responded to requests from Filler’s defense attorney for documents and other investigative materials and that she improperly advised an Ellsworth police officer not to comply with a subpoena from Filler’s attorney, despite a 2008 court ruling that ordered Kellett to hand over the requested materials to the defense attorney.

Filler was found guilty at his first trial of raping his then-wife in December 2005 and April 2007 at the Gouldsboro home they shared but, after he was granted a re-trial, he was acquitted of charges that he had sexually assaulted her.

Filler has contended since the rape accusations first were made that his marriage was deteriorating and that his wife, from whom he is now divorced, had fabricated the allegations in order to win custody of their two sons. After his first trial, Filler was granted custody of their sons, who are both minors, in the couple’s subsequent divorce. The boys live with their father in suburban Atlanta.

At his second trial, prosecuted by First District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh instead of by Kellett, Filler was found guilty of misdemeanor assault and later was sentenced to serve 21 days in jail.

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