June 23, 2018
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Federal judge in New Mexico orders James Cameron held without bail

U.S. Marshals Service | BDN
U.S. Marshals Service | BDN
James Cameron
By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — A federal judge in New Mexico ordered Monday that Maine’s former top drug prosecutor be held without bail pending a detention hearing set for Tuesday morning in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque.

James M. Cameron, 50, of Rome made his first court appearance Monday before United States Magistrate Judge Robert Hayes Scott after being captured about 11:15 a.m. Sunday MST in Albuquerque, according to U.S. Marshal for Maine Noel March.

Cameron was convicted of downloading child pornography and had been the subject of a nationwide manhunt after jumping bail Nov. 15, less than 12 hours after learning seven of his 13 convictions had been upheld and he most likely would be returning to federal prison to complete his 16-year sentence.

Also on Monday, Scott appointed Federal Public Defender Stephen P. McCue to represent Cameron at Tuesday’s hearing in New Mexico, according to documents available through the federal court system’s electronic case filing system.

Efforts to reach McCue late Monday were unsuccessful.

After proceedings are completed at federal court in Albuquerque, it is expected that Cameron will be transported back to Maine by the U.S. Marshals Service.

“Once in Maine, Cameron will be scheduled to appear before Chief Judge John A. Woodcock Jr., who can revoke the bail order if he finds probable cause to believe that Cameron violated a condition of his release,” Assistant U.S. Attorney for Maine Donald E. Clark said in a press release Monday.

Cameron was arrested after surrendering without incident after exiting the restroom of a Hastings Entertainment, located at 6064 Coors Blvd. N.W., according to a press release issued Sunday by the U.S. Marshals Service. The store sells books, DVDs, video games and electronics, according to its website.

“U.S. Marshals in Maine developed information that Cameron was in New Mexico and contacted marshals there,” the press release said. “Deputies in New Mexico conducted surveillance and shortly after apprehended Cameron.”

Details about what led to Cameron’s arrest were not released Monday.

Clark said in a telephone interview Monday afternoon that he did not expect information about Cameron’s flight and capture to be made public soon. Details most likely will not be disclosed until and unless they are outlined by a federal judge during a proceeding, such as Cameron’s sentencing, the prosecutor said.

Although Cameron is charged without violation of condition of release, Clark declined Monday to say whether the U.S. Attorney’s Office would present that charge to a federal grand jury in Maine.

Former U.S. Attorney Jay McCloskey, who is now in private practice in Portland, said Monday that it is more likely that Cameron’s flight would be considered an aggravating factor when he is resentenced on the child pornography charges. Jumping bail is considered “obstruction of justice” under the federal sentencing guidelines, he said.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ordered Nov. 14 that Cameron be resentenced after it dismissed six of his convictions.

Cameron’s original guideline range was nearly 22 to 27 years in prison. If his flight is added to that, his guideline range would be between 27 and nearly 34 years in prison.

In sentencing Cameron, Woodcock went below the guideline range.

It has not been determined how the dismissed counts would affect Cameron’s sentencing guideline range, the U.S. attorney’s office said last week.

Cameron is being held at the Sandoval County Detention Center in Rio Rancho, N.M., according to information released Sunday.

When he was arrested, Cameron still was driving the tan 1999 Audi he was last seen driving in Maine, March said in a telephone interview. Information about how much cash Cameron had in his possession when he was arrested or where the money used to finance his trip west came from was not immediately available.

Under the conditions of his release, Cameron had surrendered his passport. He appeared to have a limited income from a watch importing business he shared with his brother and ex-wife. U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk determined in March 2010 that Cameron’s income was limited enough to qualify him for a court-appointed attorney.

The magistrate judge in Albuquerque made the same determination Monday.

Cameron’s whereabouts had been the subject of speculation after he cut off his ankle bracelet monitor and jumped bail in the early morning hours of Nov. 15, less than 12 hours after a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in Boston upheld seven of his 13 convictions for possessing and downloading child pornography.

A warrant was issued for his arrest on violation of conditions of release the same day, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

Before disappearing, Cameron visited his ex-wife and son in Hallowell. On Nov. 15, she told Bryce Turgeon, the probation officer who supervised Cameron, that her ex-husband was “not doing well” and had told their son he would be returning to prison, the declaration filed with the motion to revoke Cameron’s bail said.

U.S. Probation and Pre-trial Services had no previous problems with Cameron’s compliance with his location monitoring, according to court documents. Cameron showed up for all his court appearances and reported as directed to supervising probation officers, according to court documents.

On March 10, 2011, Woodcock sentenced Cameron to 16 years in federal prison after finding him guilty the previous August following a jury-waived trial. Cameron had been held without bail since being convicted.

Woodcock denied several motions asking that Cameron be released on bail pending the outcome of his appeal. On Aug. 9, 2011, the appellate court overruled Woodcock and ordered Cameron released from the federal prison in Littleton, Colo.

Cameron had been free on bail since his release with the condition that he wear an ankle bracelet until his flight Nov. 15.

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