June 24, 2019
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Kennebec County DA faces sanctions for meeting that led to overturn of 50-year sex crimes sentence

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney announces to the press in Augusta on Thursday that she is pressing misdemeanor charges against Waterville High School principal Don Reiter.

The district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties is facing possible sanctions from the organization that governs the conduct of lawyers licensed to practice in Maine.

If Maeghan Maloney is disciplined by the Board of Overseers of the Bar, she would be the second district attorney and the fourth prosecutor in Maine ever to be sanctioned.

Maloney is scheduled to appear May 20 in Lewiston District Court before a three-member panel. She is accused of violating the bar rules by having a conversation with a judge in June 2014 about a defendant her office was prosecuting without the defense attorney or the assistant district attorney who was handling the case present.

Last year, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court found that Maloney’s meeting with Superior Court Justice Donald Marden violated the due process rights of Eric Bard, 26, of Sidney. The court set aside Bard’s 50-year sentence for alleged sex crimes against a 4-year-old girl. The state’s high court ordered that new hearings be held on his competency along with motions to dismiss the charges and suppress evidence.

Bard’s case, now being prosecuted by the Maine attorney general’s office, still is pending. A gag order put in place by Marden, who recused himself from the case after the state supreme court’s ruling, still is in effect so no one can comment, Marc Malon, spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said Wednesday.

J. Scott Davis, bar counsel for the Board of Overseers of the Bar, filed a petition in October outlining Maloney’s alleged misconduct. He did not recommend what sanction should be imposed. Davis has since retired.

Current Bar Counsel Aria Eee said Wednesday that she could not comment on the pending case.

Maloney said Wednesday that she did not initiate the conversation. The judge did, she said.

“Five years ago, I was called to Justice Marden’s chambers with a court reporter and the clerk of the court, and I responded,” she said.

The district attorney first was elected in November 2012 to fill the unexpired term of Evert Fowle, who was appointed a District Court judge. She was re-elected to four-year terms in 2014 and 2018.

Maloney also said she is working to reach a settlement with the Board of Overseers and avoid the hearing.

“I am in discussions with bar counsel and I am optimistic that this matter will be resolved without the need for a contested hearing,” she said. “The final resolution of this matter will be public.”

In 2012, the Board of Overseers determined Mary Kellett, while working as an assistant district attorney in Hancock County, violated seven rules that govern the conduct of Maine attorneys.

She later was ordered to undergo remedial training. Kellett now is in private practice.

Kellett’s former boss, Dee Bassano, who was district attorney in Hancock and Washington counties from 2011 until 2014, when she retired, was issued a public reprimand in July 2015 for discovery violations in three separate criminal cases in 2013 and 2014. Assistant District Attorney William Entwisle also was issued a public reprimand at the same time for the same conduct.

 

Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly reported that Maloney would be the first district attorney and second prosecutor in Maine to be sanctioned. She would be the second district attorney and fourth prosecutor.


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