The attorney for the Board of Overseers of the Maine State Bar has recommended that Assistant District Attorney Mary N. Kellett be disciplined for her legal and ethical misconduct in her prosecution of Vladek Filler. On April 6, 2012, Bar Counsel J. Scott Davis recommended discipline for Kellett based on her violation of nine separate codes of conduct for Maine attorneys.
As readers of this blog will recall, Vladek Filler is the father who was accusedby his wife Ligia Filler, during the course of their custody battle, of sexual assault and child abuse. Despite the complete absence of evidence against him apart from his wife’s say-so, ADA Mary Kellett not only prosecuted Filler, but violated numerous ethical codes in doing so. She managed to get a conviction which was overturned by the trial court due to her prosecutorial misconduct.
Amazingly, despite having been convicted of sexual assault, the Maine family court gave Vladek custody of his two children before the conviction was overturned. It did so because it was clear to all – the police and the judge – that Vladek was a good and responsible father and that Ligia had severe mental/emotional problems.
I say it was “clear to all,” but that doesn’t include Kellett who prosecuted a clearly innocent man. At his retrial, Vladek was convicted of a single misdemeanor count of throwing water on his wife. That the Ellsworth, Maine district attorney’s office would pursue such a case through two separate trials plus appeals speaks volumes about (a) Mary Kellett’s anti-father bias and (b) the DA’s Office’s willingness to waste taxpayer funds for the sole purpose of covering up Kellett’s bias. After all, why else would the DA prosecute a man for allegedly tossing water on his wife?
Kellett’s conduct of her prosecution of Vladek Filler was truly egregious. Although prosecutors are required by law to turn over evidence to the defendant’s counsel, Kellett refused despite being requested to do so multiple times by Filler’s attorney, Daniel Pileggi. Worse, she told Pileggi to get the records himself from the various police agencies that had possession of them.
That’s clearly an ethical violation, but what I’d call a criminal one came next. Having told Pileggi to contact the police, she then told the police to refuse to comply with Pileggi’s subpoenas.
Eventually, Pileggi got the court to order her to produce the documents, audio and videotapes, but Kellett simply ignored the order.
At trial, Kellett engaged in multiple acts of prosecutorial misconduct mostly involving her argument to the jury that was based on “facts” she hadn’t put into evidence.
The 18-page findings of the Bar Counsel against Kellett are all about her attempt to railroad Vladek Filler into prison, deprive two children of their fine and loving father and place them in the hands of an unstable mother. The case was about Kellett’s using her office to promote the cause of a mother in a custody case.
But, as we’ve seen before, Kellett’s misbehavior is scarcely confined to the Filler case. Indeed, time and again in the past, appellate courts have overturned convictions of men when allegations of sexual misconduct have been levelled at them by Kellett. Put simply, Kellett seems to have a mission in life – putting men behind bars for sexual offenses whether they committed them or not. Her prosecutorial misconduct is well known.
Therefore, whoever else has experienced what Vladek Filler has at the hands of Mary N. Kellett, should now come forward and file a grievance with the Overseers of the Maine State Bar. She’s a loose cannon and needs to find another job.
Further, I’d like to know if Maine has a statute providing for appointment of an independent or special prosecutor. Some states do and Mary Kellett needs to be prosecuted for her apparently criminal behavior toward Vladek Filler. Specifically, instructing the police to withhold evidence from a defendant in a criminal case looks like a criminal act to me.
Obviously, the District Attorney of Ellsworth likely won’t prosecute one of his/her own lawyers, but, if there’s an independent prosecutor statute, someone else can. They can and should.
In the meantime, congratulations to J. Scott Davis for recommending that Mary N. Kellett be disciplined by the Overseers of the Bar. We’ll see how it turns out.