Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) has swung into action on behalf of Vladek Filler. Among other things, it’s filed a complaint with the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar seeking the disbarment of Filler’s prosecutor Mary N. Kellett. Here’s the complaint SAVE filed against Kellett.
I have no idea of the tendencies of the Maine Board, but I’d be surprised to see Kellett get disbarred. Here in Texas, attorneys have to establish a record over time of bad acts in order to lose their license. Either that or they have to do one really bad act. Maine may be different, but from where I stand Kellett will keep her license to practice law.
She may, however incur some form of discipline. That’s because the complaint cites several instances in which Kellett has withheld potentially exculpatory evidence from defense attorneys and their clients and prosecuted plainly innocent defendants. Those are clear violations of ethical rules and, done once or twice might not mean much to the state’s bar association, but done many times over many years may get her some form of discipline.
More importantly, it’ll bring her to the attention of the disciplinary apparatus of the bar. Once that happens, any future complaints will be taken more seriously with the threat of greater disciplinary actions to come. If she keeps it up, she’ll find herself in their crosshairs.
All that means that, whatever the outcome of SAVE’s complaint, Kellett will likely be a little more circumspect about complying with ethical rules. If that happens, it’ll be a win for all the men in her district.
Kellett looks very much like one of the true believers regarding women and sexual assault. Back in the 80s and 90s, there was a movement to “believe the woman” about all allegations of rape or sexual assault. That doing so would have built a conveyor belt leading directly from allegations to charges to conviction to prison with no inconvenient stops along the way for due process of law, presumption of innocence, evidence, defense, etc. bothered the faithful not a bit.
So Kellett’s promise on her website to “prosecute all cases,” fits squarely into a belief system that holds all rape claimants to be telling the truth and all rape defendants to be liars.
That’s the type of theoretical worldview that may get a pass in the ivied walls of academia, but should be squashed like a bug when real people, real rights and real freedoms are involved. The simple fact is that Kellett’s approach is at best a waste of time and the taxpayers’ money. By pursuing cases that have either no chance of winning, or every chance of imprisoning innocent men, she does violence to the most basic concepts of legal fairness and human decency.
In the Filler case, pretty much any prosecutor who wasn’t steeped in the religion that every rape claimant is telling the truth, would have dropped it like a hot rock. With a complaining witness who looked mentally unbalanced, a history of false allegations, a history of domestic violence against her kids and her husband, and no physical evidence to back up her allegations, it wouldn’t take a genius to drop the case and move on to prosecutions of the guilty.
But that’s not Kellett’s style. By withholding evidence and misrepresenting matters to the jury, she got a conviction of an almost-certainly innocent man, Vladek Filler. She also got a new trial for the defense. And it must be some measure of what the family and criminal courts think of Kellett’s case that he’s currently living in Georgia with full custody of his kids.
As I said, if the Filler case were the only one, we’d still be up in arms because of the blatancy of Kellett’s misconduct and the conviction of a probably innocent man. But the Filler case is far from the only one.
Although the focus of the current Complaint is the case of State of Maine v. Vladek Filler, there have been numerous prior cases stretching over several years in which Kellett appeared to ignore normal probable-cause and/or due process standards. In each of these cases, the defendant was found innocent on all charges.
According to media accounts, ADA Kellett:
1. Did not provide the jury with any physical evidence of assault;
2. Ignored “beyond a reasonable doubt’ evidentiary requirements;
3. Ignored important discrepancies in suspect identification procedures;
4. Discounted the possibility of consensual sexual relations;
5. Glossed over the accuser?s clear motive for making a false accusation;
6. Was not deterred by the fact that the alleged incident occurred 10 years prior to the filing of the case;
7. Allegedly breached standard witness interview procedures, then attempted to block release of the forensic tapes.
Those refer to eight different cases in which Kellett, according to news sources withheld evidence and brought cases to trial in which there were obvious defects in her ability to prove guilt.
Those included things like the complainant’s fabrication of the crime, the description of the perpetrator as “an old man in his 60s” when the defendant was 20, cases in which impartial witnesses contradicted the complainant’s claims and one in which the alleged incident had occurred 10 years previously during a custody dispute.
That history paints a pretty clear picture of an Assistant District Attorney who ignores the plain requirements of legal ethics as they apply to prosecutors. It’s a history of a prosecutor whose commitment to prosecuting all cases causes her to waste courts’ time and taxpayers’ money in an effort to convict and imprison plainly innocent men.
That’s the picture of a lawyer who needs to change her behavior or lose her license.