Editor’s note: This article is also available in Spanish.
They say the wheels of justice turn slowly. As in so many other cases, “they” are not particularly reliable informants. As we all know, very often the wheels of justice do not turn at all and when they do it is often to roll across the backs of innocent people. Particularly men.
Vladek Filler is such a man. In his case the “justice” system ran him down in the street, then backed up to leave tread marks on him again for good measure.
In his case, though, I am very happy to say that the justice system experienced a correction, even if just for a moment.
Vladek has been through an eight year nightmare, starting with an abusive, extremely volatile and disordered ex-wife who made a false allegation of rape in the process of a divorce. That allegation landed in the hands of a corrupt, ideological prosecutor who committed multiple violations of prosecutorial ethics and law to get a conviction.
When that conviction was overturned because of the prosecutorial misconduct, the same prosecutor’s office went after him again for an alleged assault. Vladek was convicted for allegedly tossing some water on his wife in a fight and was forced to serve 21 days in jail.
Just as he prevailed in getting the bogus rape conviction overturned, Filler was again exonerated in a post-conviction review on April 24. Represented by attorney Hunter Tzovarras, Vladek’s conviction was tossed out, a remarkable, exceedingly rare event at post-conviction review. Even more remarkably, his conviction was unhinged because the court accepted Tzovarras’ argument that Filler was again convicted because of prosecutorial misconduct.
The court essentially ruled that the same prosecutor’s office persecuting Vladek Filler all these years was still at it, and that his conviction and incarceration were the product of malfeasance from state functionaries. They also cited Brady violations in their ruling. The conviction has been completely vacated and the new Deputy District Attorney has dismissed the charge.
Now Vladek Filler is a free man, with no criminal record, just as he was before the Ellsworth, Maine prosecutor’s office went on an illegal and vicious campaign to ruin his life.
That office, as some of you may know, was voted out on their corrupt asses in the last election which is arguably the reason that the new DA did the right thing.
Mary Kellett, the prosecutor who drew first blood in this eight year war, is out of a job and now has the distinction of being the only prosecutor in the Maine to have had her license suspended by the State Supreme Court for prosecutorial misconduct.
For a man who lived nearly a decade of his life in turmoil, this ending is as good as it gets.
It must be said that there was some excellent legal work (and activism) done during the course of Vladek’s saga. I have it on very good authority that attorney Hunter Tzovarras did brilliant, tenacious work on Vladek’s behalf. I know enough to say that our readers in Maine might want to bookmark his website.
Other than Mr. Tzovarras, there have been many good people over the years who have stepped up to make what aid they could in this classic struggle of one man against a monster of a bad system. There is one person who stands out to me in particular:
I have had many, many people tell me that they could not take the stress of what I do. I even let those kudos go to my head every once in a while.
Unless I think about Vladek.
I have been watching his case for five, almost six years. I have tried to be as supportive as possible when I could, as many at AVFM have, but mostly I have just followed events to the best of my ability, which is mostly all the justice system allows me to do.
In following this case, though, I have been honored and awed to witness Vladek Filler carry weight and face pressures that would make me fold like a cheap suit. Whatever I or AVFM or attorneys or other activists have done to try to help further his cause, it was in the course of our jobs. We could all be as noisy and irritating to the legal system and the press as we wanted because we were shielded from any real consequences.
Vladek Filler stared straight down the barrel of a gun for eight years without blinking.
He never quit fighting, never cried uncle, never dropped it all just so he could get out from underneath the crushing weight of a justice system turned savage. He never made a deal, took a plea or kissed their rings in hopes they would call off the dogs. They came after him with everything.
He stood his ground like a lone, defiant Spartan warrior.
I don’t think I have ever known anyone so brave, or so honorable. Vladek Filler forced the wheels of justice in his case back on track and in doing so scored a victory for all of us.
This is a great moment for justice and a great moment for Vladek Filler. Let us hope that now he and his loved ones can move forward, savoring the peace and the fact that justice, at long last, has finally been done.