Editor’s note: the following is the complete statement given by Vladek Filler to “Justice” Ellen Gorman of the Maine Supreme Court on July 15, 2013. –DE
To: Honorable Justice Ellen Gorman
In 2007 my ex-wife and I were in the midst of separation and child custody dispute. She unexpectedly moved out taking my 1 year old son and called police to take my 10 year old son from me by force. When my son refused to go live with her and police allowed him to stay, my ex-wife began making numerous accusations and threats. My 17 year old step daughter called 911 to report her mother was acting crazy and waiting to use criminal complaints against me to regain custody of my 10 year old son. My ex-wife was later apprehended by deputies and involuntarily hospitalized after running on the road barefoot, partially undressed, with child, kicking and screaming that she was going to kill me and cut me in to pieces for abusing the children. The same day those allegations were proven false. Numerous exculpatory statements were recorded by authorities but just one day later my ex-wife was interviewed at the Hancock County DA office alleging spousal rape. She was recorded admitting that this was her fight for the children and of being encouraged to cry so her spousal rape allegations would seem real to police.
The DA’s office exploited a crisis situation and rushed to solely use my ex-wife’s accusations and ignored, suppressed, and withheld exculpatory evidence that was collected, preserved, and readily available to the prosecutor. I was arrested and charged and the newspapers were alerted to publicize the allegations and attorney Kellett’s statements about seeking an indictment. All this happened within a period of only 4 days.
No matter what the evidence showed; no matter what recorded admissions my wife made at the DA office and to law enforcement; no matter what revelations were discovered; no matter what the State crime lab reports said; no matter what I, the older children, or other witnesses reported to investigators—nothing stopped prosecutor Mary Kellett from forcing this case to go forward through abuse of her position of trust and power as a State prosecutor.
All I wanted to do in 2007 was to save my children from a child abuser, but instead I found myself fighting for my life and for my children’s lives against a dishonest prosecutor who flagrantly abused my fundamental constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial.
After the first 2 years my attorney withdrew on financial grounds after exhausting all my family’s resources trying to fight attorney Kellett’s misconduct and violations. Repeatedly my attorney Daniel Pileggi made specific discovery requests, issued subpoenas, and filed motions citing attorney Kellett’s non compliance and prosecutorial misconduct. He wrote a letter to attorney Kellett stating “I have been advised by Chad Wilmot of the Ellsworth Police Department that you advised him not to comply with my subpoena in the referenced matter.” Attorney Pileggi cited criminal and ethical violations for tampering with witnesses and their compliance with valid subpoenas. Before a Bar Panel, attorney Pileggi testified to Ms. Kellett’s misconduct, suppression of evidence, misrepresentation of facts, and non production of vital court Ordered reports, recordings, and video tapes. One available and Court Ordered video tape was denied to defense by Mary Kellett and then destroyed without production. To the trial Court, attorney Pileggi wrote that prosecutor Kellett’s “violations, individually and collectively, are so pervasive and significant as to have violated [Mr. Filler’s] constitutional rights…Mr. Filler was denied due process.” Pileggi further wrote that “The Law Court has held that prosecutors are held to a higher than normal standard, both because they represent the State of Maine, and because their obligation is to secure justice and not merely a conviction. Application of that standard here demonstrates the severe violation of Mr. Filler’s rights”.
“Severe violations” of Constitution rights is how attorney Daniel Pileggi characterized prosecutor Mary Kellett’s misconduct. The trial court agreed finding attorney Kellett’s misconduct repeatedly violated the trial Court’s ruling.
My court appointed appellate attorney Neil Fishman, who has handled well over 100 high court criminal appeals in Maine, Massachusetts, and New York wrote the following to the Law Court about prosecutor Kellett’s misconduct “the prosecution [of Mr. Filler] was something akin to a Salem witch trial…the State [prosecutor] deprived defendant of his due process rights to a fair trial.” That aside from the April 6, 2007 spousal sexual assault claim, which District Court said failed to even meeting the more likely than not standard, that “all the other gross-sexual-assault charges were clearly unprovable…according to [accuser’s] own testimony it is clear that the State [prosecutor] brought these charges for no other reason than to assassinate defendant’s character…A fair trial was quite simply not to be had in such an inflamed environment. U.S. Const., Amend. V; U.S. Const., Amend. XIV. Turning to the prosecutor’s closing argument, it is so replete with misconduct, that appellate counsel urges this Court to read through it – and the prosecutor’s argument in rebuttal – in its entirety.”
After oral arguments before the Law Court, attorney Fishman wrote a 3 page letter to the Law Court citing profound misrepresentations prosecutor Mary Kellett made even to the Law Court at oral arguments concerning the trial record’s ruling and her own conduct.
My Bar complaint documented evidence of intentional suppression of truth and evidence by attorney Kellett, instructions to law enforcement not to comply with defense subpoenas for what was exculpatory evidence, and misrepresentation of vital facts to Judges, a jury, and the Law Court. Throughout the Bar Counsel’s investigation of my complaint and even during the Disciplinary Hearing attorney Kellett continued to misrepresent profound facts in the case.
A seasoned criminal and domestic violence prosecutor, George “Toby” Dilworth testified before the Bar Panel as an expert witness after reviewing the trial record and the Bar Complaint evidence. His investigation found numerous serious violations by prosecutor Kellett both at trial and pre-trial ranging from nonproduction of exculpatory evidence, to burden shifting, citing facts not in evidence and exploiting exclusion of evidence.
He testified that attorney Kellett understood what was important to defense, had a Constitutional obligation to turn it over, but did not turn over “critical” and “needed” evidence of accuser’s “exculpatory” statements and recordings to defense even after Judge Anderson specifically Ordered her to do so. Attorney Dilworth told the Panel prosecutor Kellett was “Rule 16 non compliant…[and acted to] Intentionally violate a rule of court…[and of] advising someone at [her] diretion not to comply.’’ Attorney Dilworth as an expert testified that attorney Kellett not only violated her Constitutional obligations but “intentionally” violated a rule of the court and advised others to engage in violations of the law.
The 3 member Disciplinary Panel chaired by the current Penobscot County Judge M. Ray Bradford substantiated evidence of serious and willful violation of at least 7 bar rules. The Panel’s decision specifically cites attorney Kellett’s non production of “at least two key pieces of exculpatory evidence” which were repeatedly requested in writing by defense, Court Ordered, and were “critical” and “exculpatory” in a case where my freedom was at stake. The “seriousness” of attorney Kellett’s violations, the Panel wrote, “cannot be overstated”. Attorney Kellett told the panel she would do nothing differently in the future and that she had a philosophical disagreement with the Trial Court’s rulings and the Law Court’s decision regarding her misconduct. The Panel concluded that “it appear likely that Ms. Kellett would repeat this unfairly prejudicial conduct.”
Despite all the evidence and findings substantiating attorney Kellett’s misconduct she continues to maintain her actions were neither willful nor were violations of my constitutional rights.
The Bar Counsel, in the complaint filed with this Court, repeatedly refers to attorney Kellett’s misconduct as “inexcusable.”
I am respectfully pleading with this Court to hold attorney Kellett fully responsible for her willful and “inexcusable” misconduct and violation of my constitutional rights. I am pleading with this Court to hold prosecutor Kellett to the required higher legal and ethical standards which all prosecutors in Maine are required to abide by.
The Bar Panel’s findings and recommendation warrants this Court’s use of its authority and knowledge of the criminal rules of conduct to take further needed measures to remove attorney Kellett’s license to practice law.
Attorney Kellett was fully aware of Bar Rule 3.83 which requires much higher responsibility and obligations from prosecutors due to their special roles, power, and privileges. Attorney Kellett intentionally engaged in misconduct undermining the administration of justice and my constitutional rights. She must be held to the required higher standards to protect the public and the justice system. Absent disbarment for her “inexcusable” and prolific misconduct, the standards for all prosecutor’s in Maine will effectively be lowered and a detrimental message will be sent throughout the legal and law enforcement community in Maine which will affect countless lives.
I have been fighting for 6 years and have risked my freedom and that of my children so attorney Kellett is held fully accountable and so many others are not subjected to such abuse and irreparable harm to their lives as my family and I have. The laws and standards of conduct need to be upheld and enforced in this case by way of attorney Kellett’s disbarment. The Court must not allow unjust abuse and human suffering to be valued below any attorney’s responsibility or license to continue practicing law. Several witnesses risked their careers to testify against Mary Kellett at the disciplinary hearing. The Disciplinary Panel’s decision is unprecedented and was not made lightly. Attorney Kellett’s misconduct has touched many lives. 1566 people have signed an advocacy group’s petition for her disbarment with the hopes that she is held fully accountable for her violation of our system of justice and our values and beliefs.
Attorney’s are routinely disbarred for mere financial misconduct, but no professional misconduct is more egregious than an attorney who resorts to violations, deception and suppression of exculpatory evidence to send an innocent human being to prison and flagrantly justify it with personal philosophical disagreement with the rules.
The Bar Panel found that prosecutor Kellett engaged in conduct unworthy of an attorney.
The best interests of justice in this case require attorney Mary Kellett’s disbarment until such time This Court may find it appropriate to reinstate her license to practice law.
I am pleading with this Court for justice. My life, my irreparable suffering, and that of my 2 children over the past 6 years must mean more in our society than one abusive attorney’s license.
I thank Your Honor and submit this statement, a copy of my 3 part Bar Complaint, and a petition signed by 1566 individuals.
–Vladek Filler’s statement before the Maine Board of Overseers, July 15, 2013