Jul 30, 2015
In 2006, accusations of crimes by the AG’s prosecutors were publicly aired. They included concealing evidence, destroying evidence and using perjured police testimony in a murder trial.
The accusations were supported by official reports found in the AG’s “confidential file,” kept secret until the Legislature ordered the AG to make it available to the public under the state’s Freedom of Access Act (where anyone may read it today).
The AG handpicked three private lawyers to “investigate” those allegations.
Those handpicked lawyers issued an opinion that none of the accusations against the AG’s people “have any substantial merit.” Then they fought all the way to Maine’s Supreme Court to avoid having to show any evidence supporting that opinion, and won. Why did the AG ask that panel of private lawyers to investigate?
Because, the Court wrote, “Before creating the panel, the Attorney General’s office (AG Rowe and Deputy AG Linda Pistner, according to Pistner‘s affidavit) discussed whether there was any effective way to conduct an independent review within the state government of the alleged misconduct in the Dechaine case and eventually concluded there was not” (Maine Supreme Judicial Court Decision: 2008 ME 100, Docket: Cum-07-467).
It’s interesting that only one Maine prosecutor has ever been “penalized” for misconduct. She concealed evidence in a rape case. She was suspended, but her suspension was suspended on condition she receive training in professional ethics (Portland Press Herald, July 19, 2013, “Prosecutor suspended from practice for 30 days”).
James P. Moore Brunswick
Jim Moore’s 7/30/15 letter from the Coastal Journal