“Absolute immunity” typically allows prosecutors to escape liability in the event of malicious prosecutions. Even when prosecutorial misconduct is exposed, the punishment is usually far less severe than that experienced by the victim of the state’s wrongdoing – such as spending many years in prison. [See: PLN, Nov. 2014, p.1].
In 2007, former Hancock County, Maine assistant district attorney Mary N. Kellett prosecuted a defendant named Vladek Filler. During the proceedings, Kellett edited out video evidence in which Filler’s estranged wife admitted she had fabricated accusations of child molestation and spousal rape against her husband. Kellett also failed to turn over a recording of a 911 call made by his wife. Without that evidence being provided to his defense attorneys, Filler was convicted in 2009. The conviction was later vacated and he was retried and convicted of misdemeanor assault in 2011. He then filed a complaint against Kellett, who was sanctioned in 2013 for violating rules of the bar. Filler was exonerated of the misdemeanor charge in 2015 and is now suing Kellett in federal court.
On November 1, 2016, the Washington Examiner reported that the American Civil Liberties Union had filed a friend of the court brief on Filler’s behalf, arguing that Kellett broke the law by withholding exculpatory evidence in his case. Kellett has moved on to private practice and has not been charged with any crime, though she was ordered by the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar to undergo remediation training.
While the federal district court allowed Filler’s claims to proceed, Kellett has appealed to the First Circuit, arguing, predictably, that she is entitled to absolute immunity. The case remains pending. See: Filler v. Hancock County, U.S.D.C. (D. Me.), Case No. 1:15-cv-00048-JAW.
Sources: www.washingtonexaminer.com, www.bangordailynews.com
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Related legal case
Filler v. Hancock County
|Cite||U.S.D.C. (D. Me.), Case No. 1:15-cv-00048-JAW|