Former Rumford lawyer and DA candidate seeks reinstatement of his law license

A former attorney and former district attorney candidate seeks to practice law again in Maine.

Seth Carey appears by videoconference on Tuesday before the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar Grievance Commission for the reinstatement of his law license. Christopher Williams screenshot from the video

Seth Carey, who was 43 when a judge suspended his license for three years in December 2018, has filed for reinstatement with the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar.

A three-person grievance board began holding hearings Tuesday via video conference after the board of supervisors opposed Carey’s reinstatement request, which he filed in December.

Carey, who has represented himself, on Tuesday called six witnesses to testify before the commission.

Associate Bar Counsel Alan P. Kelley represented the Board of Supervisors.

Carey, who has once again declared himself a candidate for district attorney in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties, faces an uphill battle in that lawsuit.

The Secretary of State’s office recently rejected Carey’s candidacy because his attorney’s license is suspended and he is not registered with a political party, so he cannot be in the June 14 primary ballot.

In his motion to the Board of Overseers, Carey wrote that he had met the conditions for reinstatement outlined by Maine Superior Court Judge Thomas Warren in his December 26, 2018 stay order.

Lawyers representing the Board of Bar Supervisors had argued for Carey’s disbarment for multiple bar violations, which were upheld by Warren.

Among the violations were sexual assaults, witness tampering and failure to comply with a previous interim suspension order.

Although Warren agreed that radiation would have been appropriate in this case, he added that Carey recognized that mental illness likely played a role in his behavior and that he needed medication and therapy to remedy. his debilitating condition.

Carey said on Tuesday that he had “fully complied or substantially complied” with Warren’s demands and that three years had passed since his suspension, allowing him to reapply to work again as a attorney.

He said he had been undergoing talk therapy and medication to address his mental health issues, as required by Warren’s prescription.

Carey said he has struggled to keep a job since his suspension and rented his Rumford home to earn money.

“The rocky bottom will teach you lessons the mountain tops will never teach you,” Carey said.

Kelley presented the commission with the history of Carey’s disciplinary sanctions that began just three years after he began practicing law in Maine in 2006, including five suspensions.

Kelley said Carey had to prove to the panel “by clear and convincing evidence” that the personality disorder disability “has been removed.”

He said the council “is of the opinion that, although Mr Carey has engaged in counseling, he has unfortunately failed to eradicate or successfully treat the disorder”.

Bar rules require Carey to “prove that he admits the wrongfulness and seriousness of the wrongdoing for which he was suspended.” Counsel believes the evidence will show very clearly that Mr. Carey continues to believe that Judge Warren erroneously concluded that he had criminally assaulted the complainant in this case. I think the evidence will show that Mr. Carey does not recognize the seriousness and wrongfulness of the misconduct for which he was suspended.

Kelley said Carey violated the terms of Warren’s order by engaging in professional misconduct during his suspension and failed to meet continuing legal education requirements.

Among Carey’s witnesses on Tuesday was attorney Susannah Sprague who said she and Carey had developed a friendship since representing opposing sides years ago in a family legal dispute. She said Carey appeared to be proficient in his law practice at the time.

“To me, you seem like more of an unusual mold than a messy person in your own right,” she said.

Sprague said Carey was an exceptionally passionate crusader for good and evil.

“You are a person with a very strong moral compass in that you react very strongly to what you perceive as justice and injustice, and your moral compass calls you to face it with force,” said she declared.

“I think, as I have watched you for the past three years and we have always maintained close contact as neighbors and friends, I think you have learned a lot of life experience through these procedures. I think you have learned that it is necessary to follow the rules, whether or not you think they are terribly important.

Although she thinks the rebels need to speak out, Carey had to learn to “keep it down,” she said.

Sprague said she believed Carey recognized the seriousness and wrongdoing of his misconduct, elements necessary for his reinstatement.

Benjamin Luna, who has been Carey’s friend since they were students at Vermont Law School, said he has worked as a prosecutor in cases involving defendants with personality disorders.

He testified that he never saw Carey engage in antisocial behavior.

Based on his experience, Luna said he believed that for someone diagnosed with a personality disorder who was in active therapy and followed clinical recommendations, it was possible for them to “stabilize” and “never repeat the same offence”.

Carey’s witnesses said he appeared to regret his actions and was remorseful about his behavior that led to his license being suspended, but on cross-examination explained that Carey’s regrets revolved around his decision to get involved in a relationship with a woman he was dating and who lived at his house who accused him of sexual assault.

In her reinstatement application, Carey called the sexual assault charges “false allegations” by a “false victim” despite Warren’s findings in her order that the abuse did in fact take place. Carey repeatedly attempted to present testimony from his witnesses challenging Warren’s findings that showed Carey had sexually abused his former girlfriend and tenant, but the panel chairman stopped him and ordered him to move on. to something else as the panel was relying on Warren’s order for this. information.

Luna said on Tuesday: “I remember him telling me that…all the interaction, the fling, the relationship, whatever he had with the woman was a mistake that he got in trouble. and that he regretted it.”

When asked in cross-examination if Carey had told Luna that he continued to maintain in his application for reinstatement that he had in no way abused the plaintiff, Luna replied, “Yes and I am aware of it. And I’m also aware, since you brought it up, that in domestic situations the facts are often distorted. And for Seth to continue to deny responsibility for that, I’m not surprised by that because a lot of what he’s been accused of, I think, is inaccurate and distorted.

Seth called his mother, Sally Carey, as a witness, who testified under cross-examination that her son did not admit the findings of sexual abuse in Warren’s order.

“He never admitted to assaulting her,” Sally Carey said.

Once the hearing is complete, the three-member panel will agree on a recommendation regarding Carey’s motion and file a report with the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine.

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