For the first time in the history of the State of Maine, prosecutors and their enablers are being forced to pay money to one of their victims. In this case, that victim is Vladek Filler although, the way Filler turned the tables on his tormenters, it’s hard to know who’s the victim.
I’ve written about Filler many times before. During his divorce and child custody suit, his wife Ligia leveled charges of rape against him. Her claims were false and plainly intended to wrest custody from him and marginalize Vladek in his children’s lives. The police were happy to assist Ligia in her lies, withholding exculpatory evidence, among other things. That brought to center stage ADA Mary Kellett who seems to have never heard a claim of sexual assault she didn’t believe. She took the case to trial and won a conviction until it was overturned due to her outrageous and unethical behavior. Undeterred, she brought a misdemeanor charge of assault against Filler for allegedly splashing water on his wife. Yes, she really did that.
Filler was again convicted and again had it overturned due to, once again, prosecutorial misconduct. Meanwhile, the family court, being less gullible than Kellett, the police and the criminal court, had recognized Ligia for what she was – a wife who’d stop at nothing to separate her kids from their dad – and handed sole custody to Vladek.
Now, at that point, about 99% of people in Filler’s shoes would have heaved a deep sigh of relief and gotten on with their lives. Not Filler. He went on the offensive. He charged Kellett before the Maine state bar association with numerous ethical violations. The bar agreed, finding she’d committed seven in her mistreatment of him. She’s still the only Maine prosecutor in memory (and maybe in history) to be sanctioned for her behavior on behalf of the state. Shortly thereafter, Kellett resigned from the District Attorney’s office.
But Filler wasn’t finished. He sued the police, Kellett and numerous others who’d conspired to deprive him of his civil rights. The latest news is that 17 of the 18 defendants have turned tail and run, offering to pay Filler and his lawyers if he’ll just leave them alone. The 18th defendant had a default judgment taken against her, apparently secure in the belief that she’s judgement-proof.
Remarkably, the defendants paid Filler and his lawyers despite his refusal to sign a confidentiality agreement. Those of course are standard in settlements of civil suits. But, in keeping with his pugnacious approach to everything that’s happened to him, Filler demanded that the world know what had happened.
This is the first time in Maine’s history that the DA’s office has had to pay for its denial of the civil rights of a person it falsely targeted as a criminal. With any luck, Filler’s successes will encourage others to pursue their rights, and ADA’s across the state to start behaving in accordance with the law and ethical precepts.
Vladek Filler is a stand-up guy. He’s done a huge service for the people of Maine. He’ shown that the state isn’t immune from suit and that it can’t run roughshod over We the People. For that, I say he’s a hero. Plus, he’s a heckuva good dad.