File Your “Valid” Complaint Today!
Step 3 Read this page and watch the videos. It should help you understand how and what to expect
Step 4 Take a look at some Example Bar complaint Forms. Write a draft to correct spelling & wording
Step 5 Fill out your Attorney Grievance Complaint Form and Mail it to the Board of Overseers of the Bar
A “valid” complaint is a public official that is;
If your complaint don’t include the above, it will be dismissed as frivolous.
illogical, fantastic or incoherent;
negated by common knowledge which the commissioner takes official notice of;
brought by a charging party acting in bad faith; or (e.g. don’t like the person)
substantially the same as a previous charge in which no probable cause was found and
involves the same charging party but a different respondent.
Valid complaint definitions are;
“Malfeasance” means the willful commission of an unlawful or wrongful act in the performance
of a public official’s duties which is outside the scope of the authority of the public official and
which infringes on the rights of any person or entity.
“Nonfeasance” means the willful failure to perform a specific act which is a required part of the
duties of the public official. In Maine, this is one of the most pervasive misdeeds by the District
Attorney’s it’s the Brady violation, or the failure to turn over favorable evidence to the
defendant. It’s the most common form of misconduct cited by courts in overturning
convictions. There’s very little to hold prosecutors to the Brady obligation except filing valid
complaints against them.
“Misfeasance” means the negligent performance of the duties of a public official or the
negligent failure to perform a specific act which is a required part of the duties of the public
Elected county official
“Elected county official” means any public official who is elected to countywide office or
appointed to an elective countywide office, including county attorney, county sheriff, county
auditor, county recorder, county treasurer, and soil and water conservation supervisor.
There are a number of ways for a prosecutor to commit misconduct. He could make
inappropriate comments to jurors, or coax witnesses into giving false or misleading testimony.
But one of the most pervasive misdeeds is the Brady violation, or the failure to turn over
favorable evidence to the defendant. It’s the most common form of misconduct cited by courts
in overturning convictions.
Timing of Filing Complaints
In Maine, they practice this misconduct so frequent they are almost sitting ducks. You must
seriously consider the timing of filing complaints against them. If you file a complaint with the
bar and make bail it’s not a good idea to live in there jurisdiction. Be prepared for full retaliation
from any court appointed attorney, district attorney or police once you have file complaints
All of them will lie or do what ever they have to, not to get disciplined by there licensing
The prosecutor in a criminal case shall:
(a) refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable
(b) make reasonable efforts to assure that the accused has been advised of the right to, and
the procedure for obtaining, counsel and has been given reasonable opportunity to obtain
(c) not seek to obtain from an unrepresented accused a waiver of important pretrial rights, such
as the right to a preliminary hearing;
(d) make timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence or information known to the
prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigates the offense, and, in
connection with sentencing, disclose to the defense and to the tribunal all unprivileged
mitigating information known to the prosecutor, except when the prosecutor is relieved of this
responsibility by a protective order of the tribunal;
(e) not subpoena a lawyer in a grand jury or other criminal proceeding to present evidence
about a past or present client unless the prosecutor reasonably believes:
(1) the information sought is not protected from disclosure by any applicable privilege;
(2) the evidence sought is essential to the successful completion of an ongoing investigation or
(3) there is no other feasible alternative to obtain the information;
(f) except for statements that are necessary to inform the public of the nature and extent of the
prosecutor’s action and that serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose, refrain from making
extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation
of the accused and exercise reasonable care to prevent investigators, law enforcement
personnel, employees or other persons assisting or associated with the prosecutor in a
criminal case from making an extrajudicial statement that the prosecutor would be prohibited
from making under Rule 3.6 or this Rule.
(g) When a prosecutor knows of new, credible and material evidence creating a reasonable
likelihood that a convicted defendant did not commit an offense of which the defendant was
convicted, the prosecutor shall:
(1) promptly disclose that evidence to an appropriate court or authority, and
(2) if the conviction was obtained in the prosecutor’s jurisdiction, (i) promptly disclose that
evidence to the defendant unless a court authorizes delay, and (ii) undertake further
investigation, or make reasonable efforts to cause an investigation, to determine whether the
defendant was convicted of an offense that the defendant did not commit. (h) When a
prosecutor knows of clear and convincing evidence establishing that a defendant in the
prosecutor’s jurisdiction was convicted of an offense that the defendant did not commit, the
prosecutor shall seek to remedy the conviction.
Most prosecutors adhere to the maxim that their primary task is to obtain just results, there are
some who violate their ethical responsibilities in order to rack up convictions.
The failure to punish prosecutors who engage in misconduct is not a recent phenomenon. To
the contrary, it has been well known for many decades, as illustrated in the surveys and articles
summarized below, prepared by those who have studied relevant cases and disciplinary
“All men deserve to go to
jail for something they
District Attorney Carlatta Bassano
Prosecutorial misconduct ordinarily comes into play in connection with the processing of
criminal cases. For example, a prosecutor may violate the ethical norms of his practice when
coordinating with police and agents who are questioning potential witnesses, examining crime
scenes, identifying suspects, collecting items of evidence, conducting grand jury hearings,
preparing indictments, dealing with defense lawyers handling pretrial motion practice,
providing “discovery” of evidence to the defense, negotiating guilty pleas, preparing for and
participating in bench and jury trials, conducting jury selection, making opening statements,
introducing prosecution evidence and witnesses, cross examining defense witnesses, drafting
jury instructions, and making closing arguments. Every step of this process presents the
potential for misconduct by prosecutors.
Andrea Nunn, Secretary of Hancock County District Attorneys Office.
Has the powers of police. She had criminal charges filed against her
neighbor for operating a vehicle without a license. She also demanded
jail time for her neighbor. Only police can legally file charges against a
person. But in Hancock County, the secretary can have criminal
complaints filed against a person.
Legal Services and Advice
The Board of Overseers of the Bar, Bar Counsel, and the Grievance Commission cannot provide legal services or advice. Bar Counsel represents the Board of Overseers, not the complainant or respondent.
All services and expenses of the Board of Overseers and Grievance Commission are provided without any financial cost to complainants.
In the absence of malice, a complainant is immune from civil liability based on the filing of a grievance complaint.
Rules and Steps to Follow in the Grievance Process
The Grievance Commission
The Grievance Commission consists of five geographically distributed panels each composed of two lawyers and one lay member. Bar Counsel (attorneys employed at the Board of Overseers of the Bar) investigate and, when directed by the Grievance Commission, prosecute complaints alleging misconduct.
What to Expect When Filing A Complaint
• Your complaint will be reviewed and promptly acknowledged by Bar Counsel like this guy…
• If Bar Counsel conclude the conduct alleged in the complaint could, if proven true, violate the
Maine Bar Rules or the Rules of Professional Conduct (Rules), the complaint will be
investigated and then reviewed by a panel of the Grievance Commission. This initial phase of
the disciplinary process usually takes 90 to 120 days. However, the complexity of the case, the
length of the investigation, and other legal proceedings may delay disposition of a grievance
complaint for many months.
• If a review panel finds probable cause of a lawyer’s violation of the Rules, another panel will
hold a hearing with testimony and other evidence and make a decision about whether the lawyer
did violate the Rules. Disciplinary action may be imposed on a lawyer found by a hearing panel
to have violated the Rules.
• You may be asked to provide Bar Counsel with information in addition to that in your original
complaint. If the matter proceeds to hearing, you may be called as a witness.
• You will be kept informed of the progress of the investigation and notified of the ultimate
disposition of the complaint.
• As a result of filing a grievance complaint against your lawyer on a current matter, your lawyer
will most likely withdraw from further representation of you.
What NOT to Expect When Filing A Complaint
• By investigating and/or prosecuting your complaint, Bar Counsel will not provide you with
legal advice or legal services. Therefore, to determine if you have a civil claim or other remedy
available, you should consider discussing it with your own private legal counsel.
• The grievance procedure will not result in your recovery of any money. If you have a fee
dispute with your lawyer, you may file a Petition for Fee Arbitration with the Board of
Overseers of the Bar.
• The grievance process will not affect or alter the outcome of private legal matters which have
occurred and have come to judgment. It is not an appeal process, nor will it result in a new trial.• The grievance process does not directly affect or take priority over any related court action. If you have sued your attorney, that action should be expected to stay on course. You should not await completion of the grievance process.
The grievance process starts with a written complaint made by a client, another lawyer, a judge, or a third party. The person making the complaint is the complainant. The lawyer involved is the
respondent. A complaint must be in writing and signed by the complainant and may be submitted on a complaint form. Complaints sent by email will not be accepted. If you are the complainant, you should provide a concise but detailed written summary of the nature of the complaint on the form provided. The complaint should be legibly printed or typewritten. Please include any documents you believe are relevant to your complaint. Bar Counsel may ask you to provide additional information. You should know that the Maine Bar Rules require that all the information you provide to Bar Counsel and the Board of Overseers must be shared with the respondent so that the respondent has an opportunity to answer the allegations. You should be aware that the grievance complaint process deals only with ethical violations by lawyers. Not all complaints about a lawyer involve violations of the Rules. When you are informed of the disposition of your complaint, you will be informed whether or not your complaint does involve a violation of the Rules. If it does not and you still wish to pursue it, you will have to obtain independent advice about the best method and/or forum to do that. Complaints about fees charged by your lawyer should be directed to the Fee Arbitration Commission at the office of the Board of Overseers of the Bar.
Bar Counsel review each signed and completed complaint to determine whether the conduct alleged, if proven true, could be a violation of the Rules. If the complaint does not allege conduct that would violate the Rules, Bar Counsel will issue a letter of dismissal to the complainant stating a brief reason for that dismissal. A copy of the letter of dismissal will be sent to the respondent. If such a dismissal occurs, the complainant has the right to request that Bar Counsel’s dismissal be reviewed. Reviews should be requested within 14 days of the notification of the dismissal. Reviews are done by a lay member of either the Board or the Grievance Commission. If the lay member approves the dismissal, the complainant and respondent will be informed, and the matter remains dismissed. If the lay member determines that the conduct alleged, if proven true, could be a violation of the Rules, the complaint will be returned to Bar Counsel for further investigation, and the complainant and the respondent will be notified. Bar Counsel will investigate all complaints that allege conduct that, if proven true, could be a violation of the Rules. Bar Counsel will send the respondent a copy of the complaint. The respondent must respond in writing to Bar Counsel. Bar Counsel may send a copy of the respondent’s answer to the complainant to allow for additional written comment or documentation from the complainant. Bar Counsel will submit any additional material from the complainant to the respondent for review.
The Review Panel
Once an investigation is complete, Bar Counsel will present the complaint, response, and other relevant information to a panel of the Grievance Commission that will act as a Review Panel. Bar Counsel will recommend to the Review Panel that the complaint be either: dismissed, dismissed with a warning, or referred for a hearing. Neither the complainant nor the respondent is present or participates at this review. Although the Review Panel is provided with Bar Counsel’s recommendation, the panel makes an independent decision after evaluating the complaint. Bar Counsel then notifies the complainant and respondent in writing of the Review Panel’s decision. If the decision is to dismiss or to dismiss with a warning to the respondent, the letter will briefly state the reasons for such action. If the decision is to refer the complaint for a hearing, that hearing will be open to the public. The Review Panel’s choices are described as follows:
• dismissal: no violation of the Rules occurred;
• dismissal with warning: a minor violation of the Rules occurred with little or no injury to the
client, the public, the legal system, or the legal profession, and there is little likelihood of
repetition by the respondent;
• referral for hearing: there was probable cause that the Rules was violated and a disciplinary
hearing open to the public should take place to determine if there was a violation.
Up to this point in the processing of a grievance complaint, all information about it is required to be kept confidential by the Board, the Grievance Commission, and Bar Counsel. In cases where a
disciplinary petition is filed and a hearing held, as described below, the petition, answer, and the
hearing will be open to the public.
Disciplinary Hearing and Decision
If the Review Panel refers the case to a disciplinary hearing open to the public, Bar Counsel will
prepare and file a document called a petition. The petitioner will be the Board of Overseers, not the complainant. The petition sets forth the facts of the case, alleges specific violation(s) of the Rules, and asks for an appropriate disposition. The petition is served on the respondent. The case is then assigned to a Hearing Panel (different from the Review Panel) of the Grievance Commission to hear evidence.
The complainant and the respondent will be notified in advance of the date of the hearing. The
complainant and respondent should be prepared to testify under oath at the hearing. Witnesses may be subpoenaed or legally compelled to appear and testify at the hearing. Disciplinary hearings are conducted in a manner very similar to a civil trial. All witnesses are sworn. Bar Counsel presents the Board’s case to a Hearing Panel with the respondent having the right to cross-examine all of the Board’s witnesses. The respondent then presents his or her case to the panel, and Bar Counsel cross-examines the respondent’s witnesses. After all the evidence is received by the panel, the public part of the hearing is concluded and the panel confidentially deliberates. Typically, the panel will issue a written decision two to four weeks after the hearing. Bar Counsel will then promptly notify the complainant and respondent of the Hearing Panel’s decision. These decisions are available to the public upon request and, if discipline is imposed, will be published by the Board on its web site upon becoming final. The Hearing Panel will make one of the following dispositions:
• Dismissal because no violation of the Rules occurred;
• Dismissal with a warning because a minor violation of the Rules occurred which appears not
likely to be repeated by the attorney;
• Public reprimand because a violation of the Rules occurred that was not minor;
• Finding of probable cause for the attorney’s suspension or disbarment from practice because a
violation of the Rules occurred that was serious; it may not be adequately sanctioned by a
reprimand and therefore should be presented in a new hearing before a justice of the Maine
Supreme Judicial Court.