PORTLAND — A Rumford lawyer who was suspended earlier this year for several complaints of ethical and competency lapses was sanctioned again Tuesday by one of the state’s top judges.

Seth Carey was given a two-month suspension from practicing law. That suspension, starting Aug. 1, ran concurrently with a six-month suspension imposed by the same judge that started the end of March. Carey will remain under suspension until he seeks reinstatement and is OK’d by the Board of Overseers of the Bar to practice law again.

Carey, who spearheaded a failed referendum that would have paved the way for a casino in Oxford County, practiced law out of his father’s Rumford office after he was admitted to the bar in 2006.

In addition to the new sanction, Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice Andrew Mead ordered Carey on Tuesday to enter into a contract with the Maine Assistance Program for Lawyers and Judges. That program, which operates under the auspices of the Maine Office of Substance Abuse, offers protection to clients and the public from harm caused by impaired lawyers, according to the program’s Web site. It also helps lawyers start and complete recovery and educates lawyers and the public about the causes and remedies for impairments affecting members of the legal profession, the Web site says. Tuesday’s order doesn’t specify what category of impairment for which Carey would be treated.

The latest complaint lodged against Carey came from a woman who alleged he physically abused her German shepherd puppy at her home during an October visit last year. She said he was expressing his anger toward a prosecutor for the board who had been handling complaints brought by Maine lawyers and judges. Carey later refused to leave the woman’s home after being asked to. She described his behavior as “unhinged” and said she was wary about being in his presence.

In an agreement reached before Tuesday by Carey and prosecutors for the board, Carey also was ordered to have no contact with the woman and not have anyone seek to contact her on his behalf. Prosecutors for the board may file additional disciplinary complaints of professional misconduct alleged against Carey without preliminary hearing, the agreement states.

The woman who brought the complaint, Anne Corbin, was reportedly satisfied with
the agreement. She appeared in court Tuesday, but declined to speak.

“We
believe this is an appropriate resolution of the matter,” said J. Scott
Davis, who represented the board. “We believe this disposition is
entirely appropriate,” echoed defense attorney Gerald Petruccelli.

Justice Mead, assigned last year to rule over complaints against Carey, congratulated both sides in reaching the agreement out of court.

“The proposed disposition and order are right on the mark,” he said. “This is a very wise and appropriate resolution to these matters.”

Mead presided over hearings a year ago stemming from several complaints, most of them forwarded by the board’s Grievance Commission. A complaint brought by one of the judges questioned Carey’s competence to handle criminal matters in her courtroom. In the earlier suspension order, Mead ordered Carey to “demonstrate that he has undertaken further education in trial advocacy and professional ethics” before he can be reinstated. He also has to show that he has “obtained the services of an established trial attorney (not a relative or member of his father’s law firm) with a demonstrated expertise in trial and criminal defense advocacy to monitor and mentor him” for a year after his reinstatement.

Counsel for the Board of Overseers of the Bar, J. Scott Davis, left, and Gerald F. Petruccelli, Esq. speak prior to Tuesday morning’s hearing in the Maine Supreme Judicial Court room in Portland for Seth Carey alleging conduct unbecoming a member of the bar.

Maine Supreme Court Justice Andrew Mead presides over Monday’s hearing in Portland regarding Seth Carey for a complaint brought by a private person involving conduct unbecoming a member of the bar.


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