PORTLAND — Paris police Chief Michael Madden’s motion to overturn his driver’s license suspension was denied Monday morning during an administrative hearing before the Department of Motor Vehicles.

His license will be suspended for 150 days starting Wednesday.

In November, Madden was charged with operating under the influence and the automatic license suspension was stayed at his request pending the outcome of Monday’s hearing.

Madden, 50, who lives in Harrison, was pulled over in Naples shortly after midnight on Nov. 21, 2014, after he was driving erratically in his personal vehicle, police said.

He will appear in court in Portland on Tuesday for a pretrial conference with his Portland-based attorney, Matthew Nichols, and Cumberland County Assistant District Attorney Angela Cannon, who is prosecuting the case. The conference has been scheduled to see if the parties can work out a deal before Madden’s May 11 trial on the OUI charge begins.

At Monday’s license suspension hearing, Nichols represented Madden, who was not present. Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Andrew Feeney, the officer who stopped Madden in November, testified under oath at the hearing, answering questions posed by hearings examiner Robert Knight and Nichols.

Referring to Feeney’s report, Knight said Feeney observed Madden “operating on the yellow line at least two times and then one more time (and) crossing it two times.” He left his turn signal on for a half mile, Knight read. After Feeney pulled over Madden’s vehicle, Feeney detected a “strong odor of intoxicants,” Knight read from Feeney’s report. Madden’s “speech appeared to be slurred” and had been “difficult to understand,” Knight read. His eyes were “bloodshot and glassy.”

Madden had admitted to Feeney that he’d had a few drinks, Knight said. Feeney administered five field sobriety tests, including saying the alphabet, walking and turning, counting backward and standing on one leg.

Nichols asked Feeney whether he had quizzed Madden about any medical conditions he might have had and any medications he might have been taking. Nichols asked whether Feeney had taken any handwritten notes at the scene. If he had, Feeney said he would have destroyed them after completing his report. Asked to describe the line crossing, Feeney said the driver’s side tire of Madden’s vehicle twice was completely over the yellow line into the oncoming lane, leaving space between the tire and the line.

Feeney said Madden was “extremely cooperative” and “very respectful” during their encounter.

Nichols had filed a motion with the bureau, arguing that the proposed suspension should be lifted. He said Monday that Madden’s suspension was delayed to the point where it was no longer effective as a means of protecting the public, as state law intended, but would serve instead as a punitive measure, something only the courts are supposed to address.

“Obviously, in this case, we’re months overdue,” Nichols said.

Madden’s notice of suspension by the Secretary of State’s Office wasn’t mailed until March 15, Nichols said.

Feeney failed to file the required paperwork and sent it in after the Advertiser-Democrat made an inquiry about the paperwork’s status.

A suspension so late after the incident could put Madden’s job at risk, Nichols said. 

According to Sun Journal archives, a driver’s license is a job requirement for Madden. He has the option to apply for a special work license, which would allow him to drive to and from work and to any work-related event while the OUI charge is being adjudicated.

On Monday afternoon, asked whether the license suspension has any impact on Madden’s employment with the town, Town Manager Amy Bernard said, “It’s a personnel matter and once the decision is final and the appeal time frame has been exhausted, we will be releasing final disciplinary action on the case.” 

Madden has worked in law enforcement for 29 years and was hired as Paris police chief in October 2013, leaving his job as deputy chief in Shelton, Conn., a city of more than 39,000 people about an hour northeast of New York City.

He is a graduate of St. Joseph’s College in Standish, with a bachelor’s degree in communication and is a 2008 graduate of the FBI National Academy.


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