Andrew Robinson, the district attorney for Androscoggin, Oxford and Franklin counties, says the prosecutor’s office he oversees is a smoothly running operation where 14 lawyers deal fairly and effectively with 8,000 court cases a year.

Robinson said the assistants who handle criminal prosecutions “come in early, stay late and work weekends” to “ensure that they’re ready and prepared for the next court date” in a bid to make sure that victims, the public and those charged with offenses receive justice.

That’s not the way it looks to Seth Carey, the Republican candidate for district attorney running against Robinson.

Carey, whose license to practice law was suspended over domestic violence allegations last spring, called Robinson’s office the worst in the state, saying it often bungles cases and operates “like the Wild West” without any leadership or strategy.

“There’s not really a lot of accountability,” said Carey, who offered no specific examples of bungled cases or an out-of-control atmosphere in the prosecutor’s office.

Robinson said Thursday that Carey’s characterization of his office “confirms a suspicion that I have that he has no idea what we do.”

Voters on Nov. 6 will decide whether Robinson, a career prosecutor who took office in 2014 in an uncontested race, should be replaced by a GOP candidate who may not be allowed to take office because of his pending troubles, and whose own party has disowned him.

Though Carey has never worked as a prosecutor, he is convinced his wide-ranging legal practice has taught him what he needs to know to take on the position if voters entrust him with it.

“Criminal law is simple,” Carey said.

He said that if voters put their faith in him — as they did when he won a June primary — he will transform the District Attorney’s Office into one that treats everybody with respect and fights to bring justice for all.

Carey said he will also work as closely as possible with the Trump administration on any issues that come up related to illegal immigration — the reason some of his campaign signs tout the need to “Build. That. Wall.”

Robinson said his office has nothing to do with immigration issues. He said they simply never arise.

Carey also said that when he’s elected, he intends to work with Shawn Moody, the GOP’s gubernatorial contender, on welfare fraud — an issue that falls entirely within the purview of the attorney general, not the District Attorney’s Office.

Robinson said that if the state needs some help on welfare cases, his office sometimes lends a hand, but it has no jurisdiction unless asked.

Carey said the bottom line is that he would make sure his office provides justice for everyone no matter what their background. He said it’s crucial to respect everyone who comes through the door, no matter their race, religion or income.

“I am for real people,” Carey said. “I know what it’s like to be shunned because you’re different.”

Carey said he’s seen mistreatment of people “all the time” by the police who work with prosecutors and other authorities.

Robinson said his office endeavors to treat everybody with respect and to engage fairly with those facing charges.

He said his attorneys are scrupulous about sharing evidence with defendants and trying to get to the truth of the issues that come up in court.

Robinson pointed out that Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren ruled in September that Carey engaged in witness tampering in a bid to salvage his right to practice law.

“We certainly wouldn’t prosecute cases the way he (handles cases),” Robinson said.

Robinson said that if he’s re-elected to another four-year term, he plans to press ahead with a grant-funded program called Project Safe Neighborhoods to concentrate law enforcement on specific areas where it’s known that out-of-state drug dealers go and firearms violations occur.

He also plans to put together a new unit within his office to focus on cases involving human trafficking, domestic violence and sexual assault.

It would bring, he said, “a much greater level of attention and resources” to the issue to support victims and ensure successful prosecutions.

In addition, the prosecutor’s office is switching over to a new case management database so that it can file criminal-case paperwork with the courts electronically next year.

“It sounds boring, but it’s actually a massive endeavor” that will ultimately save taxpayers about $150,000 a year across the state, Robinson said, while improving the efficiency of the criminal justice system.

Carey did not have any specific plans or new programs for the District Attorney’s Office if elected. He acknowledged winning the race is not going to be easy.

“It’s an uphill battle,” he said, but he’s hoping voters will like his homemade signs and the footballs he throws into the stands at high school games and his unconventional approach.

“I have such a lust for life,” Carey said. “They’re never going to break me.”

Robinson, who has run a low-key campaign, said he hopes voters will recognize he is doing a good job and allow him to remain at the helm so he can continue to make improvements to a well-functioning office.

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Seth Carey, left, Republican candidate for district attorney, is running to unseat Democratic District Attorney Andrew Robinson (File photos)


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