PORTLAND — A suspended Auburn lawyer and recent candidate for district attorney claims the judge who ordered his three-year suspension violated his constitutional rights and failed to consider the history of his accuser.

In December, Seth Carey’s right to practice law was suspended for three years. He is appealing that suspension. (Sun Journal file photo) Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Seth Carey, 44, also faults the judge with not allowing relevant evidence in his defense and for imposing a more severe sanction than comparable cases of attorney misconduct.

Carey, who owns a house in Rumford, filed a 53-page brief with the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in April, appealing his suspension and a judge’s ruling that he violated several Maine bar rules.

The seven-member court is expected to hear Carey’s appeal after a response is filed by the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar, which brought the complaint against him.

Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren issued an order in December barring Carey from practicing law in Maine for three years after finding Carey had committed bar violations that included sexual assault, witness tampering and failure to comply with a previous interim suspension. Carey’s license had been suspended twice before.

Carey made an unsuccessful bid in November for district attorney of Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties while his license was under interim suspension.


The Board of Overseers had argued that Carey be disbarred for his violations.

In his appeal to the state’s high court, Carey wrote that Warren placed him on temporary suspension last spring after a District Court judge had ruled in an “erroneous order” against him by issuing a protection-from-abuse order to his accuser. In August, Warren had presided over Carey’s three-day testimonial hearing that was aimed at determining whether he had violated bar rules. Warren later suspended him from practicing law for three years.

At the end of a four-hour District Court hearing in April 2018, his accuser was granted a protection from abuse order after a judge found by a preponderance of evidence that Carey had engaged in unlawful sexual touching and domestic violence assault.

In his Dec. 20 order, Warren wrote that “groping a female tenant on one occasion and pulling her head against his crotch on another occasion reflected adversely on Carey’s trustworthiness and fitness as a lawyer,” but, he argued, Carey’s conduct, while serious, didn’t not fall in the most serious range because it did not involve dishonesty or fraud and did not arise from a lawyer-client relationship.

Carey faulted Warren and the District Court judge for failing to allow testimony “from multiple witnesses, view the five other PFAs that the ‘victim’ had filed or had filed against her, look at her criminal record (and) over 50 calls to police.”

Carey referred to his accuser as a “fake victim” throughout the text of his appeal.


Carey cited cases of attorney misconduct where Maine lawyers had been convicted of crimes, but were not sanctioned as severely as he was. And he referred to two U.S. Supreme Court justices who were accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault who were confirmed by the U.S. Senate to that court.

He was never convicted criminally of sexual assault, he wrote.

Warren found in September that Carey had not complied with the terms of his 2016 suspension, including not completing mental health treatment. But Carey argued in his appellate brief that “there was complete, or almost complete compliance” with that earlier order.

Carey wrote that his run for district attorney last year while under temporary suspension was not “practicing law.” He had been admitted to the Maine bar in 2006, the only necessary requirement to run for that office, he wrote.

“Nowhere in Maine statute does it say that a candidate for district attorney must be admitted during his campaign or when he takes office,” he wrote in his appeal. “Furthermore, there is a strong argument that appellant could have performed the functions of DA even under suspension, as the duties of office are ministerial and administrative functions involving managing assistant DAs and office staff, setting public policies and directions for the prosecution of those alleged to have committed crimes in his district.”

In his Dec. 20 order, Justice Warren wrote that Carey had failed during his interim suspension starting in April 2018 to cease advertising himself as an attorney, including on the internet. Moreover, Carey “took various actions that amounted to representing or attempting to represent clients after his suspension,” the judge wrote, citing several examples.

Carey also continued to campaign for the Republican nomination and as the Republican nominee for district attorney by displaying lawn signs and airing video ads, including at least one that “expressly referred to him as Republican attorney Seth Thomas Carey,” Warren wrote in his sanctions order.

“Given that he was running for the nomination and election as district attorney, all of his campaign materials … implicitly represented that he was an attorney,” Warren wrote.

In his suspension order, Warren had written that he agreed disbarment would have been appropriate in Carey’s case. The judge added that Carey had acknowledged that mental illness likely played a role in his behavior and that he needed medication and therapy to address his debilitating condition. Among a list of 10 conditions included in the three-year suspension is that Carey must undergo treatment, including individual or group psychotherapy, and provide treatment records to bar counsel.

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