January 2, 2013

Alan Kelley retires as Somerset, Kennebec counties district attorney

Newly elected District Attorney Maeghan Maloney sworn in Tuesday

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA -- After 33 years on the job, the last 12 months as acting district attorney in Kennebec and Somerset counties, prosecutor Alan Kelley retired Monday from his state job.

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After 33 years on the job, the last 12 months as acting district attorney in Kennebec and Somerset counties, prosecutor Alan Kelley has retired from state employment. This photo of him was taken in last week of December.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

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Maeghan Maloney

Staff file photo by Joe Phelan

Additional Photos Below


* In 2012, nine attorneys left the Kennebec and Somerset district attorney's office: Evert Fowle, Alan Kelley, Brad Grant, David W. Jackson Jr., Paul Rucha, Neil McLean, James Mitchell Jr., Patricia K. Poulin and Steven Parker.

* Since late October, Tracy DeVol, Brent Davis and Alisa Ross have been joined by Francis Griffin, Joelle Pratt, Carie James, Andrei R. Maciag, and Kristin T. Murray-James.

* Maeghan Maloney has been sworn in as district attorney for the next two years, and Fernand LaRochelle and Kate Marshall will come on board shortly.

Maeghan Maloney, most recently a legislator from Augusta, was elected Nov. 6 to be district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties for the next two years and was sworn in Tuesday by Augusta City Councilor Patrick Paradis. A formal swearing-in ceremony with other Kennebec County officials is set for noon Friday in the county commissioners' office.

Maloney said she wanted to be sworn in as soon as possible to enable her to participate in a district attorneys' conference Friday morning.

"I need to get started right away," she said. "Most of the work I've been doing since the election has been recruitment and interviews and working on personnel issues. It enables us to hit the ground running with people in place, which was really important to me."

One of her first recruits is Fernand LaRochelle, who spent 30 years prosecuting homicides as an assistant attorney general in Maine.

"He has the highest courtroom skills," Maloney said. "I feel very fortunate he will be working here. He's a tremendous trial attorney."

Also, Kate Marshall, of Brunswick, who had been a student attorney with the Cumberland County District Attorney's Office, is joining the ranks in the Kennebec-Somerset district on Monday.

Collectively, Kennebec and Somerset counties make up prosecutorial District IV. In 2011 -- the last year for which full-year figures are available -- the district handled almost 8,000 criminal cases, 850 of which were probation violations.

The district attorney's office saw drastic changes in personnel in 2012. Nine of the 11 attorneys who started the year were gone by the end of it. However, it appears the prosecutor's office will be fully staffed by the end of Maloney's first week in office.

Kelley, 62, had been the go-to trial attorney for years in Kennebec County, taking on difficult cases involving the more serious crimes and specializing in prosecuting people charged with sexual abuse of children. He lost the Democratic nod for the office to Maloney this summer and had indicated he would be gone by year's end.

"I came to the conclusion it's time to go," he said. "What I regret most is the loss of the dedicated people that shared that passion for what we do. It's unfortunate."

In all, nine lawyers, including Kelley and former District Attorney Evert Fowle, who became a judge, left the office this year. They took with them a combined 145 years of experience.

Some attorneys remained, albeit in different roles, and Kelley hired several new prosecutors before leaving, consulting with Maloney so he could assure the newcomers they would keep their jobs when she took office.

A new job

Six long file boxes holding Kelley's personal papers from 33 years, a thick brown briefcase, and a few other items were stacked next to the door of his office, ready for removal. Just outside his windows, a pile-driver rhythmically pounded steel supports for a new courthouse.

Kelley is not moving far. After a month or so off, he'll begin work a couple of blocks up Winthrop Street as an assistant bar counsel at the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar, an independent agency that oversees "conduct of lawyers as officers of the court."

His job duties there, he said, will be similar to the decisions he's made for more than three decades: "Decide whether someone has done something wrong; decide whether we can prove it; and if we can, decide what should be done about it."

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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Alisa Ross

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

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Andrei Maciag

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

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Joelle Pratt

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

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