On Friday, June 30, 2023, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court issued a memorandum of decision wherein it affirmed the decision of a single justice to deny attorney Seth T. Carey’s reinstatement due to the latter’s lack of acceptance of the findings and a failure to grasp the seriousness and wrongfulness of his misconduct.

The case is entitled “Seth T. Carey v. Board of Overseers of the Bar” with case no. 23-76.

On September 26, 2022, an order denying the petition for reinstatement of attorney Carey was issued by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Mr. Carey became the subject of three orders of suspension; One from 2016, 2018, and one from 2021. In November 2016, Justice Brennan issued a disciplinary order against attorney Mr. Carey, citing concerns raised by four jurists about his lack of core competence. Despite initially disputing the allegations as a conspiracy, Mr. Carey agreed to the order to continue his legal career. Justice Brennan found that Mr. Carey had violated rules and procedures in a worker’s compensation case, failed to comply with court orders regarding client records, and misused his IOLTA account. Consequently, Mr. Carey received a two-year suspension but with conditions, including seeking treatment from a licensed Maine psychiatrist.

In 2018, Justice Warren issued multiple orders regarding Mr. Carey’s misconduct. This included an immediate interim suspension based on findings of unlawful sexual touching/contact and domestic assault. Justice Warren later found that Mr. Carey violated professional conduct rules, court orders, attempted to tamper with a witness, and breached conditions from the 2016 disciplinary order. It was noted that Mr. Carey exhibited a personality disorder and features of ADI-LD, which partially explained but did not excuse his violations. In December 2018, Justice Warren suspended Mr. Carey from the Maine Bar for three years, imposing sanctions for various rule violations, and requiring him to address his personality disorder through treatment and medication.

Despite Mr. Carey testifying that he acknowledged the wrongdoing and severity of his actions, his testimony and behavior during the reinstatement proceedings contradicted his claims. While stating that he accepted and respected Justice Warren’s decision, Mr. Carey consistently denied the occurrence of unwanted sexual contact. Regarding the finding that he attempted to tamper with a witness, Mr. Carey tried to justify his conduct by arguing that offering money and a car to T.B. was an attempt to enable her to retract testimony given in a PFA (Protection From Abuse) hearing, a justification that was deemed unfounded.

The court stated then that while the absence of a specific admission to the criminal conduct in certain limited circumstances may not be determinative, Mr. Carey’s persistent focus on T.B., his failure or unwillingness to refrain from disputing the conduct established by Justice Warren, and his multiple excuses for various aspects of his behavior collectively suggest a lack of acceptance of the findings and a failure to grasp the seriousness and wrongfulness of the misconduct.

Furthermore, the court takes into account the factors pertaining to wrongfulness and seriousness discussed in the sections addressing mental disability and competency. Based on the available evidence, it was determined that Mr. Carey has not demonstrated, by clear and convincing evidence, his recognition of the seriousness and wrongfulness of the misconduct for which he stands accused.

The respondent’s reinstatement then was rejected by the single justice. In an attempt to reverse the order, Mr. Carey appealed the decision. In reviewing the decision directly, the court concluded that, contrary to Carey’scontentions, the single justice did not err or engaged in any abuse of discretion in denying Carey’s reinstatement petition.

The Memorandum of Decision states:

“For Respondent’s professional misconduct, the Court suspends Respondent from the practice of law for a period of 120 days, effective immediately, with 60 days actively served and the remainder stayed subject to completion of at least one year of probation with monitoring by the Indiana Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (JLAP). During his probation, Respondent shall continue receiving counseling as recommended by JLAP and shall comply with all other recommendations made by JLAP.”

Mr. Carey practices in Rumford, Maine. He is licensed in Maine. His info can be found on avvo.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.