Lawyers in Maine are arguing police used “excessive friendliness” when interrogating a convicted child molester.
According to the Portland Press Herald, pedophile Andrew Seaman’s argument seemed to surprise Maine Supreme Court Associate Justice Joseph Jabar, who notes police more typically are accused of being too harsh in their questioning or of playing “good cop, bad cop.”
“Now we’re going to look at cases where they’re too nice?” the Herald reports Justice Jabar asked Seaman’s defense attorney Caitlin Ross Wahrer.
“I’m arguing this was a case of excessive friendliness — given all the factors,” she replied.
According to the Herald, the exchanges came Tuesday morning during oral arguments at the Capital Judicial Center in a case where Seamon, 50, argued that a trial judge should have suppressed statements he made to Augusta police Detective Tori Tracy.
The Herald reports detective Tracy interviewed Seamon in 2014 regarding allegations he sexually assaulted an 8-year-old boy.
Seamon was convicted Sept. 1, 2016, of unlawful sexual contact that occurred between May 31, 2012 and May 31, 2013, in Augusta. The same Kennebec County jury cleared him of one count of gross sexual assault and deadlocked on a second count, which resulted in a mistrial, according to the Herald.
Ross Wahrer, who was arguing on Seamon’s behalf, said the detective and Seamon had known each other for 20 years.
“I think she was being ‘the good cop,’ and I think she was being incredibly gentle,” Ross Wahrer said, as young victim’s mother sat in the back of the courtroom, in response to another question by Associate Justice Jeffrey Hjelm.
The Herald reports Associate Justice Ellen Gorman told Wahrer that Tracy “was simply a cop. There were no promises made to him at any time. The question is whether her actions induced his statements.”
Arguing defense attorney Wahrer said Seamon was particularly vulnerable at the time he spoke to Tracy because he was separated from his family, he had just been released from an intensive outpatient program, and he was facing foreclosure, according to the Herald.
“He was in dire straits that day,” Wahrer told the justices, arguing that using his statements in court was “fundamentally unfair.”
The prosecutor, reports the Herald, Assistant District Attorney Kristin Murray-James, argued that Seamon’s statements to Tracy were voluntary. Murray-James argued the conversation between Seamon and Tracy lasted 69 minutes and would have been shorter had Seamon not asked Tracy to stay longer.
Associate Justice Ellen Gorman noted there had been no psychological evidence presented to that effect, the Herald reports.
“No one testified on behalf of Mr. Seamon that he was, as you put it colloquially, a wreck,” Gorman said.
During the hearing the defense and the state agreed that when Seamon is released from prison, he must register as a lifetime offender under the state’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act of 1999, the one in effect when the offense occurred, which makes public less information about the offender than the 2013 law, according to the Herald.
Seamon is serving the initial six-years unsuspended portion of his sentence at the Maine State Prison in Warren. The remainder of the nine-year sentence was suspended while he spends 12 years on probation. He was not in attendance for the oral argument session on Tuesday, according to the Herald.
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