AUGUSTA — An Augusta man convicted of sexual assault against a child is arguing before Maine’s high court that statements he made to authorities shouldn’t have been allowed at trial, with his attorney saying a police officer displayed “excessive friendliness.”

The argument seemed to surprise Maine Supreme Court Associate Justice Joseph Jabar, who noted that 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?” Jabar asked defense attorney Caitlin Ross Wahrer.

“I’m arguing this was a case of excessive friendliness – given all the factors,” she replied.

The exchanges came Tuesday morning during oral arguments at the Capital Judicial Center in a case where Andrew Seamon, 50, argued that a trial judge should have suppressed statements he made to Augusta police Detective Tori Tracy.

Tracy interviewed him in early June 2014 about allegations Seamon sexually assaulted an 8-year-old boy.

Seamon was convicted Sept. 1, 2016, of unlawful sexual contact that occurred May 31, 2012-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.

As Ross Wahrer argued on behalf of Seamon, the boy’s mother watched from a bench at the rear of the courtroom.

Ross Wahrer 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 in response to another question by Associate Justice Jeffrey Hjelm.

Associate Justice Ellen Gorman told Ross 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.”

During the trial, jurors heard the audiotaped interview, including when Seamon tells Tracy, “I’m going to tell you right now I did nothing ethically or morally wrong with (the victim).”

Seamon is appealing both his conviction and his sentence as well as conditions he must fulfill under the state Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court issues decisions in writing after considering oral arguments and the briefs filed.

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 at the oral argument session on Tuesday.

Ross 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.

“He was in dire straits that day,” Ross Wahrer told the justices, arguing that using his statements was “fundamentally unfair.”

Associate Justice Ellen Gorman noted there had been no psychological evidence presented to that effect.

“No one testified on behalf of Mr. Seamon that he was, as you put it colloquially, a wreck,” Gorman said.

Ross Wahrer told her Seamon testified “that he was in pretty tough shape” and that he said so in the taped interview with Tracy.

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Kristin Murray-James, argued that Seamon’s statements to Tracy were voluntary. Murray-James said that the conversation between Seamon and Tracy lasted 69 minutes and would have been shorter had Seamon not asked Tracy to stay longer.

She said Tracy made Seamon no promises, no threats and there was no evidence of coercion.

“Mr. Seamon answered these questions calmly and appropriately,” she said. “The defendant did not confess; he answered questions.”

Chief Justice Leigh Saufley asked why there was such a long gap between the June 2014 indictment of Seamon on the sexual assault charges against a child and the trial in September 2016.

“Is this typical for this county?” she asked Murray-James.

“No,” Murray-James responded, telling her that Seamon had changed attorneys five or six times and they had to be brought up to speed on the case each time.

Seamon remained in jail in lieu of bail after his arrest on the indictment, and was sentenced Sept. 21, 2016, three weeks after his conviction.

Associate Justice Andrew Mead asked whether the sentencing judge – Justice Michaela Murphy – took into consideration that Seamon had been a victim of sexual abuse himself.

Murray-James said Murphy “didn’t articulate it” but that the information was in a sentencing memo the judge had read.

During the hearing both attorneys 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.