Robert M.A. Nadeau

Robert M.A. Nadeau

PORTLAND —The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has suspended former York County Judge of Probate Robert M.A. Nadeau from practicing law in Maine for two years.

The suspension commences Aug. 1. The order, dated today, also fines the former longtime probate judge $5,000. 

The justices found Nadeau violated judicial canons when he directed probate court staff not to make court appointments to seven attorneys; his removal from pending cases of a previously appointed attorney; his issuance of orders urging litigants before him to lobby for increased court time, and his personal solicitation of campaign contributions for his 2016 election campaign, according to the court document. 

The justices found that Nadeau’s order to staff to reschedule all pending court cases in the hours after his bid for more court time and a larger salary was rejected by York County Commissioners in 2015 did not constitute a violation of judicial canons.

“This is now the fourth time that Judge Nadeau has appeared before us for ethical violations, and the third time for conduct that occurred while serving in a judicial capacity,” the justices wrote in their 34-page order, referring to prior conduct. 

“Here, his actions were often carried out in an intemperate and vindictive fashion against former colleagues of his law practice and their associates,” the justices further wrote. “ Attorneys’ reputations were harmed, and litigants before him were pressured to support his efforts to increase court resources and his compensation. Judge Nadeau has not fully acknowledged the intemperate nature of his decisions. 

“We have already acknowledged that prior corrective efforts have not been effective in dissuading Judge Nadeau from engaging in intemperate conduct prohibited by the Canons,” the justices continued. “This time, therefore, more severe sanctions are warranted. “

Nadeau had served several terms as York County Judge of Probate over the years. He was first elected in 1996 and again in 2002 and 2004. He lost the 2008 election, but was returned to the bench in 2012. He lost in a three-way race to Sanford Attorney Bryan Chabot in November 2016; and Chabot took office in January.

Look for more on this story in Wednesday’s Journal Tribune.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]

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