PORTLAND — A suspended Rumford attorney and one-time candidate for district attorney who is seeking reinstatement has appealed his case to the state’s highest court.

Seth Carey of Rumford appears by videoconference in March before the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar Grievance Commission for reinstatement of his law license. Screenshot from video

A clerk at the Maine Supreme Judicial Court said Thursday that Seth T. Carey, 47, filed his appeal recently to have the full court review his petition to be able to practice law again in this state.

In March, Carey argued his case before the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar’s three-member Grievance Commission.

That panel recommended against reinstatement in its ruling a month later.

Carey appealed the panel’s decision to the state’s high court, which assigned a single justice to hear his case. A three-day hearing was held in August.

Superior Court Justice Ann M. Murray denied Carey’s reinstatement petition in a 21-page decision filed last month.


Carey recently appealed Murray’s decision to the entire six-member high court, sitting as the “law court,” which hears appeals from Maine’s lower courts.

A clerk at the office of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court said briefs in the case will need to be filed before any further scheduling can take place for Carey’s appeal.

During the less than 12 years Carey practiced law in Maine, the courts have issued five disciplinary suspensions for him, the most recent in 2018 for a three-year period before he can petition for reinstatement.

Carey represented himself at hearings before the Grievance Commission and Justice Murray.

In her Sept. 22 order, Murray wrote that Carey showed repeatedly through correspondence with the court and legal counsel at the Board of Overseers of the Bar that he lacked focus and attention and demonstrated “excessive argumentativeness, inability to express anger in a socially appropriate manner, blaming others for his setbacks, suspiciousness, cognition issues (ways of interpreting self, other people and events) and affectivity issues (the intensity and appropriateness of emotional responses), all suggesting a continuing mental health disability.”

Murray added: “They also reflect on a lack of competence.”


But Murray also wrote that Carey “should be commended for finding professionals to help him address his mental health disability. He should also be commended for engaging with his therapist, DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) providers and psychiatrist, and following their recommendations. He has accepted medications. The court is satisfied that Mr. Carey is trying to address his issues and has made some progress.”

Despite those efforts and progress, Murray wrote that “his mental health disability continues.”

She concluded that she found that Carey had “not established by clear and convincing evidence that his mental health disability has been removed.”

That had been a requirement for the possible lifting of the three-year suspension imposed on Carey in 2018.

Murray wrote that at his August court hearing before her, Carey had downplayed and minimized the wrongfulness and seriousness of his conduct that led to his suspensions.

Although he told Murray he recognized his misconduct, he provided excuses and justifications for that behavior, she wrote.


“Mr. Carey’s offering of excuses and justifications for his behavior coupled with his continuing mental disability, his desire to passionately fight the system and his strong reactions to what he perceives to be injustices create a risk of rule-breaking behavior in the future,” Murray wrote.

She concluded with a finding that Carey “has not demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that he recognizes the wrongfulness and seriousness of the misconduct for which he was suspended.”

Carey faces criminal charges, including felonies, in connection with alleged sexual abuse. In the 2018 suspension, a Maine Superior Court justice found there was evidence to support claims of sexual abuse involving a former tenant in Carey’s home in Rumford.

Carey was indicted last year by an Oxford County grand jury on misdemeanor charges of unlawful sexual contact, two counts of domestic violence assault and engaging in prostitution, in addition to two felony charges — attempted gross sexual assault and attempted aggravated sex trafficking.

Those charges are pending trial, which could be held as early as next month.

Carey ran for district attorney for Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties in 2018 as the Republican nominee in the general election, despite the suspension of his law license.

He attempted to run again earlier this year, but was rejected because he hadn’t registered as a Republican and he was not “in good standing” as a member of the Maine bar.

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