Maine Supreme Court to decide whether to kick prosecutors off Carrillo case
AUGUSTA (BDN) -- Maine’s highest court will decide whether to remove state prosecutors from the case of a Stockton Springs mother who claims they illegally collected evidence in their efforts to prove she killed her daughter.
Sharon Carrillo’s attorney, Chris MacLean, filed a motion to disqualify prosecutors, saying they illegally used subpoenas to obtain confidential records, but a Superior Court judge in April denied the motion.
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Monday agreed unanimously to hear the appeal “on an expedited basis,” according to the decision. The appeal is expected to be argued on June 12 at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta.
Sharon and her husband, Julio Carrillo, are charged with depraved indifference murder in the beating death of Sharon’s 10-year-old daughter, Marissa Kennedy.
Prosecutors allege that Sharon and Julio Carrillo beat Marissa Kennedy on a daily basis for months, until she succumbed to her injuries in late February inside a Stockton Springs condominium owned by Sharon Carrillo’s parents.
In March, a state police detective collecting evidence for the case requested Sharon’s records from the Maplebrook School in Amenia, New York, where she was formerly a student.
Citing privacy laws, the head of the school declined to release the records. The Attorney General’s Office then issued a subpoena for the records, saying that the head of school would be required to appear to testify in a Belfast courthouse if she did not surrender them. A psychological evaluation of Carrillo was among the documents eventually released to state prosecutors.
In late March, Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea admitted the state didn’t follow proper procedures in getting the out-of-state records, but claimed the “procedural error” was inadvertent, and not “deception or fraud.”
Superior Court Justice Robert Murray later ordered the state relinquish or destroy those records and required prosecutors to sign affidavits detailing who saw the records and what they saw.
While individual prosecutors and attorneys have been removed from cases before, removing an entire prosecutorial staff would be unprecedented.
MacLean, too, cited the potential historic nature of the situation on Tuesday, adding that it’s also unusual to allow a defendant the opportunity to appeal in the middle of a criminal case.
“There’s no prior Maine Supreme Court precedent on some of these issues, including disqualification of prosecutors,” he said. “It would be a precedent-setting circumstance.”
BDN Reporter Nick McCrea contributed to this report.