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Court conferences end with no agreements against former officers

By Stephen Betts | Jan 09, 2021

Rockland — A pair of conferences held Jan. 7 failed to come up with any resolution to criminal cases pending against two former Rockland police officers accused of beating porcupines to death while on duty.

After the dispositional conferences, Assistant District Attorney Michael Dumas said no agreements were reached in the cases against Addison Cox, 27, of Warren and Michael Rolerson, 30, of Searsmont.

Both men were charged Oct. 2 with Class C aggravated animal cruelty and a misdemeanor count of night hunting.

The assistant district attorney, who serves in Sagadahoc County but was assigned the Knox County cases by District Attorney Natasha Irving, said while no subsequent court dates were scheduled, he expects the next conferences will be held within 60 days.

The Knox County grand jury was scheduled to meet Jan. 6, at which times cases against the officers could have been presented before jurors to seek if indictments would be issued. The state court, however, canceled the regularly scheduled grand jury session because of concerns about COVID-19.

Dispositional conferences are held outside the courtroom, in private, where the prosecution and the defense will lay out their evidence before a judge and see if an agreement can be reached on a plea.

The Courier-Gazette made a formal request to the court to allow its court reporter to attend the conferences either in person or by video. The formal request was made Jan. 7, shortly before the hearing.

Justice Bruce Mallonee issued a brief response, saying if a formal motion and a brief was filed and argued, he would consider the argument, but absent that the court would not depart from its ordinary practice of not allowing public attendance at such conferences.

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Comments (4)
Posted by: Michael Timothy Doucette | Jan 19, 2021 20:21

I feel it comes down to the leadership of the Rockland PD. It’s funny how Chief Young is all proud and giving awards and “we” as a department are proud of you and glad your part of “our” team. Then when something like this happens he takes zero responsibility nor does the deputy chief or first line supervisor (SGT). They all turn there back on them and talk behind there backs. That’s why it’s called the “thin blue line”, because it’s real thin. The city should either let the leadership retire if they have the time or fire them for there failed leadership. Chief Young has made mistakes in his career as have the others, yet it was kept in house and swept away under the carpet, and look what position he holds now. You only do a polygraph once to get hired, give the leadership one again now and see how quick that changes or union gets involved when the dirt from the top gets out. These men failed because leadership failed.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Jan 10, 2021 09:41

Thank you George for outlining the details of the real story everyone is anxious to hear.  The Courier does a great job at reporting what occurred, however so often fails at outlining the details behind the story.  People more often are interested in "why something happened" as well as "what happened".  A man named Paul Harvey was very successful for years telling us "the Rest of the Story".

Posted by: DALE HAYWARD | Jan 09, 2021 17:01

It may fall under not who you know but how you know who you know. That happens when adjudicating local ordinances quite frequently.

Posted by: George Terrien | Jan 09, 2021 10:33

Thank you, Steve Betts, for seeking more information to explain the delay of what on its face (however besmirched) appears pretty straight forward as to the facts.  I cannot imagine that too many of Rockland's citizens celebrate postponement of justice here.  And I imagine that even fewer want to continue this insult to the quality of our police force any longer than necessary before the accusation can be adjudicated and this miscreance put behind us.  A few questions that I hope you will be able to answer:  One, what can possibly be argued to reduce what was charged more than three months ago, especially since I cannot imagine that forensic examination was complicated or protracted?  Two, to what extent (and if so, how) has the police union obstructed the prosecution of justice?  Three, why is a conference even needed for resolution, of whatever the questions may be about guilt or sentence?  (Is this a plea deal in the making?)  And last question, what are the attitudes of others closer to the accused than are most of us about the severity of these charges and the progress of this disposition (obviously not to intrude on the tainting of a jury, should one be required)?

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