Actions led to arrest of Standish corrections officer

Federal appeals court rules Waldoboro police gave misleading info

By Stephen Betts | Dec 03, 2019

Waldoboro — A civil rights lawsuit against the former chief and a former officer of the Waldoboro Police Department can go forward, a federal appeals court has ruled, after declaring that the lead investigator gave misleading information to a judge that started a criminal prosecution.

A three-member panel of the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston issued its ruling on Nov. 27 in the lawsuit brought by Scott Jordan Jr. of Standish against former Chief William Labombarde and former officer Lawrence Hesseltine Jr.

Labombarde is now the school resource officer for Waldoboro police and Hesseltine is the police chief for the nearby town of Wiscasset.

The lawsuit, initially filed in 2016 in Lincoln County Superior Court and then moved to the U.S. District Court in Portland in 2017, stems from the department's actions that led to the arrest of Jordan in November 2014 on a charge felony theft against his father.

The ruling overturned an October 2018 ruling by a District Court judge that had granted summary judgment in favor of the two officers. The appeals court ruling means the case goes back to the U.S. District Court in Portland where a trial could be held unless a settlement is reached.

"Scott’s home was illegally searched in front of his young daughter by multiple armed law enforcement; he was wrongfully accused of crimes he did not commit; and he was wrongfully arrested and taken to jail," Jordan's attorney Amy Fairfield Of Kennebunk said Tuesday. "Not only was Scott deprived of his Constitutional Rights, Scott was also deprived of contact with his father who died while Scott awaited his day in Court. We are elated and grateful for the First Circuit’s opinion. Now that the Court has ruled in Scott’s favor, we look forward to these facts being heard and truth prevailing, which will hopefully give all persons faith that this type of illegal police conduct cannot and will not be tolerated."

The attorney for the officers said, however, that the officers did nothing wrong.

According to court records, Jordan had received power of attorney in May 2014 for his father Scott Jordan Sr. who lived in Waldoboro. His father, who was suffering from physical and memory problems, later complained to police that his son was improperly disposing of his belongings and rescinded the power of attorney at the end of July of that year.

But the investigation by Waldoboro police learned that the father had initiated the effort for his son to serve as power of attorney and that the father's lawyer had drawn up the paperwork. Police had even talked with the elder Jordan's sister who confirmed that the father had wanted such an arrangement.

When police initially questioned the son, he said he had removed firearms from his father's residence because of a concern that his father was suicidal. The younger Jordan offered to give the guns to the police but the officers said they would have no legal right to keep them.

When Hesseltine went to a judge to get a search warrant for the Standish man's home, he did not include the information about the origin of the power of attorney nor the offer to turn over the guns.

When officers executed the search warrant at the younger Jordan's home in Standish in November 2014, they seized the weapons and arrested Jordan for felony theft. The theft was classified as a felony because the alleged theft involved firearms. The arrest occurred as he was trying to take his young daughter to school.

Jordan was indicted by a grand jury in Lincoln County in March 2015.

The father died Sept. 1, 2015 and the district attorney's office dismissed the case a few weeks later.

Jordan then filed the civil lawsuit in 2016. He pointed out that the action of the officers severely damaged his reputation. Jordan was also suspended from his job as a lieutenant at the Cumberland County Jail and lost his health insurance for a period of time.

"Due to the wrongful actions of Defendants, Plaintiff suffered and continues to suffer severe mental and emotional injuries and distress that required and/or requires medical treatment," the lawsuit states.

Jordan was unable to visit his father in his final days of life because of the restrictions included on his bail conditions following the arrest.

The appeal court also ruled that Jordan can seek punitive damage against the officers.

Fairfield said her client was able to return to work after the charges were dropped.

The three-judge appeals panel pointed out that the the power of attorney expressly granted the son the authority to take control of his father's property.

The appeals court said the affidavit gave the false impression that the son prepared the power of attorney paperwork and foisted it on his befuddled father. The judges also pointed out that the son's actions after getting the power of attorney were consistent with the plan.

"Collectively, correction of the misrepresentation and the two omissions would have painted a fundamentally different picture of Jordan's actions in trying to assist an episodically confused and often hostile parent. It is not a reasonable picture of a thief in action and, thus, would fall short of establishing probable cause for a search warrant," the appeals court concluded.

The officer's attorney, Edward Benjamin Jr. of Portland, said Hesseltine acted fast in seeking the search warrant and the arrest because the younger son had promised to return the elder Jordan's truck but then the vehicle was being advertised for sale on Craigslist.

He said the ruling simply states that if you look at the case in the best light for Jordan, a jury could decide that the officers omitted information that could have led to a different outcome.

Benjamin also said the district attorney's office allowed the highly unusual step of allowing the younger Jordan to testify at a grand jury session in March 2015. That grand jury issued an indictment on the theft charge. Benjamin said Jordan's attorney has since successfully blocked the effort of the defendants in the civil lawsuit to get a transcript of Jordan's grand jury testimony .

The Portland attorney also said while the cases remain active for Labombarde and Hesseltine, the appeals court upheld a lower court ruling to dismiss the civil complaint filed by Jordan against the town of Waldoboro, Officer Jeffrey Fuller, and Officer Andrew Santheson.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Dale Hayward | Dec 04, 2019 14:11

Let the money roll. How bad can this be? Lack of faith, trust, and honesty in our police????

 



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