Thursday, July 18, 2019
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the dismissal of a legal malpractice claim brought by a criminal defendant against an attorney appointed to represent him after retained counsel withdrew.
After consulting with Haddow, Goguen stated in open court that he did not dispute that he had committed a sex offense while in failure to register status. The court sentenced Goguen to a term of months and a period of supervised release with conditions.
And thereafter violated the terms
In 2013, after Goguen left prison on supervised release, the United States Probation Office moved to revoke his release on the ground that he had accessed pornography at the Penobscot Judicial Center law library in violation of his conditions of release. Haddow was again appointed to represent Goguen. In open court, Goguen waived his right to an evidentiary hearing and admitted that he had viewed pornography in violation of the conditions of his supervised release. Goguen was sentenced, and his conviction was affirmed on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
He sued for malpractice but
Because undisturbed judgments have been entered, here based on Goguen’s in-court admissions, finding that he committed a sex offense while in failure to register status and that he accessed pornography in violation of his conditions of release, Goguen is collaterally estopped from asserting that inaccurate legal advice—rather than his own conduct—caused the injuries that he alleges...
Goguen has not, however, alleged that any one of the pertinent court orders—the judgment of conviction for failing to register, the sentence imposed upon that conviction, or the order revoking his release—has been set aside for any reason. Because Goguen has not, through his complaint, presented any facts necessary to overcome the Maine collateral estoppel bar, we need not, on the record presented here, opine on whether the elements of actual innocence or exoneration are necessary or sufficient to proceed with a professional malpractice claim under Maine law when the alleged malpractice involved the entry of a judgment of conviction or a subsequent revocation of release. Further, to the extent that Goguen’s complaint may be seen to allege malpractice affecting the sentence imposed by the federal court after Goguen pleaded guilty to failing to register, the complaint fails to state a claim for relief because, as is revealed by Goguen’s allegations themselves, the sentence imposed was at the bottom of the applicable range of the federal sentencing guidelines given the offense level that pertained to Goguen for his crime of failure to register.