Maine State Police Harass & Violate Private Investigators Rights
This story and video were submitted to us by Joshua Gray:
The Maine State Police along with the Knox County District Attorney recently prosecuted me for the crime of working in Maine without a valid private investigators license. After a three year legal process the charges were dismissed by ADA Jeffrey Baroody. I was doing training with another investigator and did not charge money for my time. I did not break any laws.” Justice Jeffrey Hjelm would not allow the State to re-file the charge.
In 2011, before I was charged, the state had recently changed the private investigator laws. These changes included making it nearly impossible for out-of-state investigators to have apprentices within the state, changing the definition of a private investigator and making it more difficult for out-of-state investigators to work in Maine. These changes came about, in part, by the efforts of the Maine private investigator association. Once the new laws became effective, the same association encouraged the state police to prosecute out of state investigators. Detective David Pelletier, of the Maine State Police, admitted that he was being pressured to charge me with a crime.
It is well known within the private investigator community that it is hard to obtain a license in Maine unless you are a former state trooper. While not all private investigators within the state are former troopers, there is a high percentage that are. I became a PI without a police background and believe that when I submitted a private investigator application in early 2011 the state police were looking for any reason to deny the application. When they learned that I went to Maine to train another investigator, they predetermined that I was guilty of working in Maine without a private investigator license.
Detective David Pelletier was assigned to investigate the allegations that I was working without a license. When he sat down with me for an interrogation, the interview was not recorded on video or audio. I believe this was done intentionally so that my statements could be taken out of context. For example, in the police report detective Pelletier states that I used the word “reciprocity” in the context of being able to work in Maine without a license, however I was clearly talking about sub-contracting work to a Maine Investigator, which is legal and a common practice in the industry. Det. Pelletier fabricated parts of the police report and left out key statements that were made. For example, I told Pelletier that I did not charge the client for my time. This statement was left completely out of the report. If Det. Pelletier had video or audio recorded the interview and followed standard police procedure, I would have never been charged. Why didn’t he record the interview? It should be noted that filing a false police report is a class D crime in the state of Maine.
While the criminal charges were making their way through the court system, My application to become a Private Investigator in Maine was placed into a pending status. Det. Pelletier told me that if the charges were dismissed, I would be scheduled to take the PI test. Taking the test is the last step before being issued a license. I also received a letter from the Police saying basically the same thing. So when the charge was dismissed, I was looking forward to taking the test. However, Lt. Scott Ireland and Sgt. Michael Johnston sent a Denial Letter stating that, because I worked in Maine as a PI, I was being denied a private investigators license. That was the only reason for the denial and was the exact activity that I was charged with. The ‘Professional Investigator Law’ that regulates the industry, clearly defines the reasons that a professional investigator license can be denied. It states multiple times that only a conviction can result in a denial of a license. If they were planning on denying me, why didn’t they do it in 2011, why wait until after the criminal case is settled? Its clear they knew that a mere accusation was not enough to deny the license. However they decided to violate the ‘presumption of innocents’ a Human Rights Violation. Also my rights of due process under the law, a civil rights violation. Further the State police violated my constitutional rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Violating (18 U.S.C. §§ 241, 242)
The State Police violated Maine criminal law title 17-A Chapter 93-C Section 2931 Interference with constitutional and civil rights when they denied my application for Professional Investigator based on a criminal citation that was dismissed by Assistant District Attorney of Knox County Jeffrey Baroody and Superior Court Justice Jeffrey Hjelm. When my application for Professional Investigator was denied by Sgt. Johnston and Lt. Ireland, they cited as the reason, that I was accused of working in Maine without a valid PI License. It is well established, that accusations of a crime does not infer guilt of a crime. The charges against me were dismissed with prejudice. I should be presumed innocent regardless of the opinion or bias of the State Police. Therefore the officers mentioned above violated both the letter and intention of the law as well as other laws that we may not be aware of. This is a clear misuse of public police power and represents a grave threat to the fair administration of law and justice within the State of Maine. These officers became ‘judge, jury and executioner’ and violated the law in the process. I am the victim of their lawlessness.
The most disturbing thing that happened, is that State Police Detective David Pelletier retaliated against me after the case was dismissed by ADA Baroody and Justice Hjelm. Det. Pelletier contacted my largest client and told them there was an “ongoing investigation” into me by the Maine State Police. Within a few days of that contact, I was told by my client that I would not be receiving any more assignments and that I was being removed from their vendors list. Why did they contact my client after the case was finished? It makes no sense” Det. Pelletier knew that he was contacting my largest client. As a result of this, I was forced to move from my condominium and my income was significantly reduced.
I appealed the private investigator license denial through an administrative appeal process and an agreement was reached for me to take the PI test in February of 2016, however I strongly feel that I should have not been denied in the first place and that Lt. Scott Ireland, Det. David Pelletier and Sgt. Michael Johnston of the State Police violated my Human Rights, Civil Rights and Constitutional Rights.
Call the Maine State Police @ (207) 624-7291 and let them know that the actions of Lt. Scott Ireland, Det. David Pelletier and Sgt. Michael Johnston are unacceptable.