Paperwork not filed in Paris police chief OUI arrest

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PORTLAND — The Cumberland County Sheriff’s deputy who pulled over Paris police Chief Michael Madden nearly three months ago and summoned him to court for operating under the influence never sent the required paperwork to suspend Madden’s driver’s license, according to Chief Deputy Naldo Gagnon.

Paris Police Chief Michael Madden
Paris Police Chief Michael Madden

He said Sgt. Andrew Feeney could face disciplinary action if another breach in protocol occurs.

Madden, 50, of Harrison was pulled over by Feeney on Harrison Road in Naples shortly after midnight on Nov. 21, 2014. Police say Madden was driving erratically in his personal vehicle.

Gagnon said Feeney failed to send a form to the Secretary of State’s Office, which is required for all OUI arrests to suspend the individual’s driver’s license.

Gagnon said he told Feeney on Wednesday: “‘You’re going to send it in.'”

He said Feeney filed the paperwork Wednesday night and it was mailed Thursday.

“It is our intention to use the full force of the OUI law,” Gagnon said.

Gagnon and Madden’s Portland-based defense attorney, Matt Nichols, say Madden hasn’t received preferential treatment. The chief deputy promised there would be consequences if standard procedures are ignored in the future.

“Hopefully, (Feeney) learned by his mistake,” Gagnon said. “I brought it to the attention of his captain and they’re going to address it.”

Robert O’Connell, director of legal affairs, adjudications and hearings for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, said by phone last week that the process of suspending a license for an OUI arrest includes an administrative hearing, at which drivers or their lawyers can request to stay a suspension.

“Any person who’s stopped for operation under the influence, a law enforcement officer is required by statute to send in a statement of probable cause that the individual was operating under the influence of alcohol (and/or) drugs,” O’Connell said, including Breathalyzer test results.

Once all of the paperwork is filed, he said, a notice of suspension is mailed three weeks after his office receives the report.

“That happens relatively quickly unless the reports aren’t in order and they’re sent back for additional information,” he said, noting that this could be why a suspension or administrative hearing is delayed.

For a first OUI offense, the license is suspended for 150 days, O’Connell said. The driver should receive notice of the impending suspension 14 to 17 days before it becomes effective.

Nichols said by phone Tuesday that his client had yet to receive a notice of suspension and when he does, he would have 10 days to request an administrative hearing.

O’Connell said such a hearing would be held in Portland and would be scheduled three to four weeks from the date it was requested.

At OUI administrative hearings, issues that can be explored include determining whether the officer had probable cause to pull the driver over and whether or not the blood alcohol level was 0.08 percent — the legal limit — or higher, he said.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s and District Attorney’s offices have declined to release the test results on Madden, or the police report. If the suspension is upheld, the license could be suspended directly following the hearing or become effective midnight the night of the hearing, O’Connell said.

Nichols entered a not guilty plea for Madden last month. Nichols said Tuesday that he hadn’t received a court date for the case. It has been transferred from Bridgton District Court to the unified court system in Portland, he said.

Madden has worked in law enforcement for 29 years and was hired as the town’s police chief in October 2013, leaving his job as deputy chief in Shelton, Conn., a city of more than 39,000 people about an hour northeast of New York City.

Madden is a graduate of St. Joseph’s College in Standish, with a bachelor’s degree in communication, and is a 2008 graduate of the FBI National Academy.

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