Man arrested in error: paperwork was misfiled

ELLSWORTH — This week’s Hancock County Jail Log and last week’s Ellsworth Police Log listed the arrest of Adam Chavez, 38, of Southwest Harbor on a charge of failure to appear.

But District Attorney Matt Foster, the court clerk’s office and the lawyer for Chavez say Chavez should not have been arrested.

Defense attorney Robert Granger said the arrest was in error because the failure to appear charge was the result of a filing error at the courthouse.

“I entered my appearance on behalf of Adam [Chavez],” Granger wrote in an email. “And entered a written not guilty plea.”

The case in question involved a charge of violation of condition of release. Attorney Granger and the district attorney’s office had worked out a disposition that entailed payment of a $100 fine.

But Granger’s appearance on Chavez’ behalf was misfiled in the court clerk’s office. As a result, when Chavez did not appear in court for his July 5 arraignment, a warrant was issued for his arrest. The charge was failure to appear.

Chavez was arrested and jailed on the night of Aug. 14.

The next morning, when the error was discovered, Chavez was released, the fine was dropped and the case was resolved “so he had a clean slate,” Granger said.

“It’s an absolute shame that my client had to spend any time in jail because of a series of errors,” Granger wrote. “Mr. Chavez did everything right and responsibly. Frankly, I’m surprised this kind of mistake doesn’t happen a little more often with the sheer volume of pleadings and paperwork that are filed daily at the Court Clerk’s Office.  The clerks do an amazing job keeping paperwork straight in the vast majority of cases. It was just an unfortunate set of circumstances for Mr. Chavez. Thankfully, when the error was realized, the court wasted no time correcting the problem.”

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