Was Adam J. Keene properly charged with reckless conduct by District Attorney Maeghan Maloney? In a June 6 article she described why she decided to charge Keene with reckless conduct after his handgun was discovered in his son’s backpack while at daycare. Maloney first indicated that she approved a misdemeanor charge because she was convinced that placing the gun in the backpack was not intentional. Maloney stated “that’s why it is not a felony.”

In fact, intent has nothing to do with determining whether reckless conduct is a misdemeanor or a felony. Reckless conduct is by definition committed without intent. Committing an act of reckless conduct with a firearm elevates a class D misdemeanor to a class C felony. If it was proper to charge Keene at all, it would have been proper to charge him with a felony. Maloney then explained further that how the gun got inside the child’s backpack “was not a conscious act.” Maine criminal law says that a person acts recklessly when he “consciously disregards a risk that his conduct will cause such a result.” If the DA believes, as she was quoted, that there was no conscious act by Keene to disregard a risk, she should not have charged him with the crime of reckless conduct at all.

Any non-lawyer can look up and read sections 35(C),211, and 1252(4)in Maine’s Title 17-A and see that Maloney’s reasoning is flawed. Shouldn’t the person in charge of prosecuting crime in Kennebec and Somerset counties have done a more careful legal analysis before charging Keene with a crime?

Steven Parker


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