December 4, 2012

Prosecutor-turned-fugitive ordered back to Maine

James Cameron, whose child porn convictions were upheld, will face charges of violating bail.

By BETTY ADAMS Kennebec Journal

James Cameron was ordered back to Maine from New Mexico on Tuesday, two days after the U.S. Marshals Service ended his 17-day flight across the country.

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James Cameron's booking photo, from the Sandoval County Detention Center in New Mexico.

Contributed photo

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The order came after Cameron, of Rome, Maine, in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, N.M., waived his right to an identity hearing and any preliminary or detention hearing in New Mexico, and requested those hearings be held in Maine.

Cameron fled Maine in the wee hours of the morning Nov. 15, hours after a court upheld most of his child pornography convictions. Before he fled, he told his family he was going back to prison.

The marshals service said in a prepared statement that Cameron did not dispute he was the person named in a warrant for his arrest on bail violation charges.

Noel March, U.S. marshal for the District of Maine, said Tuesday afternoon he doesn't know when Cameron will return to the state.

"That will be told to us after he's completed all his hearings; and whenever that process is concluded in New Mexico, we're going to hear that from the court," March said.

He also said whatever charges Cameron may face arising from his flight across the country haven't been determined, but the U.S. attorney's office is looking into it.

"We'll know more, all of us, in the weeks ahead," March said.

Tuesday morning's one-minute hearing before Magistrate Judge Robert Hayes Scott was part of the process of returning Cameron to Maine to face the bail violation charge.

In court Tuesday, Cameron signed his name to the waiver above that of federal public defender Stephen McCue, who was appointed to represent Cameron in proceedings in New Mexico. McCue did not return a call seeking comment.

Cameron, 50, a former top drug prosecutor in Maine, was convicted in August 2010 of child pornography charges. He cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet and fled Maine on Nov. 15 in his 1999 tan Audi.

He was arrested Sunday morning, coming out of a bathroom at an Albuquerque video and book store.

Cameron is charged with violating bail by fleeing Maine in the wake of a court ruling upholding his convictions on seven child pornography charges. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in a decision issued Nov. 14, reversed convictions on six other counts and sent the case back for resentencing or a new trial, if the government chose to do that.

Cameron had been free pending his appeal and faced the prospect of returning to federal prison where he had already served a year. Cameron was sentenced to 16 years in prison on the 13 crimes involving child pornography.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Clark, who was one of the prosecutors at Cameron's trial on child pornography charges, said federal rules specify that Cameron must be brought back before the judicial officer who ordered Cameron released.

In this case, that's U.S. District Court Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. Clark said he expects the court to schedule a hearing in Bangor on the motion to revoke bail once Cameron is returned to the state.

"Bail can be revoked or a contempt proceeding could be brought, as in any case in which an order of the court is violated," Clark said.

Neither Clark nor March would say whether Cameron's laptop, which was missing from his home in Rome, was found when he was caught. The court used the laptop to monitor him as a condition of his release.

In the government's motion seeking to revoke bail and to get an arrest issued, Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Murphy said Cameron and his car were gone when authorities checked his Rome residence at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 15.

That was almost nine hours after Cameron's electronic monitoring device indicated an unauthorized departure from his Rome residence. Cameron left his cellphone behind.

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

badams@centralmaine.com

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