Submitted On Briefs: May 30, 2019
Goguen, appellant pro se
Benjamin J. Wahrer, Esq., and James M. Bowie, Esq., Thompson
Bowie & Hatch LLC, Portland, for appellee Jon Haddow
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, GORMAN, JABAR, and HJELM, JJ.
REPORTER OF DECISIONS
Robert Goguen appeals from a judgment of the Superior Court
(Cumberland County, Mills, J.) dismissing, for
failure to state a claim, his complaint alleging professional
malpractice and related causes of action arising from
Jon Haddow's legal representation of him in
federal criminal proceedings. We affirm the judgment.
The federal proceedings at issue here began in January 2011
when Goguen was indicted in the United States District Court
for the District of Maine for knowingly failing to register
as a sex offender. See 18 U.S.C.S. § 2250(a)
(LEXIS through Pub. L. No. 116-19). Goguen, represented by
other counsel, pleaded guilty to the federal charge,
admitting in open court that he had knowingly failed to
update his registration.
At the same time, Goguen was facing state charges filed in
2010 in Maine for unlawful sexual contact with a minor (Class
B), 17-A M.R.S. § 255-A(1)(E-1) (2018). He was
represented by another attorney on those charges. It was
understood that the state charge could be used by the federal
government to enhance the federal sentence.
In October 2011, Goguen, personally and not through counsel,
filed a motion in federal court asking for his then counsel
to withdraw and seeking to withdraw his plea of guilty to the
charge of failing to register. That December, the court
(J. Woodcock, J.) granted Goguen's motion
allowing his counsel to withdraw and appointed Haddow to
In May 2012, Goguen withdrew his motion to withdraw the
guilty plea in the federal prosecution for failure to
register, and the state charge of unlawful sexual contact
with a minor was dismissed in July 2012 on the ground that
Goguen was "being sentenced in Federal Court."
At Goguen's September 2012 federal sentencing hearing on
the failure to register charge, the court informed Goguen,
thoroughly and in great detail, of the possible consequences
of his decision whether to admit or proceed to trial on the
allegation that he had committed a sex offense while in
failure to register status-a fact that, if proved, would
generate a federal sentencing enhancement. Following that
explanation, the court afforded Goguen another hour to
consult with Haddow. After consulting with Haddow, Goguen
stated in open court that he did not dispute that he had
committed a sex offense while in failure to register status.
The court sentenced Goguen to a term of months and a period
of supervised release with conditions.
In 2013, after Goguen left prison on supervised release, the
United States Probation Office moved to revoke his release on
the ground that he had accessed pornography at the Penobscot
Judicial Center law library in violation of his conditions of
release. Haddow was again appointed to represent Goguen. In
open court, Goguen waived his right to an evidentiary hearing
and admitted that he had viewed pornography in violation of
the conditions of his supervised release. Goguen was
sentenced, and his conviction was affirmed on appeal to the
United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
United States v. Goguen, No. 13-2230 (1st Cir. Oct.
More than three years later, in March 2018, Goguen filed his
civil complaint against Haddow in the Superior Court,
alleging legal malpractice and related claims arising from
Haddow's representation of him both at sentencing for
failure to register and during the proceedings to revoke his
supervised release. Upon Haddow's motion, the court
[Mills, J.) dismissed Goguen's complaint for
failure to state a claim. See M.R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).
Because undisturbed judgments have been entered, here based
on Goguen's in-court admissions, finding that he
committed a sex offense while in failure to register status
and that he accessed pornography in violation of his
conditions of release, Goguen is collaterally estopped from
asserting that inaccurate legal advice-rather than his own
conduct-caused the injuries that he alleges.See Butler v.