A former Lincoln County resident who now resides in Lexington Township has filed a civil suit against the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, other law enforcement agencies, and several individual officers in relation to a 2013 incident in Jefferson.
The suit filed by John Burbank, 37, seeks $5,000, which Burbank said he spent to defend himself against allegations and charges stemming from an encounter between himself and law enforcement at 282 Goose Hill Rd. in Jefferson on May 13, 2013.
Additionally, Burbank is seeking a jury trial in order to decide what punitive damages may be deemed just compensation for the alleged violation of his civil, constitutional, and human rights, and for resulting emotional and physical distress, according to court documents.
The defendants named in the civil suit are the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Todd Brackett, Lt. Rand Maker, Detective Terry Michaud, Deputy 1st Class Mark Bridgham, Deputy 1st Class Brian Collamore, Reserve Deputy Richard Woodward, Maine Game Warden Mark Merrifield, and Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Special Agent Jason Pease.
Burbank’s filing accuses law enforcement officials of violating his rights by trespassing on the Goose Hill Road property, which was clearly marked with no trespassing signs.
Burbank also alleged that the defendants willfully violated his rights by harassing him and submitting him to unlawful arrest and prolonged detention. Further, Burbank said that after his unlawful arrest, an unconstitutional search and seizure of his property occurred.
Burbank said he committed no crime during the incident, and when asked to produce a warrant or leave the property, the defendants named in the suit declined to do so.
Burbank’s complaint also states that the nature of the accusations brought against him and subsequent media coverage during the legal proceedings damaged his reputation and cost him employment and employment opportunities.
Burbank’s suit was received and filed at Lincoln County Courthouse on Dec. 14, 2015.
Sheriff Brackett said he had heard very little about the pending suit and had no further comment.
County deputies, assisted by units from the Maine Warden Service and Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, responded to a report that a “highly intoxicated” Burbank was allegedly threatening a municipal road crew with a firearm on May 13, 2013, according to court documents and The Lincoln County News archives.
Burbank returned to his home before law enforcement arrived. After a 45-minute negotiation, Burbank exited his home unarmed. He was arrested and charged with a felony offense of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and the civil offense of creating a police standoff.
A Lincoln County grand jury declined to indict Burbank on the criminal threatening charge on Sept. 11, 2013.
Following a bench trial in Wiscasset District Court on the civil offense on March 20, 2014, District Court Justice David Billings ruled no offense had been committed.