For Immediate Release
April 21, 2014
Ann M. Rice, Deputy Attorney General
On March 11, 2014, the Office of the Attorney General and the Rockingham County Commissioners filed a Petition to Remove Rockingham County Attorney James Reams, based on allegations of ethical violations, financial mismanagement, and gender discrimination. The Attorney General and the County Commissioners filed pleadings in the Merrimack County Superior Court requesting to expedite the hearing on that petition. Attorney General Foster said, "A prompt ruling on this matter is critical to all parties. Our investigation revealed significant concerns, both for the fair administration of justice and for the business of the County. The Commissioners and this office are prepared to adjudicate this matter as soon as the Court's calendar permits."
Concurrently, the Attorney General filed a Notice of Appeal of the Superior Court's order in James Reams v. Joseph A. Foster, Attorney General, in which the court held that the Attorney General's authority to suspend a County Attorney's prosecutorial authority is limited to circumstances where the County Attorney is being investigated or facing prosecution for a criminal act. Attorney General Foster said, "The Petition to Remove alleges serious misconduct on the part of County Attorney Reams--the chief law enforcement officer of the county--which directly impacts the public's confidence in the fair administration of justice. Although not criminal, I believe that the serious nature of the misconduct by someone in that position warrants suspension of his prosecutorial authority pending a full hearing. For that reason, I have authorized an appeal to the Supreme Court."
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