Former New Hampshire Public Defender Dorothy Graham has taken a job with the New England office of the Federal Public Defender. Graham, who was nominated by Gov. Maggie Hassan last year to serve as a judge on the state Superior Court, saw her hopes for the bench scuttled after a conservative website accused her of a “history of trying to get child rapists off on technicalities.”
Public defenders cannot choose their clients and are bound by American Bar Association standards to defend them with “devotion.” And many members of the state's legal community praised Graham as a fair-minded, tough attorney. But Graham's nomination was rejected by the state's Executive Council, where opponents said they were troubled by her record as a public defender, and lack of experience as a prosecutor. Three Republican Executive Councilors -- including Chris Sununu, now running for governor -- voted against her confirmation.
Miriam Conrad, attorney with the Federal Defender, said of Graham: “We look forward to having her as part of our legal team.”
Among those who came to Graham’s defense during her judicial nomination were Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard and 27 past presidents of the N.H. Bar Association.