Superior judge Richard McNamara heard arguments Monday on whether New Hampshire's Attorney General has the authority to continue the suspension of Rockingham County attorney Jim Reams. The Attorney General suspended Reams in November, and then pursued an investigation into alleged employment discrimination and financial mismanagement.
Reams then filed suit against the AG’s office, asking to be reinstated. After the hearing Monday, Reams' attorney Michael Ramsdell predicted the judge would rule in Reams' favor. "I think the judge is going to order that the suspension was unlawful," he said.
But if McNamara rules in favor of Reams, the judge indicated he would still consider a stay, postponing reinstatement while the AG’s office files an appeal with the state Supreme Court. Attorneys with the Attorney General's office filed the motion for that stay after the hearing Monday.
Attorney Jane Young with the Attorney General's office says they will do whatever is necessary to prevent Reams' reinstatement. Were he to return to office, Edwards says, he might retaliate against the victims who spoke out against him.
To allow that to happen would upset the administration of justice in the county and that’s something the Attorney General cannot and will not tolerate until he exhausts all the avenues available to him legally.
If McNamara decides in favor of the Attorney General, Reams’ suspension would remain intact as a civil hearing and complaint for his removal proceed.
Whatever the ruling, time is on the Attorney General’s side. Reams’ term in office ends in January, and the suspended Attorney has said he will not run for reelection.