NASHUA — Judge Paul Moore has been absent from the bench for nearly two months, and officials are remaining tight-lipped about his absence.
In mid-October, officials refused to comment on reports that Moore may have been removed from the bench, was escorted out of the building and placed on administrative leave before being hospitalized.
Carole Alfano, judicial branch communications manager, released a brief statement last week about the matter.
“The Judicial Branch has no additional information to provide regarding Judge Moore. Its last comment to the media remains accurate — Judge Moore is a circuit court judge and state employee who is on the state payroll,” Alfano said in a statement on Monday. Moore, however, has not presided over any cases at the 9th Circuit Court in Nashua since mid-October. In addition, his name has not been posted on any recent dockets on file at the courthouse.
Officials are not commenting on whether a complaint has been filed against Moore or if the New Hampshire Judicial Conduct Committee is investigating a report of alleged misconduct.
Attorney Robert Mittelholzer, executive secretary of the Judicial Conduct Committee, said in an email to the New Hampshire Union Leader that the procedural rules of the committee are codified under and governed by New Hampshire Supreme Court Rule 40.
“Without commenting in any way with respect to Judge Moore, the terms ‘report’ and ‘complaint’ have different meanings under the procedural rules of the Judicial Conduct Committee,” said Mittelholzer.
According to him, a report of alleged misconduct is a written allegation of misconduct against a judge that is filed with the committee, while a complaint is a report of alleged misconduct that is docketed by the committee after being reviewed and determined to be against a judge.
“When a report has been dismissed it is open for public review and remains so for two years before the matter is closed, sealed and archived,” wrote Mittelholzer. “Should a report be elevated to the level of a complaint, that complaint, the judge’s response and the final disposition of the complaint remain in the public domain forever.”
He added that a complaint becomes public at the point that it is dismissed, is resolved by way of informal resolution or a statement of formal charges and notice of hearing are filed with the committee and served upon the judge. Moore, of Bedford, began his judicial duties in 2001. He also founded MooreMart, a volunteer organization that ships care packages to troops overseas.
He was previously named the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News New Hampshire Citizen of the Year for 2011, and previously received the William A. Grimes award for judicial professionalism. In 2007 he was presented with a Spirit of New Hampshire award for his volunteerism, and in 2011 Moore received a commendation from Gov. John Lynch for his commitment to veterans and a tribute from the Points of Light Foundation.