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November 12. 2013 8:07PM

Interim county attorney's first task is reassigning suspended prosecutor's cases


Jim Boffetti, interim Rockingham County attorney, at a press conference announcing his appointment (JAMES A. KIMBLE)

BRENTWOOD — Jim Boffetti has undertaken a whirlwind schedule of meetings with area police chiefs, county commissioners and prosecutors as part of his new, albeit temporary, job as the county's top law enforcement officer.

Among his bullet list of things to do this week is to reassign the caseload handled by Deputy County Attorney Tom Reid.

Reid was placed on paid administrative leave in the wake of his boss, James Reams, being suspended by Attorney General Joe Foster amid an investigation into the county attorney's office.

Foster has given few details about the probe, saying only that his office is investigating "operational and managerial" issues within Reams' office with help from federal investigators.

Boffetti, who is not part of the investigation, said he is reassigning about a dozen cases handled by Reid to other lawyers in the office.

"There are some very experienced lawyers here," Boffetti said. "They have prosecuted cases for years and years and years."

Boffetti said while the number of cases Reid handled was small, they are significant, sometimes large in scope.
They include a Plaistow man charged with severely beating his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter; a Northwood man accused of burglarizing a garage at State Police Troop A Barracks; and the sentencing for a Danbury man convicted of orchestrating the home invasion of a Deerfield veterinarian.

Boffetti said he has spent his three days in office getting a handle on the scope of work handled by the county attorney, which includes management of prosecuting cases, budget issues and personnel.

Boffetti said he has no idea how long he will remain in the interim county attorney role. "I serve at the pleasure of the attorney general. I will do this as long as needed."

Boffetti, head of the state's Consumer Protection and Anti-Trust Bureau, was asked by Foster to serve as interim county attorney last week.

He was appointed last Wednesday by order of Merrimack Superior Court Judge Richard McNamara just hours before Foster and U.S. Attorney John Kacavas announced the joint state and federal probe into the county attorney's office.

Rockingham County is familiar stomping ground for Boffetti. He was a public defender for 14 years in Rockingham County, managing the Stratham office for roughly a decade.

Shortly after joining the Attorney General's Office, he prosecuted homicide cases. He spent seven weeks prosecuting the insanity trial of Sheila LaBarre, who was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder in June 2008 for killing two boyfriends at her husband's Epping farmhouse.

In 2009, he was named bureau chief with the Consumer Protection & Anti-trust Bureau.

jkimble@newstote.com


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