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April 21. 2014 8:44AM

AG to appeal ruling reinstating County Attorney Jim Reams

CONCORD -- The Attorney General's Office is appealing a Superior Court judge's ruling that would return Rockingham County Attorney James Reams, suspended in March amid allegations of ethical violation, sex discrimination and financial mismanagement, to his elected position.

On March 11, the attorney general and the Rockingham County Commissioners filed a "Petition to Remove" Reams based on those allegations, but on April 10 Merrimack County Superior Court Judge Richard McNamara ruled the attorney general does not have the authority to suspend an elected official unless the charges are criminal. The attorney general has said the allegations are not criminal.

"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," Attorney General Joseph A. Foster said in a prepared release. "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."

Reams has said he will not seek reelection.

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