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AG says possible appeal by Reams could be 'fatal' to removal action
Rockingham County Attorney James Reams wants the state Supreme Court to decide whether past allegations against him can be dismissed in his upcoming removal trial. (JAMES A. KIMBLE/FILE PHOTO)
Superior Court Judge Richard McNamara, who is presiding over the removal proceedings, will be left to decide whether Reams can solicit a decision from the state’s highest court.
State prosecutors say that if McNamara allows Reams’ request, it could essentially kill most of their case seeking to remove him from elected office.
Ramsdell cited a pair of 1973 state Supreme Court decisions that dealt with efforts to remove a Grafton County sheriff and Hillsborough County commissioner.
McNamara suggested during a May 23 conference with lawyers involved in the case that Reams’ motion to dismiss charges might be best addressed by the Supreme Court, Ramsdell said in court papers. Reams then filed his request for the interlocutory appeal.
Much of the allegations regarding sexual harassment and discrimination against female subordinates in the office would be thrown out if the court agreed with Ramsdell’s bid for dismissal.
He argued that his client could suffer “substantial injury” from litigating his case. Reams has paid “tens of thousands of dollars” in legal costs while fighting his suspension in court. Reams returned to work after striking an agreement with the state in April.
Edwards said in a court motion that the public and Reams’ employees who were subjected to harassment would be the ones harmed if the removal case is never fully aired.
Edwards mentioned in her argument that the state also wants aired recent allegations that Reams re-designated a person as being “cleared” from a state-mandated list that catalogs police officers with potential witness credibility issues.
Conway, who has worked for Reams since 1999, is currently running for county attorney in the Republican primary. Lamb and Conway have not been accused of any wrongdoing.
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