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Impeachment Trial Against N.H. Chief Justice Begins

September 19, 2000|Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. — The New Hampshire Senate opened the state's first impeachment trial Monday, sitting as a jury to hear charges against State Supreme Court Chief Justice David A. Brock.

As the white-haired Brock looked on, House counsel Joseph Steinfield quoted from an opinion Brock wrote in 1996 about misconduct by a judge: "Without judges who are perceived and trusted by members of the public as impartial, the authority of the rule of law is compromised."

The House voted in July to impeach the 64-year-old Brock, a high court justice since 1981 and chief justice since 1986.

The House accused Brock of lying to its investigators, making an improper call to a lower court judge in 1987, soliciting comments from then-Justice W. Stephen Thayer III about Thayer's own divorce case in February, and routinely allowing judges to comment on cases from which they were disqualified.

Brock's lawyers contend that nothing he did was serious enough to warrant conviction.

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