Expelled Rockingham County attorney to fight for his job
New Hampshire county attorney Jim Reams is seen In this photo taken Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 in Brentwood, N.H. Reams has been ordered off the job amid an investigation by state and federal prosecutors. Prosecutors say Reams was stripped of his prosecutorial authority Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013 and told not to return to his office. Deputy Tom Reid was put on paid administrative leave. State and federal officials would not say why they're investigating Reams. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Veteran Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams, who was stripped of his prosecutorial authority last week amid a state and federal investigation, will argue the action was unjustified and unconstitutional.
Reams will be in Merrimack Superior Court today to argue it was unprecedented for Attorney General Joe Foster to remove his authority and lock him out of his office last week.
Reams’s attorney, Michael Ramsdell, said the only other time a county attorney was removed from office was in 1975 and only after criminal charges were filed.
Ramsdell told the Associated Press that Reams has not been informed of any allegations against him by state and federal officials.
He said Reams was out of state and was “flabbergasted” when told by investigators that he was locked out of his office.
“Jim Reams was elected by the citizens of Rockingham County,” Ramsdell said. “He is a constitutional officer and not just someone who works for an agency.” He said there were thresholds that had to be met before a county attorney could be removed from office.
Reams has been county attorney since 1998. Ramsdell said he is being paid during his suspension.
Today’s hearing may prompt prosecutors to offer some information on the investigation to rebut Reams’s challenge. Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young would not comment on that prospect yesterday.
“We have to see how the hearing unfolds,” she said.
County commissioners placed Reams’s deputy county attorney, Tom Reid, on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation after being briefed by the attorney general’s office.
State and federal officials have not said why they’re investigating Reams, except to say they received complaints about the office.
Senior Assistant Attorney General James Boffetti was appointed acting county attorney during the investigation.
U.S. Attorney John Kacavas said last week the investigation could take weeks.
Kacavas would not indicate whether the FBI or other agencies have obtained or used search warrants.