CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled yesterday that it will not delay suspended Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams’ return to office while the state appeals a lower court ruling that could put him back on the job.
A Superior Court judge ruled April 10 against Foster’s bid to keep Reams out of office until the court hears Attorney General Joseph Foster’s petition to permanently remove him.
The judge postponed the effective date of his order until early next month to allow Foster to seek a stay from the Supreme Court.
Reams may be able to return to office as early as mid-May.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young said yesterday the order invites the Superior Court to reconsider its stay.
“That is an action that the attorney general will be taking,” she said.
Reams and his lawyer, Michael Ramsdell, have denied that he used lewd language, inappropriately touched female staffers and retaliated against women who became pregnant.
They also say there’s no merit to charges that he mishandled office funds.
Reams has challenged the legality of his suspension on that grounds that Foster does not have the power to suspend him without criminal charges being filed. Charges were filed the last time a county attorney was suspended from office decades ago.
The Supreme Court also denied Foster’s request for an expedited hearing.
Reams has said he won’t run for re-election to the office he was first elected to in 1998. His term expires in January.
The superior court trial on the removal petition is scheduled to begin Aug. 4.