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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hudson Police captain’s trial on schedule

NASHUA – A former Hudson police captain is scheduled to stand trial later this month on a felony theft charge, alleging he falsified his work hours to gain more than his share of vacation time.

Capt. Donald Breault, 42, was placed on leave in the fall of 2009 and then fired on May 25, several months after his indictment on the felony theft charge in Hillsborough County Superior Court.

Prosecutors claim that Breault generated fictitious work hours on the Police Department’s computer work log, allowing him to earn roughly $2,639 in vacation hours.

Last month, prosecutors indicted Breault on a new, superseding felony theft charge, alleging the same offense but without specifying the exact worth of the allegedly unearned vacation time.

A conviction on the felony theft charge would carry a maximum of 7½ to 15 years in prison and a $4,000 fine.

Breault also faces 10 misdemeanor counts of computer-related offenses, alleging that he tampered with timekeeping data in the police computer network.

Jury selection for Breault’s trial is scheduled to begin March 14, and after meeting with Judge Jacalyn Colburn on Friday morning, lawyers for both sides said they have no reason to doubt it will proceed.

Breault’s lawyer, Eric Wilson, of Nashua, declined to comment other than to confirm it was ready for trial.

The prosecutors, Assistant Attorneys General James Vara and Elizabeth Woodcock, said they’re also ready for trial.

As to whether the case will proceed as scheduled, Vara said, “Who knows? Obviously, it’s the court’s decision.”

There are two judges now sitting in Hillsborough County Superior Court, and on Friday, Colburn handled trial management conferences for herself and her colleague. Between them, a total of 41 criminal cases and 10 civil and equity cases were scheduled to begin with jury selection on March 14.

Typical superior court trials can take anywhere from two or three days to two weeks, and a judge can handle only one at a time.

Statistically speaking, most of the criminal cases will eventually be resolved by plea bargains, and some of the civil lawsuits may be settled before trial.

A few of the cases simply weren’t ready, and they will be rescheduled along with the rest that the courts can’t reach; the process will be repeated, month after month.

Andrew Wolfe can be reached at 594-6410 or awolfe@nashuatelegraph.com.