Judge allegedly forged dozens of evaluations
District Court judge formally charged with interfering with his judicial review
NASHUA – A Nashua District Court judge in on leave without pay after it was learned he forged dozens of evaluations as part of the state’s review of his position, according to documents released Monday by the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
The Telegraph has attempted to obtain documents related to Judge Paul S. Moore, 59, and his evaluations from last year. The New Hampshire Administrative Office of the Courts denied a request by The Telegraph seeking copies of Moore’s evaluations, stating that the Judicial Branch is not subject to the state’s Right to Know law.
On Monday, however, the Supreme Court released a trove of documents after Moore was formally charged with interfering in his judicial review. Moore, a Bedford native, is due in Concord for a hearing in May to answer to the charges.
Judges are chosen at random every year to be reviewed by the Judicial Conduct Committee by people who have had business before the court. Moore was notified on July 10 that he would be reviewed, and by the morning of July 11, 2017, 16 evaluations had been sent into the committee via the online survey program. The reviews all contained perfect scores for Moore in every category, according to the statement of charges.
“Several of the evaluations which were submitted on Tuesday, July 11, 2017, contained narrative comments containing phrases that Judge Moore was known to use frequently in his dictated orders, and a number of these evaluations contained punctuation marks such as exclamation points which are not normally seen in such judicial evaluations,” the statement of charges allege.
These evaluations were coming in, even though the public notice inviting reviews of Moore had yet to be made public. By July 12, after an e-bulletin went out from the New Hampshire Bar Association News, Moore had dozens of reviews, 80 percent of which were positive.
The unusually high volume, and the disproportionate number of perfect scores raised suspicions, according to the documents released Monday. A September confidential memo to the Supreme Court Chief Justice Linda Dalianis states that the committee decided to check internet protocol, or IP, addresses to find out where all the reviews were coming from.
One IP address was responsible for 12 perfect scores, all coming in during times Moore was not serving in court. The IP address was traced to Newport, near where Moore has a vacation home, according to the memo. The memo also alleges Moore was trying to “stuff the ballot” by getting police and probation officers, and landlords who had business in his court, to give him favorable reviews.
Moore was removed from the bench on Oct. 16 and placed on leave with pay. At the time, officials refused to give details behind Moore’s removal. Moore is now on unpaid leave, and due for a hearing before Supreme Court Chief Judge Robert Lynn on May 11. The matter also has been referred to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Public Integrity Unit.
Damien Fisher can be reached at 594-1245 or firstname.lastname@example.org or @Telegraph_DF.