Moore blames forgeries on PTSD
NASHUA – The Nashua District Court judge suspended without pay for allegedly forging job evaluation surveys blamed his actions on PTSD and physical ailments.
Judge Paul S. Moore, currently suspended from his job without pay and facing a hearing before the Judicial Conduct Committee, also is now the subject of a criminal investigation into his alleged job review forgeries.
New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon McDonald announced Monday night that his office will investigate Moore through the Public Integrity Unit. The investigation will focus on whether Moore committed crimes such as tampering with public records, obstruction of governmental administration and unsworn falsification.
Moore, 59, of Bedford, was removed from the bench in October and escorted out of the Nashua Court House without any public explanation. He was placed on paid administrative leave at that time. That changed to unpaid leave this week with the announcement of formal charges from the Judicial Conduct Committee. During the investigation, Moore admitted to forging positive performance evaluations, and to trying to manipulate the system in other ways. He blamed these actions on his physical and mental
“I fostered personal and professional fears that my growing physical and mental symptoms would be detected by others through possible negative judicial evaluations of me,” Moore wrote in a letter responding to questions from the JCC investigative team.
Moore has an undisclosed chronic physical condition causing him pain, as well as post traumatic stress disorder, according to his statement. He writes he became preoccupied with the evaluation process when he learned he was going to be evaluated by the JCC in July. Along with fears about his condition becoming known, he also feared the process would not be fair to him.
“I allowed my anxiety about the process to interfere with my role as a judicial officer,” Moore wrote.
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, 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 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 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.
Damien Fisher can be reached at 594-1245 or firstname.lastname@example.org or @Telegraph_DF.