Thursday, June 7, 2018

A Way to Get Positive Evaluations

The New Hampshire Supreme Court has imposed an interim suspension of a convicted former judge and attorney.

The Union Leader reported on the charges

Judge Paul Moore is facing accusations of faking potentially dozens of positive, anonymous judicial evaluations of himself, leading the Attorney General to launch a criminal investigation and the Supreme Court to place him on leave without pay.

Moore has been absent from his post at Nashua’s district court since mid-October. At the time, court officials declined to explain his absence. But newly released records from the Judicial Conduct Committee show concerns were first raised by court administrators earlier that summer. 

After spending months investigating, the conduct committee filed formal charges against Moore on Friday, which now jumpstarts proceedings against him. On Monday, the Attorney General’s office said it was opening a criminal investigation into whether Moore tampered with records, obstructed government administration and other charges. 

According to the complaint, Moore purposely attempted to interfere with his 2017 judicial performance evaluation in order to artificially improve his overall score on the evaluations. The state reviews between 18 and 20 judges every year on a rolling basis. 

Last July, a link to an online survey was emailed to Moore that allows judges to complete a self evaluation. A list of 90 randomly selected individuals and agencies were included, as they would each be sent a letter inviting them to complete an evaluation of Moore. 

Three days later, Moore emailed to request the removal of two former employees from the list of potential reviewers. He asked to add 148 names, including landlords, police and parole officers who appeared before him. 

But prior to a public announcement of Moore’s survey, completed evaluations began to come in. In less than 24 hours, he received 16 evaluations with perfect scores in every category, according to Waystack Frizzell, an attorney hired to investigate the case by the Judicial Conduct Committee.

Last week, Moore filed a response to the formal complaint where he admitted to submitting anonymous judicial evaluations of himself online as though some other person was submitting the evaluations. 

He also admitted to making the submissions on many occasions over several weeks using his personal computers, iPads, mobile phones and once or twice from his job at the Nashua District Court. 

The state’s highest court said it has decided to place Moore on administrative leave without pay to preserve the integrity of the Judicial Branch and the public’s trust. 

A judicial committee will meet March 26 to address the matter. 

The complaint alleges that there is probable cause to believe that Moore failed to comply with the Code of Judicial Conduct, failed to act in a manner that promotes public confidence of the judiciary, failed to avoid both impropriety and the appearance of impropriety and allowed his behavior to be influenced by fear of criticism. 

Moore, of Bedford, began his judicial duties in 2001. He also founded MooreMart, a volunteer organization that ships care packages to troops overseas. 

He was previously named the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News New Hampshire Citizen of the Year for 2011, and previously received the William A. Grimes award for judicial professionalism.

And on the recent plea

Placed on leave over concerns he submitted fake evaluations of his own performance, Circuit Court Judge Paul Moore told another lie — this one that chronic pain, anxiety, depression and traumatic stress prevented him from being a judge and he should start receiving a disability pension, a prosecutor disclosed Wednesday.

Moore appeared in Merrimack County Superior Court on Wednesday and admitted to the fraud. It was yet another blow to a popular Nashua judge who was a former U.S. Army Ranger and founded MooreMart, a nonprofit organization that has shipped more than 100,000 care packages to troops deployed overseas.

Moore had already resigned his judgeship, which he gave up after authorities became suspicious of perfect scores on job evaluations supposedly submitted by lawyers and the public last summer. In the weeks ahead, Moore is likely to be disbarred.

On Wednesday, Moore was fined $4,000, must repay $3,900 to the Judicial Retirement System and received a suspended jail sentence.

“He is no longer a judge. He no longer will receive retirement benefits. He walks out of this courtroom not a judge, but a felon,” said Associate Attorney General Jane Young.

Bar Discipline & Process, Judicial Ethics and the Courts | Permalink


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