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Bar News - December 13, 2013

Governor Nominates Four Circuit Court Judges


Susan Carbon

Robert James Foley

Margaret-Ann Moran

Pat Quigley
Two of the four people nominated to fill full-time judicial positions in the Circuit Court have already been hearing cases full-time, and a third has been sitting as a referee in probate court.

But like a leaky bucket that never quite fills up, as these nominations go through the confirmation process, more judges’ retirements loom.

Three full-time Circuit Court judges are hanging up their robes soon. Judge Daniel Cappiello, sitting in the 7th Circuit in Rochester, retires Dec. 17; Judge Peter Hurd, presiding over probate matters in the 10th Circuit in Brentwood, plans to retire Jan. 8, 2014; and Judge Thomas Bamberger in Nashua plans to retire and his last day will be March 14. Meanwhile, Judge Albert J. Cirone, a part-time judge who sits in the 2nd Circuit in Lebanon, announced he will retire in January. New Hampshire Circuit Court Deputy Chief Judge David King said he was unsure whether the court would seek to fill that position.

Three of the four judicial nominees put forward by Gov. Maggie Hassan and the Judicial Selection Commission last month already are familiar with judicial duties. Susan Carbon, a former full-time Circuit Court judge, was reappointed to a part-time position by Gov. John Lynch in 2012, after she returned from a stint as the director of the US Office of Violence Against Women in Washington, DC. But Carbon has been sitting full-time in Manchester, said King. Likewise, Robert James Foley has been presiding over cases on a full-time schedule as a marital master. If confirmed, his appointment as a full-time judge would qualify him to hear district division and probate cases as well.

“It’ll give us more flexibility,” said King. “It’s a net gain for sure.”

Pat Quigley, a staff attorney in the probate court who also hears some cases there as a referee, was also nominated for a full-time Circuit Court judge position. Margaret-Ann Moran is the only nominee who is entirely new to the NH Judicial Branch.

A partner at Upton & Hatfield in Hillsborough, Moran’s practice for the past 30 years has focused on the representation of school districts and school boards in student matters, including special education and discipline hearings, residency questions, and liable school district issues. Moran also serves on the Catholic Medical Center Board of Directors.

All this means that the Circuit Court’s scheduling woes are not over. “We’re hoping [the new judges are] on the ground and ready to go as close to January 1st as they can be,” said King, who was still working on the first quarter judicial assignment schedule as of late November.

All of the judicial nominations made by the governor must be confirmed by the NH Executive Council before the new judges can be sworn in. The council had scheduled public hearings on the nominations for Dec. 4 and 9, after Bar News press time.

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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