N.H. Judge Impeached

ByABC News
July 12, 2000, 1:57 PM

July 12 -- The New Hampshire House today impeached state Supreme Court Justice David Brock for his alleged interference in a 1987 divorce case and voted to send his case to the Senate for a trial.

A Senate trial could result in Brocks removal from the bench. The last time a New Hampshire Supreme Court justice wasimpeached was in 1790 when Woodbury Langdon was punished for poorattendance. Langdon resigned before his Senate trial. The final vote to impeach came after the House had given preliminary approval to three articles of impeachment, all by approximate 2-to-1 margins.

During todays seven-hour debate, GOP Rep. Albert Hamel said the House could restore the highcourts moral authority by voting for impeachment. I hope that wehave equal fortitude, guts, courage, to do what we have to do inthis situation, he said.

An Improper Phone Call

Brock is accused of making an improper call to alower-court judge in 1987 about a politically connected lawsuit. He is also accused of lying under oath and solicitingcomments from a fellow justice about that judges own divorce case and lying under oath during the investigation.  

We are not asking you to find anyone guilty here. This is nota trial, House Judiciary Chairman Henry Mock said in urging ayes vote.

Intentional Wrongdoing

The first article of impeachment alleged that Brock called the lower courtjudge to remind him that state Sen. Edward C. Dupont could help the court passlegislation, including a pay raise. Brock has denied making thecall; the article faults him both for making it and for not tellinghis colleagues about it.

The other articles claimed:

Brock solicited comments in February from then-Justice StephenThayer about matters involving Thayers divorce case. Thayerresigned to avoid possible criminal prosecution.

Brock perjured himself four times before the committee.Critics contend this is the weakest article.