HA 1 – AS INTRODUCED
HOUSE ADDRESS 1
This address seeks the removal by address of Associate Justice Patricia C. Coffey from the New Hampshire superior court.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [
in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eight
AN ACT for the removal of Patricia C. Coffey, superior court justice, from office.
Be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
The house of representatives and senate in general court convened, under part 2, article 73 of the New Hampshire constitution satisfied that the public good requires that the cause for removal is stated fully and substantially, that there is reasonable cause for removal, that the grounds for removal are not sufficient grounds for impeachment, and that the public good requires that Patricia C. Coffey, superior court justice, should no longer hold and retain her judicial office, respectfully address and request your excellency, with the advice and consent of the council, to remove said Associate Justice Patricia C. Coffey from office. Causes for removal are stated substantially as follows:
1. In 2003, Superior Court Associate Justice Patricia C. Coffey aided in a transfer of some of her husband’s assets to a trust. Three pieces of real property were transferred to a trust with Associate Justice Coffey as the sole trustee. The transfers resulted in the real property becoming less accessible to creditors of Associate Justice Coffey’s husband and others to whom he might incur future financial obligations. At the time of the transfers, a case involving her husband was under investigation by the Professional Conduct Committee. If Associate Justice Coffey’s husband were to have lost his case then pending before the Professional Conduct Committee, one possible resolution of that case would have involved an assessment of substantial costs and expenses upon Associate Justice Coffey’s husband.
2. In October of 2007, Associate Justice Coffey signed a Stipulation of Facts in a proceeding of the New Hampshire Supreme Court’s Judicial Conduct Committee arising out of the facts and circumstances of the transfer of assets in 2003.
3. In her Stipulation of Facts, Associate Justice Coffey “agrees that she has violated Canons 1 and 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct [in that] she failed to observe standards of personal conduct to ensure that the integrity and independence of the judiciary will be preserved.”
4. Based on the Stipulation of Facts, the alternate panel of the Judicial Conduct Committee determined that what occurred was “serious misconduct” and recommended to the supreme court that Associate Justice Coffey be subject to public censure, a 3-month suspension without pay, and an order to reimburse the Judicial Conduct Committee for expenses related to the proceedings.
5. Associate Justice Coffey’s conduct as set forth in her Stipulation of Facts does not constitute bribery, corruption, malpractice, or maladministration, in office, as required for an impeachment under part 2, article 38 of the New Hampshire Constitution.
6. Associate Justice Coffey’s conduct as set forth in her Stipulation of Facts has violated the public’s confidence that judges must meet high standards of conduct and integrity and avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.