Brock Impeachment Trial (2000)
Brock Trial Records at the UNH School of Law Library
On October 11, 2000, National Public Radio broke the news:
"NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE SENATE ACQUITS CHIEF JUSTICE DAVID BROCK OF THE FOUR ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT BROUGHT"
From that report:
In an historic impeachment trial, the New Hampshire state Senate has acquitted the state's highest judge on all charges. The state Senate yesterday voted down all four articles of impeachment against Chief Justice David Brock.
The allegations put forward by the House were complicated. They accused Brock of several offenses over a thirteen year period, including an improper conversation with a fellow justice about that judge's own divorce case. Many of the allegations were clouded by conflicting testimony.
Republican Jim Squires of Hollis stated, "There is no proverbial smoking gun, a tape recording or a video display of meetings or statements. We are confounded by the mysteries of memory that on occasion is astonishingly clear and in other instances utterly lacking."
State Senator Katie Wheeler (D-Durham) added, "Impeachment is an awesome weapon which should be used extremely sparingly. A mistake, an error in judgment cannot be an impeachable offense."
NPR reporter Trish Anderton concluded the report saying, "[t]he article that garnered the most votes charged Brock with overseeing a flawed recusal policy. Brock and his colleagues admitted justices who were disqualified from sitting on cases because of conflicts of interests were still allowed to help draft the opinions." . "Most senators were reluctant to blame Brock for a policy he inherited, and one the court insists never changed the outcome of a case. In the end, they acquitted Brock by wide margins. The white-haired chief justice immediately announced he'd go back to work, although it's not clear how long he'll stay. Brock reaches retirement age within a year."
One the same day, WMUR TV9 of Manchester, New Hampshire, reported, "It's over and it is official. New Hampshire Supreme Court Chief Justice David Brock has been acquitted on all four articles in his impeachment trial. After speeches by 22 senators, 18 voted to acquit and one voted to convict Brock on the first impeachment charge, 17 to 5 in favor of acquittal on the second charge. The vote on the third article, accusing Brock of lying to House investigators, was 18 to 4 in favor of acquittal. The vote on the fourth charge, involving the court's recusal practice, was 18 to four in favor of acquittal. Chief Justice Brock said he was ready to get back to work, and is looking forward to the court reconvening next month." The New York Times and Washington Post also covered the story.
On December 20, 2001, the Union Leader (Manchester, NH) reported that Rep. Janet G. Wall (D-Madbury) donated her records of the legislative investigation and impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice David A. Brock to the Franklin Pierce Law Center Library. The records include original legislation that led to the impeachment, notes from hearings and committee work by the House Judiciary Committee and notes pertaining to procedural issues, including the hiring of legal counsel to press the House case. Wall was one of six House Managers to work on the Senate impeachment trial.
Sen. Sylvia Larsen (D-Concord) donated her files from the Senate trial to the Law Center Library earlier in the year. Wall said her House records are more complete because they date back to the original investigation phase. "It is my hope and expectation that these historic files will provide a substantive record at the law center in the future for scholars who study this sad, but significant period in New Hampshire 's history," Wall said.
These records were reviewed by the Law Center Library Staff and indexed under the direction of Professor Jon Cavicchi. This page presents these indexes for general interest as well as user tools to the print collection located in the Law Center Library. A digital collection of full text documents can be found at: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/misc/impeachment.html