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AG Takes Over Hillsborough County Attorney Office, Cites 'Failures' Prosecuting Cases

Ali Oshinskie / NHPR
N.H. Attorney General Gordon MacDonald has designated David Mara, a former Manchester Police Chief, as Assistant Attorney General, to help run the Hillsborough County Attorney's prosecutorial obligations.

New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald announced Friday he is taking over the Hillsborough County Attorney's office, citing what he calls "systemic failures in the leadership of the prosecutorial function" of County Attorney Michael Conlon's office.

In a letter to Conlon, MacDonald references the handling of several criminal matters, and prosecutors in his office making decisions without his involvement or knowledge, and in some cases without informing the victims. One case involved charges being dropped in a domestic violence case that resulted in a death.

Credit Hillsborough County Attorney's office
Hillsborough County Attorney Michael Conlon.

"The administration of justice and the protection of the people of Hillsborough County requires swift action to ensure there is adequate leadership and oversight of prosecutorial functions," MacDonald writes. "Given these repeated failures, I conclude that it is necessary to assume control, direction, and supervision of the day-to-day criminal law enforcement functions of your office."

(Scroll below to read the AG's letters)

MacDonald said he is designating and will be appointing David Mara, a former Manchester Police Chief, as an Assistant AG to help oversee and administer the county attorney's office. Pending the appointment, Deputy AG Jane Young and Senior Assistant AG Benjamin Agati, Assistant AG Erin Fitzgerald are being assigned to the county attorney's office.

The county attorney, in a letter responding to the AG, suggested he took over an office that was in disarray, and that the state Department of Justice had been of little help or support.

In the response (scroll to the end of the post to read it in fulll), Conlon wrote that "the best thing for the office would be for me to remain as county attorney and coordinate with any resources that the Attorney General can provide to continue the progress that I have started since taking control of the office and accomplish our shared goals."

Conlon, a Democrat from Goffstown, was elected in 2018. The county attorney is the chief law enforcement officer in the county; the office has 11 prosecuting attorneys based in Manchester, and eight prosecutors based in Nashua. It has a total of six victim witness advocates.

(This is a developing story. This post will be updated with additional reporting. Information from the AP was included in this report.)

Read County Attorney Conlon's response to the AG:

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