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Lawmakers Propose Changes in Oversight of County Attorney Offices

Dan Tuohy / NHPR


Lawmakers will consider a bill this session that would change the way the state oversees county attorney offices.

The proposed bill would require the Attorney General's office to get approval from the Executive Council before taking over control of criminal cases from a county attorney.

Under current law, county attorneys are elected every two years, but the Attorney General can take over the county attorney’s office if it determines the county attorney is not doing its job.

The Attorney General recently took this step in Hillsborough County, saying county attorney Michael Conlon had failed to do his job and criminal prosecutions were suffering as a result. The decision drew a rebuke from Democrats in Manchester and on the Executive Council. 

“I believe the bill is needed because one person should not be able to single-handedly turn over the results of an election,” says the bill's primary sponsor, Representative Andrew Bouldin, a Democrat. 

Bouldin says getting the Executive Council involved will allow both sides to get a fair hearing before a decision is made.

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Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.

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