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A former N.H. judge pleads guilty to tampering with case files; given a suspended sentence

photo of Introcaso speaking with her attorney Michael Delaney
Todd Bookman
/
NHPR
Julie Introcaso (R) speaks with her attorney Michael Delaney (L), a former state attorney general, during her sentencing.

A former circuit court judge will avoid serving a jail sentence after pleading guilty to charges that she tampered with court documents during an investigation into her handling of a conflict of interest.

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Julie Introcaso, 57, pleaded guilty on Monday to two counts of tampering with public records, as well as a charge of submitting false statements. She was accused by prosecutors of using Wite-Out correction tape to alter a previously signed court document in a family court matter in which she was friends with an assigned guardian ad litem.

Inside the same Nashua courthouse where Introcaso previously sat on the bench, Judge Charles Temple said Introcaso’s actions had “eviscerated trust” people hold in the legal system. Under the terms of her plea agreement, Introcaso was given a 12-month jail sentence, with all of that time suspended with good behavior, as well as 100 hours of community service.

Introcaso was allowed to use an Alford plea, a legal procedure in which she did not admit to the facts of the case, but acknowledged that prosecutors had enough evidence to achieve a guilty verdict.

State prosecutors said Introcaso, who was appointed to the bench in 2012, oversaw a child custody case despite having a friendship with a lawyer who was serving as a guardian ad litem in the matter. During that case, Introcaso signed off on rulings related to the guardian ad litem’s fees and method of payment.

Introcaso eventually recused herself from the case, but the Judicial Conduct Committee then opened an investigation into the matter after receiving a complaint from Robin Partello, one of the parties.

During the committee’s ongoing investigation, Introcaso is alleged to have taken the court file from the custody case into her private chambers, where she altered the court orders with Wite-Out.

Introcaso initially denied the claims when they were brought forward by the Judicial Conduct Committee, but later agreed to resign. Under the terms of her resignation, Introcaso was billed nearly $75,000 for the cost of the investigation.

In court Monday, Judge Temple permitted Partello, who was involved in the underlying family court case, to give a victim impact statement.

“My confidence in the judiciary is pretty low at this point,” Partello told the court. “And I have a hard time trusting any court official, at this moment, and that’s unfortunate. But that’s the work of Julie Introcaso.”

Partello asked the judge to impose a jail sentence on Introcaso, which he declined to do, noting that she had already lost her income, retirement plan, career and reputation.

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