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Governor and Council Hear Pardon Petition in Polling Place Arrest Case

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Jason Moon for NHPR
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Today Governor Chris Sununu and Executive Councilors heard testimony in a rare pardon hearing. 

The request for a pardon came from Joe Barton, who was convicted of resisting arrest during an incident at a Newmarket polling place during the 2014 general election.

Barton says he didn’t know that the person trying to arrest him was a police officer.

Barton was chairman of the Newmarket Republican Committee at the time. During his hearing Monday, he accused the arresting officer of having political motivations.

Barton lost at trial and has exhausted all of his legal appeals. He told councilors his only recourse to have the conviction removed immediately was a pardon.

“I don’t think it is special treatment. I think that this process is reserved for correcting errors made by judges.”

Barton says the misdemeanor on his criminal record may affect his security clearance for his job at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

The council could vote on Barton's request at its next meeting, on Dec. 19.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.

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