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Judge won't set aside verdicts against Alton government critic

By BEA LEWIS
Union Leader Correspondent

March 22. 2018 8:24PM
Laconia Circuit Court Judge Michael Garner has denied a request by Alton's Jeffrey Clay to set aside guilty verdicts on disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. (Bea Lewis/Union Leader Correspondent)



LACONIA — A circuit court judge has denied an Alton man’s request to set aside guilty verdicts on disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from an Alton selectmen’s meeting.

Jeffrey Clay was convicted of the two misdemeanor charges in January.

His February sentencing was delayed after his lawyer, Jared Bedrick of Concord, filed a motion asking the judge to reconsider the verdicts.

Judge Michael Garner, who presided over Clay’s bench trial, denied the motion March 11. The court mailed a notice of decision to Clay the next day, along with a request he pay a $744 fine.

Clay has said he would appeal his conviction to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

Clay, 58, was arrested the first time on Feb. 3, 2015, after telling selectmen they had violated the Right-to-Know law and should resign.

The disorderly conduct charges stemming from that incident were dismissed. Clay sued for damages and won.

He was arrested again at the board’s Feb. 22, 2017 meeting.

In 2014, Clay forced the city of Dover to make public the score sheets used to evaluate candidates for the superintendent of schools post there.

A Strafford County Superior Court judge ordered the release of the names of all 32 candidates for the position and later directed that the score sheets be turned over as well.

Dover released the names but appealed release of the score sheets, asserting Judge Brian Tucker had erred in evaluating the exceptions to the right to know law.

Last February, the state Supreme Court overturned Tucker’s ruling, finding the score sheets are exempt from being made public.


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