The County Attorney’s Office is responsible for prosecuting most Felonies and all Misdemeanor Appeals that occur in Rockingham County. While the County Attorney is a constitutional officer, the Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer for the State of New Hampshire. The County Attorney’s Office is responsible for and exercises general supervisory control over the enforcement and prosecution of the criminal laws of the State. In Rockingham County, the County Attorney’s Office prosecutes for 37 Police Departments, the Sheriff’s Department, the New Hampshire State Police and various State agencies.
The Rockingham County Attorney’s Office employs 19 attorneys, 2 investigators, 3 victim/witness coordinators and 13 support staff. 17 attorneys prosecute felony cases and 2 of the attorneys handle district court cases for various towns throughout the County. The felony Assistant County Attorneys are divided into teams covering three geographic regions of the county. County Attorney Conway analyzed the three regions upon taking office and changed them in order to guarantee that all of the teams are handling an equal amount of cases.
Rockingham County Superior Court is the busiest superior court in the State. According to the New Hampshire Judicial Branch, 1,592 criminal cases and 4,265 criminal charges were filed in the Rockingham County Superior Court. The number of indictments filed by this Office increased 39% from the year 2013 to the year 2014 without an increase in staff. From 2012 to 2014, the number of cases that the various police departments sent to the office increased 34%.
The Court did not schedule or hear any trials for 20 weeks out of the calendar year. This Office conducted approximately 80 jury trials in 2014. Jury trials can generally take anywhere from 2 to 14 days to complete. The remainder of the cases were resolved through negotiated dispositions.
In addition, 251 probation violations and 26 New Hope violations were prosecuted by this office. The average caseload for each felony prosecutor was 106. This number does not include probation violations and post- conviction matters that are routinely filed and litigated by the Office.
The County Attorney continues to be proactive in providing assistance during the earliest stages of a case. Prosecutors are available to answer questions and to go to a crime scene to assist in investigations and charging decisions 24 hours a day. All prosecutors are periodically scheduled to be “on-call” at night and on weekends. Prosecutors are “exempt” employees who do not receive overtime or other consideration for this added duty. The prosecutors recognize that this is an important function that results in better investigations, better prosecutions, and protection of the rights of citizens of the County. Duty calls from police departments were 233 in 2014.
The mission of the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office is to provide professional and ethical prosecutorial services for the people of Rockingham County with the ultimate goals of achieving justice for victims of crime and reducing crime and recidivism.