Monday, November 30, 2009

Sheriff, Deputy, County, Reporter & Paper Sued

Dave Lovejoy was a candidate for Rockingham County (NH) Sheriff in 2008, when the person holding the office and one of his deputies leaked information about Mr. Lovejoy's annulled criminal record to the press, just over a week before the election.

Sheriff James "Dan" Linehan and his second-in-command Maj. Mark Peirce unlawfully told Portsmouth Herald reporter Karen Dandurant that Mr. Lovejoy had been "involved in a case of simple assault" in 1989. It appears that the Sheriff's office did not tell Ms. Dandurant that the case had been annulled, but when reached for comment, Mr. Lovejoy informed her of this fact. Under New Hampshire law, annulled cases can not be disclosed under any circumstances.

The state Attorney General's office investigated and last week, both Sheriff Lineham and Major Peirce resigned. To avoid prosecution, Mr. Lineham promised that he'd never seek another law enforcement position and both relinquished their law enforcement credentials.

On October 27th of 2008, Karen Dandurant of the Portsmouth Herald wrote an article, which included comments by the Sheriff about Mr. Lovejoy's knowledge of courtrooms because he's been involved in 22 civil cases and she discloses that the paper was "provided" with information about Mr. Lovejoy's arrest. When reached for comment, Mr. Lovejoy told the reporter that the case was part of a "domestic dispute" and that his conviction had been annulled.

Ms. Dandurant is no longer employed by the paper, but because a crime has been established by the state's AG, Mr. Lovejoy has filed a four-count lawsuit against the former Sheriff, the Deputy, the county, the reporter and her paper. He has also asked the county delegation to name him interim Sheriff based on his status as runner-up in 2008.
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