NHDP - Candidate's Brother Threatens Campaign Volunteer

NHDP Says Conduct Crosses Line

Concord - District Court Judge Robert Stephen, the brother of Republican gubernatorial candidate John Stephen, threatened a campaign volunteer in Manchester with arrest last night for posting campaign signs on public property, despite that fact that Stephen's campaign has placed hundreds of signs on public property throughout New Hampshire.  The volunteer was placing signs in the same area as other campaign signs, but did not touch any other candidate's signs. 


Robert Stephen stopped his car and told the volunteer that he would call the police. The volunteer knew that Stephen was a judge. Stephen then went to the volunteer's place of employment and told the volunteer's co-workers that he was going to have their colleague arrested.


Some of the signs placed by the volunteer later "mysteriously" disappeared, despite a state law that prohibits the removal of a political sign placed on public property unless by authorized personnel. 


New Hampshire Democratic Party Executive Director Mike Brunelle asked why a sitting judge would threaten a volunteer with arrest for engaging in political activity,  "It is very inappropriate for a judge to threaten someone with arrest for putting up political signs simply because the signs don't support the judge's brother.  To then go to the volunteer's place of employment to tell his co-workers that he is going to have the co-worker arrested is even more outrageous."  


"Judge Stephen's  behavior was wrong, intimidating and demeaning to his office.  In New Hampshire, judges are not supposed to engage in political activity, and threatening a volunteer with arrest for putting up campaign signs crossed that line. No judge should ever threaten someone wirth arrest for participating in campaign activities, and any judge who attempts to interfere with someone's employment for engaging in political activity may want to remember this is the United States, not the Soviet Union," said Brunelle.


Canon 5 of New Hampshire's Judicial Code of Conduct says "A judge shall not engage in any other political activity except on behalf of measures to improve the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice."