Legal Ethics

Disgraced Former N.H. Judge: 'I Cried. Who Wouldn't?'

Cleaning out her desk at her Rockingham County Superior Court chambers on Friday, former N.H. judge Patricia Coffey was disgraced, broke and regretful.

Helping her husband, a disbarred lawyer, shield assets from creditors resulted in a three-year unpaid suspension from office by the state supreme court, instead of the three months that a disciplinary panel initially recommended. Initially stunned at this result, Coffey admits, “I cried. Who wouldn’t?” recounted the Union Leader.

Now, however, the 54-year-old Coffey is focusing on moving ahead with her professional life. She was notified last week by the New Hampshire Bar Association she is now listed as a lawyer in active practice, rather than in inactive status as a judge.

“She said she hopes to get a job practicing law or teaching law,” the newspaper writes. “Because her discipline involved her actions as a judge, not as a lawyer, there is nothing to prevent her from practicing law.”

Earlier coverage: “Judge Who Hid Disbarred Spouse’s Assets Steps Down” “Judge Who Tried to Hide Assets for Disbarred Husband Gets 3-Yr Suspension” “Judge Helped Spouse Shield Assets”

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