Rich Bergeron: A recent experience with jury selection in Belknap County | Letters to the Editor

I recently had the opportunity to observe how the Superior Court of Belknap conducts the jury selection process. I was “lucky” to have my name called twice. The first was a civil case. The judge asks questions that could disqualify you as a juror if you answer yes to any of them. I had to answer a resounding yes since I personally investigated attorney Paul Fitzgerald, who represented the plaintiff in the case. I investigated Fitzgerald because former Judge James D. O’Neill III (recently retired) and Fitzgerald are very close friends who grew up living right across from each other on Old North Main Street in Laconia. It was a fact they each had an obligation to disclose whenever Fitzgerald and O’Neill worked together. This article covered very closely the Governor’s Island case involving Richard Homsi. Fitzgerald represented Governor’s Island against Homsi, and Judge O’Neill filed several rulings against Homsi in the case, including a massive judgment against Homsi filed on O’Neill’s last day on the bench. When I spoke to Judge Elizabeth Leonard about my jury duty conflict, I simply stated, “I have personally investigated Paul Fitzgerald for his failure to disclose his personal relationship with Judge O’Neill in a previous case.” I then looked to my right where Fitzgerald himself was standing, and he didn’t make eye contact with me at all. He further made no attempt to deny the allegation. In fact, he was literally speechless, just as he was after several phone calls to his office inquiring about his friendship with O’Neill. Fitzgerald and O’Neill appear to be “untouchable” in the local justice system. I have alerted all relevant authorities to their collusion, but am aware that no action has been taken to hold either of them accountable.

Martin E. Berry