CONCORD, NH – A Circuit Court judge accused of altering court records has resigned from the bench under an agreement signed Tuesday with the New Hampshire Judicial Conduct Committee.
Julie A. Introcaso, 56, of Bedford, who was appointed to the court in 2012, was arrested last week on two class B felony charges of falsifying physical evidence; two class A misdemeanor counts of tampering with public records or information, and one class A misdemeanor count of unsworn falsification.
The charges are tied to the parental case of Robin Partello v. David Campbell being heard in 9th Circuit Court, Hillsborough County – Family Division – Nashua.
In October, the conduct committee served Introcaso with a statement of formal charges accusing her of violating N.H. Supreme Court rules including failing to perform judicial responsibilities competently and diligently; failing to avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety; failing to cooperate with other judges and court officials in the administration of court business; failing to disqualify herself in a proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned; failing to cooperate with judicial disciplinary agencies; and failure to cooperate and be candid with the judicial disciplinary authority.
Per the agreement, Introcaso pleaded nolo to those violations.
Introcaso was charged criminally following the judicial conduct committee’s investigation.
The investigation started after Partello filed a complaint against Introcaso alleging she should have recused herself from the case because she had a conflict of interest; Introcaso was good friends with Attorney Kathleen Sternenberg, who Marital Master Bruce DalPra recommended be appointed the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) in the case.
Introcaso approved the appointment even though Sternenberg was on her recusal list. Introcaso, in answering the complaint, said she likely signed the order “without ever looking to see who he (DalPra) had appointed.”
The judge signed several more orders in the case, including one dated March 12, 2019, when she ordered Partello to pay Sternenberg’s $350 retainer by cash, check or money order. Partello wanted to use Apple Pay.
Three days later Introcaso issued a three-page hand-written order in which she recused herself from the case, explaining her conflict of interest and her “long-standing close friendship” with Sternenberg.
She acknowledged she should have recused herself back in October 2018 and that “in retrospect, my rulings and signatures may have created an impression with Ms. Partello that some impropriety on my behalf occurred.”
Introcaso was accused of later taking the file into her chambers and whiting out the Apple Pay Order at a time when she knew of the committee’s ongoing investigation. The committee, in its investigation, said there was “compelling circumstantial evidence” Introcaso whited out the Apple Pay Order.
The committee said the evidence strongly supports either the judge altered or concealed the whited-out order “with a purpose to impair its verity or availability to the committee investigating,” or she presented the whited-out order, which she had altered, “with a purpose to deceive a public servant who is or may be engaged in such proceeding or investigation,” which if true constitutes a felony charge of falsifying physical evidence.
The matter now goes before the N.H. Supreme Court for the imposition of formal discipline.
The criminal case is pending.