In his ruling of the lawsuit filed by abutters to the Van Dyke condo project, judge Tucker ruled that Margaret Sharra did have ex-parte' communications with DES and that because of this unlawful conduct she disqualified herself from her participation and ruling on an abutters request for a reconsideration on the Planning Board's decision to over turn their denial of Van Dyke's application and that the board's decision be vacated and Sharra to be recused from the new hearing coming before the board this Monday night, Oct 5th at 6:00pm in the Town Hall auditorium. Word has it that Sharra is still meddling with the board and has appointed Dean Beaman to sit in as chair in her absence even though board member Larry Hill is the vice-chair and that she has appointed Ellen Cole to record the minutes over Princess Blodget; the board's secretary. She is also attempting to close the public hearing. How is attempting to stack the deck being fair to the public and how can these abutters hope to get a fair hearing based on evidence and facts?
quoting from the judge's decision:
"There is a problem with Sharra's decision to independently seek out evidence from the Division of Environmental Services in order to rebut the abutter's representations in his request for reconsideration, as well as her decision to present evidence to the Board without allowing the abutter to respond. No member of a planning board may participate in deciding or sit upon the hearing of any question which the Board is to decide in a judicial capacity if that member would be disqualified for any cause to act as a juror upon the trial of the same matter in any action of law. RSA 673:14, I (2008 supp.) If a juror sought information out-of-court on a case on which the juror was sitting, it would be cayse to dismiss the juror. See State v Sullivan, 157 N.H. 124.139 ( 2008 ) ( citing Kalianov v. Darland, 252.N.W.2nd 732,737 ( Iowa 1977 ) ). Here, Sharra's separate inquiry to DES disqualified her from participating in the board's discussion of the abutter's motion for reconsideration. Her involvement invalidates the Board's action on the motion. Winslow v. Holderness Planning Board 125 N.H. 262, 268 (1984 ).
The court finds and rules that the Planning Board's decision on the abutter's request for reconsideration must be vacated and the matter remanded to the board for a new determination on that motion."
This isn't the first time she has done this throughout these hearings, many times the abutter's attorney, Silas Little asked her to recuse herself for ex-parte' communications with other State Dept.s and the board, in it's ignorance voted her actions were okay and not unlawful when asked.
Our question here would also be, isn't the rest of the board tainted because of her participation in the beginning? Because they have heard evidence and made a previous decision based on this evidence, how can these abutters expect this board not to take that evidence into consideration when they make their decision? Can they be fair and just and base their decisions on this new hearing, or should they all be disqualified as other members of a jury would ? What's your opinion?