Date March 19, 2002


Laura Kiernan
Court Information Officer
271-2646 x359




CONCORD—Gail M. Richards, the deputy clerk in Carroll County Superior Court, will receive a Spirit of the Judiciary Award on March 26th in a ceremony at the historic courthouse in Ossipee, Chief Justice David A. Brock announced today. The event will launch the third year of the Spirit of the Judiciary Award program, which recognizes outstanding service by Judicial Branch employees.

"We will be visiting courthouses around the state this year to honor dedicated employees for their commitment both to the justice system and to the citizens of New Hampshire," the Chief Justice said. "These employees are essential to the administration of justice and they deserve our thanks," he added.

Chief Justice Brock will present the award to Richards, who began her career in Carroll County Superior Court in January 1997, after working for six years with New Hampshire Probation and Parole. Richards, who runs the criminal department in addition to her responsibilities as deputy clerk, was nominated for the award by Carroll County Supervisory Judge James D. O’Neill III, and Clerk Samuel C. Farrington.

In making the nomination, they credited Richards for "both her industriousness and her outstanding ability to bring human understanding to all who come into contact with her as a representative of the Court."

"Many of the matters before the Court, particularly felony matters, can become extremely stressful for all involved; law enforcement officers, victims, witnesses, attorneys and defendants," O’Neill and Farrington wrote. "Gail brings to this volatile process not only an ability to retain her professional composure; but also to clearly project a feeling that the court is fully committed to serving all who have business before it," they said.

Richards said that her experience with the probation and parole office in Ossipee, where she was a case technician, helped prepare her for her job in the courthouse.

Shortly after she began working at Superior Court, Richards took over all the clerical duties in the criminal division, which had been the job of two people. Last year, Richards processed approximately 400 criminal cases on her own, in addition to her role as deputy clerk of the court. The workload and the limited staff are an ongoing challenge for the staff, she said.

"We all try to work together and help each other whenever possible. You just keep doing the best you can," Richards said.

"It’s nice to be recognized," she added, "but everybody works just as hard as I do."

Richards lives in Madison with her husband, Leo, and their two daughters, Kristen, 19, and Lindsey, 17.