James Reams has served as the Rockingham County Attorney for the past 12 years. Rockingham County, New Hampshire is the single largest prosecution office in N.H. and is responsible for hiring and training 18 attorneys who prosecute thousands of cases each year in Rockingham County. James began his legal career when appointed Assistant County Attorney in the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office in 1977. After leaving prosecution, he entered private practice in the Seacoast area of N.H. concentrating in litigation until 1998. James is a member of the New Hampshire Bar, Maine Bar and Nebraska Bar, US District Court of New Hampshire and First Circuit Court of Appeals. This past November, James was given the “County Attorney of the Year” award by the New Hampshire Association of Counties.
James spearheaded the landmark prosecution when, in 2001, the Plaistow District Court searched the property of Christopher Devito in Newton, N.H. for evidence of running a “fighting dog” operation. Seized were 39 pit bulls and lots of evidence that the facility built by Devito was a training and fighting facility for the pit bulls. There were modified treadmills and hanging pulls to strengthen the jaws of the animals. They also seized a collapsible fighting ring, medical supplies and medicines and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash. The New Hampshire statutes for animal abuse made most of the operation misdemeanors. However, James charged Devito with training fighting dogs, which made the charges felonies. He was held on $100,000.00 cash bail and entered pleas of guilty to 23 charges of exhibition of fighting animals, brought under the state animal cruelty statute. He was sentenced to two to five years in state prison on the first charge and two to four years in prison on each of the remaining 22 charges, with those sentences suspended. James’s tough prosecution was unprecedented, as Devito was the first animal abuser to serve a prison sentence in New Hampshire.