[The following was originally published in the Nashua Telegraph’s “Nashua… From the Inside” on February 20, 2011]
Roger “Rusty” Chadwick has been a fixture in the Hillsborough County attorney’s office for more than 11 years, prosecuting some of the region’s most notorious crimes, but all that will change Friday.
Chadwick, 46, said he’s moving from the old courthouse at 19 Temple St. to join the criminal defense law firm of Adam Bernstein and Ray Mello at 21 Temple St.
The move takes Chadwick back to his roots; he started his legal career in criminal defense as an aide to the defense team for one of the conspirators in the Pamela Smart case, and later as a public defender.
Although Chadwick notes he has served under five county attorneys in the last decade, the move has nothing to do with the latest, Dennis Hogan. Chadwick praised him for bringing stability to the office.
“I think things are in really good shape,” Chadwick said. “My leaving has nothing to do with his coming in.”
Rather, Chadwick said, he simply felt it was time for a change in his work, his schedule and (he hopes) his income.
“I am sad to leave, because I’ve enjoyed this job so much; the people are wonderful,” he said. “I think if you can walk out the door and be sad, that’s a good thing.”
Having more say in his schedule should help Chadwick to juggle other commitments. He also serves on the school committee in his hometown of Boxford, Mass., and is a Scoutmaster and basketball, baseball and soccer coach.
“Your kids are only young once, and you have a very limited window,” he said.
Chadwick’s most memorable cases as a prosecutor included several convicted sex offenders, all serving lengthy prison terms – Timothy Dupont, Jeremy Jennings, Zebediah Kellog Roe and Delvin White, to name a few – and Chadwick was among those who helped start the county’s Internet Task Force, which focuses largely on sex crimes against children.
The attempted murder case against Raymond Paul Thomas, of Nashua, which Chadwick tried twice, was perhaps his most intense courtroom drama, he said.
Overall, Chadwick said prosecutors share two major sources of satisfaction on the job:
“The first one is when you put a real bad guy away for several decades at a time.”
The other, equally if not more satisfying, is when a defendant gets a second chance, with probation, deferred sentences and court-ordered rehabilitation programs, and succeeds in making something of it.
“When someone comes in and has done all that and succeeded, that’s also my greatest day,” he said.
Nashua… From the Inside was compiled by staff writers Andrew Wolfe, Patrick Meighan, and Michael Brindley.