NORTH HAVERHILL — As part of a plea deal, disgraced former Bartlett Police Chief Tim Connifey pleaded guilty last week to a misdemeanor committed during a February traffic stop in the town of Alexandria. In exchange for his plea, two felony indictments were dropped.
Alexandria is a town about 20 miles west of Meredith.
Grafton County Superior Court Judge Lawrence MacLoud approved a plea agreement between Connifey, 59, of Bristol and the Grafton County Attorney's Office on Sept. 1.
Grafton Superior Court is located at 3785 Dartmouth College Highway in the town of North Haverhill.
Connifey pleaded guilty to one count of Class A misdemeanor "unsworn falsification." The criminal complaint says Connifey committed the crime on Feb. 17.
"Timothy Connifey knowingly, with the purpose to deceive Chief David Suckling of the Alexandria Police Department while he was performing a motor vehicle stop, submitted or invited reliance on a writing which he knew to be lacking in authenticity when he presented a Bartlett Police Department Identification Card which he knew not to be valid," states the criminal complaint filed in August by Assistant Grafton County Attorney Antonia Barry.
In the deal MacLoud approved Sept. 1, Connifey was given a six-month jail sentence that was deferred for two years, which means the sentence is postponed pending a hearing in two years to determine if Connifey has met the terms of the sentence which involves completing 50 hours of community service by Sept. 1, 2023. He is also supposed to be of good behavior and return all property to the Bartlett Police Department.
Suckling in a phone conversation Wednesday said the only Bartlett Property Alexandria Police has is the seized ID that will go back to Bartlett. Suckling declined to comment on the plea deal.
As part of the plea deal, two felony-level "false personation" of a police officer indictments were dropped. A Grafton County Superior Court grand jury handed up the indictments in June. One of the indictments was for the Feb. 17 incident. The other alleged that Connifey showed Suckling the same identification on a different day, Jan. 28.
It appears that Connifey didn't have to appear in court as he signed waiver documents stating that he waived his right to be present.
Attorney Eric Wilson of Wilson Bush & Keefe of Nashua represented Connifey.
According to Suckling's probable cause statement filed in April, on Feb. 17 at about 7 a.m., Suckling was driving east on the Ragged Mountain Highway toward Bristol. That's when he saw a Subaru Forester traveling west with its windshield "completely covered in ice and snow and the windshield wipers were in the forward position away from the glass."
Suckling said he stopped the vehicle near Pattee Hill Road.
He said the driver (Connifey) motioned to him that the driver's side window was frozen shut, and Suckling gave him permission to open the door.
Suckling asked Connifey about the snow and ice covering his car.
"He really didn't say much about it, he just kind of sat there smiling, but he did say that he was on his way to work. He told me that he worked in lift operations at (Ragged) Mountain."
Connifey then produced a Massachusetts driver's license and registration. He also removed from his wallet a police identification card. The card was "sitting there in plain view," facing Suckling, the Alexandria chief said.
"I believe that he was showing me the ID in the hope I would give him some kind of professional courtesy and not write him a ticket," said Suckling.
"I asked him which agency he was from, and he told me Bartlett."
Suckling went back to the cruiser and ran Connifey's details. He also called Sgt. Spencer Marvin of Danbury police and told him about the stop, and Marvin told him that Connifey was a felon.
Suckling said the registration on the vehicle came back "canceled" and told Connifey the car would need to be towed. He also asked Connifey about the ID and said Connifey told him that he was retired.
According to Suckling, Connifey called him twice on the morning of Feb. 19. The first time Connifey asked about how to get his car back. Suckling said while he had Connifey on the phone, he asked about the ID but Connifey "deflected" his question.
During the second call, Suckling said he asked Connifey about the ID.
"Connifey went on to say, 'You know what happens if I get arrested?' He said that he 'would lose his job, and his family,'" Suckling said. "He said that 'no matter the outcome it was going to cost him thousands in lawyer fees.' Connifey told me his background in law enforcement and how he worked for 29 years. He said that it was 'a bad end to a good career.'
"There was no doubt that Connifey was trying to influence me in making a decision not to write a warrant for him."
Suckling noted in his affidavit there was nothing on the ID that indicated Connifey was retired.
Twenty years ago, when he was Newfields' police chief, Connifey was hired by Bartlett to be their new chief in December 2001. He took over a post vacated by Bob Snow, who resigned suddenly in August 2000.
In September 2016, Connifey was sentenced to spend 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to felony perjury for lying to a grand jury about having a sexual relationship with a female defendant.
The sentence was the result of a plea deal that Carroll County Superior Court Judge Amy Ignatius approved despite reservations that it was too light.
He also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor official oppression for failing to recuse himself from prosecuting his lover. For the misdemeanor charge, Connifey received a 12-month jail sentence that was suspended for three years.
At the time of his 2016 sentencing, Connifey apologized to the town of Bartlett, local officers and the court. “I will carry this stain forever and the shame that goes along with it,” he said. “My family and others around me suffer as a result of my actions.”