Today, Governor Chris Sununu nominated Melissa Beth Countway of Alton to serve on the New Hampshire Supreme Court. If confirmed, Countway will succeed Justice Gary Hicks, who will retire at the close of business on November 30, 2023.
“Judge Countway is a dedicated professional who has served the people of New Hampshire in a variety of roles throughout our justice system for decades,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “Her knowledge and experience on the Circuit Court will be particularly invaluable to her work on the bench to strengthen New Hampshire’s judicial branch and represent Granite Staters fairly.”
Judge Countway has served as a New Hampshire Circuit Court Judge since August 2017. In this role she presides over Family Court and District Court cases and has also presided over the mental health courts in Portsmouth and Plymouth.
Prior, she was the Belknap County Attorney from 2011 to 2017 – the chief law enforcement officer of the county who was responsible for prosecuting felony crimes. In addition to court room litigation pertaining to criminal law, the role involved reviewing felony referrals from police agencies, making charging decisions, setting bail, engaging in plea negotiations, and trying cases.
“I am incredibly honored by Governor Sununu’s nomination to the Supreme Court,” said Judge Countway. “As a Circuit Court judge for the last six years, I understand the complexities of the many different case types that come before the Court and how the law intersects with New Hampshire citizens’ lives. As Belknap County Attorney I had an active felony trial practice for over six years, and I have also been a small business owner with a focus on real estate law. I understand how important the judiciary is to the citizens of New Hampshire, and I promise to uphold the State and Federal constitutions and interpret our laws fairly and impartially.”
From 2010 to 2011 she was a Police Prosecutor at the Alton Police Department, representing the State of New Hampshire in all District Court prosecutions originating from the Department. She was Managing Member of Alton Law Offices, PLLC from 2006 to 2011; an Associate with Orr & Reno, P.A. from 2003 to 2004; and a Law Clerk for the New Hampshire Supreme Court from 2002 to 2003.
A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law in 2002, she served on the North Carolina Law Review. Melissa has also earned her Masters in Education from the University of New Hampshire, along with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics.
In 2014, she received the Friend of Recovery Award.
Following the nomination at the November 8th Governor and Council meeting, the Executive Council will hold a public hearing on the nomination, and a confirmation vote will likely take place at a subsequent Governor and Council meeting.