Sununu, Marriott Family Urge House To Back Rape Shield Bill

Apr 24, 2017

Credit Allegra Boverman

  Gov. Chris Sununu wants lawmakers in the New Hampshire house to get behind a bill strengthening New Hampshire's rape shield law.

The legislation is also backed by the family of Lizzi Marriott, the UNH student murdered 5 years ago by Seth Mazzaglia.

This bill springs from the legal strategy of Seth Mazzaglia’s defense team,  which sought to introduce evidence about Marriott’s sexual past during Mazzaglia’s murder trial.

The state’s highest court initially suggested that lMazzagia might be able to use such evidence during his appeal, before ruling it inadmissible.

Mazzaglia’s appeal failed, but law enforcement and anti-sexual violence groups want a law to explicitly bar a victim's sexual past from being offered as evidence at any stage of court proceedings.

In a statement, Governor Sununu said passing the Senate bill would "help ensure another family does not go through the painful and lengthy legal battle the Marriott family has had to undertake."

The House Criminal Justice Committee is expected to vote on the bill Tuesday.

Last month, the same committee removed language defining "sexual activity" from a near-identical bill.