Courts

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A New Hampshire woman has been accused of concealing the death of her newborn child by putting the body in a metal box that was kept in a storage unit.

Gretchen Digman was indicted by a Grafton County grand jury.  The indictment released last week accuses the 42-year-old Digman, of Bristol, of hiding the baby's corpse and not telling authorities about the death sometime between January 2014 and May 2016.

Prescription Drug Treatment Info / Flickr/CC

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office is blocking a request by federal law enforcement agents to turn over drug prescribing information collected by the state.

In June, the Drug Enforcement Administration served a subpoena to Michelle Ricco-Jonas, program manager for the New Hampshire Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

 

A former New Hampshire judge who admitted he wrote fake evaluations of himself and attempted to defraud the state retirement system has been disbarred.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court on Thursday ordered that Paul Moore no longer practice law in the state.

Moore was a Nashua district judge. Prosecutors began investigating him after he was accused of submitting false performance evaluations. Moore didn't dispute that and resigned in April.

NHPR File Photo

 

A judge has rejected a request from a Vermont man to dismiss a lawsuit filed by his family accusing him of killing his millionaire grandfather and possibly his mother in an attempt to collect inheritance money.

Judge David King scheduled a 10-day trial in probate court for Nathan Carman, starting in 2019.

NHPR File Photo

 

Lawyers for two young sisters who were sexually abused by their parents while in foster care deserve 40 percent of the $6.75 million settlement they reached with New Hampshire's child protection agency, a judge ruled Friday.

s_falkow via Flickr Creative Commons

A New Hampshire judge who says he submitted anonymous online judicial evaluations of himself has resigned.

Circuit court Judge Paul Moore submitted a one-sentence resignation Tuesday, effective immediately.

The attorney general's office started investigating Moore's conduct last month.

The state Supreme Court sent the Judicial Conduct Committee a complaint against Moore last fall.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

State lawmakers are considering a deeper study of asbestos issues in New Hampshire. It would look at how fairly and quickly people who were exposed to the toxic substance can get compensation.

But asbestos lawsuits are all but nonexistent in the Granite State.

Instead, the legislature’s interest in the issue stems from a national campaign – and it has some advocates worried about obstacles for future cases.

 

A New Hampshire judge has scheduled a hearing on a request for more information from a man accused by family members of killing his millionaire grandfather and possibly his mother.

Nathan Carman has been called a suspect in the 2013 shooting death real estate developer John Chakalos in Connecticut. No one's been arrested. He's also been questioned about the day his boat sank with his mother, Linda Carman, aboard near Rhode Island in 2016. She's presumed dead.

New Hampshire Courts Launch Bail Reform Initiative

Mar 19, 2018
N.H. Superior Court

New Hampshire's judicial branch announced today that it’s going to be taking a serious look at bail reform.

To avoid incarcerating people for too long simply because they can’t afford bail, court officials will begin working with the Pretrial Justice Institute to find ways to improve bail practices.

All Things Considered host Peter Biello spoke with New Hampshire Superior Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau about the initiative.


NHPR File Photo

 

A New Hampshire circuit court judge has been suspended without pay because of allegations that he submitted fake evaluations of his job performance.

 

Judge Paul Moore sits on the Nashua District Court. He has been on leave since last year.

 

According to documents released yesterday, Moore interfered with the evaluation system the state courts use to assess the performance of judges, in order to boost his own score.

 

Courtesy NH State Police

On October 3rd, 2016, around 7:45 at night, a New Hampshire State Trooper pulled over a red Hyundai with Massachusetts plates heading northbound on I-95.

According to the police report, the car was going 66-mph in a 65-mph zone, and was tailgating behind a pickup truck. The driver of the car, a man named Alexander Temple, appeared nervous. The trooper noticed his hands were shaking.

Jury Finds Man Guilty in Plot to Kill Judge, former Mass. A.G.

Jan 31, 2018
File photo

  A man has been convicted in federal court in New Hampshire of receiving guns and hand grenades as part of a plot to kill his ex-wife's husband, a federal judge, and a former Massachusetts attorney general.

A jury on Tuesday found 69-year-old Edward McLarnon, of Malden, Mass., guilty of receiving firearms with intent to commit murder, plus several weapons and explosive charges.

Evidence showed that McLarnon contacted an arms dealer who was actually an undercover FBI agent in 2015. McLarnon paid $700 for the weapons and was taken into custody shortly afterward.

Lawyer: Man Accused in Murder-for-Hire Plot Was Set Up

Dec 7, 2017
Plainfield Police

The attorney for a New Hampshire man accused of participating in a failed murder-for-hire plot targeting his ex-wife says he was set up by a prosecution witness.

The trial started Wednesday for 63-year-old Maurice Temple. He's charged with criminal solicitation of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and attempt to commit murder.

He and his mother, 83-year-old Pauline Chase, were arrested in July after the witness, Mark Horne, agreed to secretly record police-authorized phone and video conversations.

Plainfield Police

  A judge has ruled one of two defendants in a murder-for-hire case out of Plainfield is not competent to stand trial.

Pauline Chase, 83, was charged with plotting to pay a local man to kill her son's ex-wife. That man, the would-be hit man, ended up going to the police. He recorded phone calls and videos for police investigators of his interactions with Chase and her son.

Sheehan, Phinney, Bass & Green

Gov. Chris Sununu will nominate attorney Anna Barbara Hantz of Stratham to the state Supreme Court Wednesday.

Beth via Flicr CC

The New Hampshire House has passed a bill that would require courts to instruct jurors of the option of jury nullification. That’s when a jury can return a verdict of not guilty if the jurors believe a guilty verdict would be unjust. Juries in New Hampshire already have the right to jury nullification, though it’s rarely used.

Joining All Things Considered for a look at jury nullification is Buzz Scherr. He’s a professor at UNH School of Law.

Can you give us an example of how jury nullification has been used in New Hampshire?

s_falkow via Flickr Creative Commons

 

 Governor Hassan has nominated Manchester Attorney David Ruoff as Superior Court justice, after three Republican councilors blocked the confirmation Manchester attorney, Dorothy Graham.

Chris Sununu, who is running for Governor, argued Graham’s twenty years as a Public Defender made her unqualified to be a judge.  The councilors stood by their decision despite vocal pushback from the legal community.

Gilford Woman To Fight $25 Topless Citation In Court

Oct 13, 2015
Emily Corwin for NHPR

A Gilford woman facing a $25 dollar fine for going topless at a beach in her hometown is heading to trial to fight it. She says her goal is to prove that ordinances banning female toplessness violate women’s civil rights.

And this isn’t the first time Heidi Lilley has gone topless on the beach.

Dreamstime via Flickr CC

For the first time in decades, court-appointed lawyers who represent the poorest  clients will get a raise.

The raise from $60 to $100 dollars an hour would apply only to major crimes that take hundreds of attorney hours, like capital murder, and felonious sexual assault. The maximum fee cap for those crimes will also increase from $4,100 to $8,000.

Fines & Incarceration in N.H.

Sep 28, 2015
Peter Stinson / Flickr/CC

A new New Hampshire ACLU report says that too many Granite Staters go to jail because they can't afford to pay court fines. We're looking at how this system works and whether it needs to change.

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The New Hampshire chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union released a report today that details the practice of judges jailing poor people who can’t afford to pay fines – a practice that’s illegal.

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Demanding trigger warnings? Canceling speakers? Shutting down comedians? College students today make the political correctness of the past seem tame. Today we’re asking: is oversensitivity ruining education? We’ll also look at the roots of extreme protectiveness in a nation where police officers are stationed at more and more high schools with a story about what happens when school discipline meets law enforcement. And, a job you may have thought was already obsolete – we’ll learn why the humble stenographer may be one of the most essential – and under-appreciated people in the courtroom. 

Bloomsberries vis Flickr CC

Five Carroll County prosecutors have quit over the past four months, delaying some trials and forcing the state attorney general's office to send in reinforcements.

Deputy Attorney General Ann Rice says the Carroll County Attorney's office usually has three full-time prosecutors besides County Attorney Tom Dewhurst.

Rice says the turnover is "unbelievable." Her office sent one assistant attorney general to Carroll County in March and added a second after two assistant county prosecutors opted to leave in the past three weeks.

www.BackgroundNow.com / Flickr/Creative Commons

Gov. Maggie Hassan has signed into law a bill meant to streamline felony cases.

Under the so-called Felonies First model, felony cases will be handled in the superior court system, instead of starting in circuit courts.

It also eliminates holding a probable cause hearing as a right. Instead, a judge will now determine if one is warranted.

The Strafford and Cheshire county superior courts will pilot the program starting in January. It will expand to Belknap County Superior Court in July of 2016.

 

A New Hampshire judge suspended for 60 days without pay after an angry outburst at a deputy sheriff and his related dismissal of an emergency commitment case involving a suicidal woman says he respects the disciplinary decision.

Manchester Circuit Court Judge William Lyons was also publicly censured for his misconduct and ordered to pay $30,000 to cover the cost of the investigation by the Judicial Conduct Committee.

'Felonies First' Bill Passes N.H. House

Jun 3, 2015

Three New Hampshire counties are on track to begin next year a streamlined system for processing felonies that removes the automatic probable cause hearing.

Today, all arrests begin in a local court, and anyone charged with a crime gets a probable cause hearing. But according to a bill passed by the House Wednesday, felony crimes will begin in the county courthouse starting in July of next year. Defendants will then have to petition a judge for a probable cause hearing -- that’s when the court determines if its more likely than not the crime occurred.

U.S. Attorney's Office, District of N.H.

Two New Hampshire men have pleaded guilty to trafficking a huge amount of synthetic cannabis, also called spice, valued at about $4 million.

One year ago, undercover officers traced spice being sold in convenience stores in Hooksett and Londonderry back to two men producing the stuff at three locations in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Officers found 3,000 pounds of spice, scales, boxes of empty packages, and residue of a controlled substance called AB-FUBINACA.

After pleading guilty, defendants Kyle Hurley, 32, and Robert Costello, 71, could face decades in prison.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Last year, 29 year old Robert Wilson was accused of a felony-level crime and faced the possibility of three and a half to seven years in prison. On Monday, after representing himself “pro se," the jury found him not guilty. 

Generally speaking, this doesn’t happen. Litigants represent themselves frequently in civil court, but rarely do criminal defendants argue by themselves before a jury. Wilson had even refused stand-by council.

Rockingham County Wrestles With Drug Court Funding

Feb 1, 2015
By John Phelan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Drug courts are supposed to save taxpayers money: one year of intense treatment and supervision costs about a third as much as a year behind bars.

But it still requires money, up front.

Now, after squeezing four years out of a federal startup grant, Rockingham County is wrestling over how to fund the program.

How N.H. Handles Juvenile Offenders

Sep 15, 2014
Tidewater Muse / Flickr/CC

New Hampshire has joined forty other states in treating seventeen year old criminal offenders as juveniles rather than adults. Supporters say this change reflects the latest research on adolescent development. Some worry, though, that this approach is too lenient and that the state isn’t well prepared for this shift. 

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