Bill to Make ‘Laurie List’ Public Clears N.H. Legislature
After yearsof court battles, a secret list containing the names of more than 270 law enforcement officers with credibility issues is one step closer to public release.
The State Senate previously passed the measure on a unanimous vote. Asked by reporters Thursday if he would sign the bill, Gov. Chris Sununu said he still needs to review the final language of the bill, but a spokesperson then clarified to NHPR that the governor has reviewed the language and supports the bill.
The Attorney General's office manages the the exculpatory evidence schedule, better known as the ‘Laurie list.' It contains the names of New Hampshire police officers whose credibility may be called into question during a trial because of past behavior logged in their personnel records.
[Click here to see NHPR's previous coverage of this story.]
Under a bill agreed to Thursday by the New Hampshire House, officers on the Laurie list will be given 180 days to appeal their status to a superior court. Any officers whose names were included on the list since April 30, 2018, will be given 90 days to appeal. After those deadlines pass, the Attorney General will post the list on a public-facing website.
Prosecutors are constitutionally obligated to turn over to the defense any known credibility issues regarding law enforcement officers involved in a case, a result of a U.S. Supreme Court case, Brady v. Maryland, and also a state Supreme Court case, State v. Laurie.
In 2020, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that the list is not a confidential document, and therefore not exempt from the state’s Right to Know law. However, the justices ordered a lower court to perform a balancing test on whether releasing the list in its entirety would violate the reasonable privacy expectations of the officers.
The legislation has the backing of both transparency advocates and the police unions. It mirrors a recommendation made by the Law Enforcement Accountability, Community, and Transparency Commission, established by Gov. Chris Sununu in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.