Advocates: Releasing Sealed Files in Mazzaglia Appeal Sets Bad Precedent For Rape Victims

Aug 22, 2016

The New Hampshire Coalition against Domestic and Sexual Violence is arguing that the victim’s private records in the murder and rape case involving UNH student Lizzi Marriott should remain sealed throughout the appeal process. 

During the trial, information about the victim’s sexual past was sealed under the state’s Rape Shield Law. But in June the state Supreme Court ruled this protection no longer applies during the appeal process.

In Monday's court filings, victim’s rights activists said this is unprecedented and undermines the overall aim of the law: to protect the victim’s privacy.

Scroll to the bottom of this story to read the court document.

Amanda Grady-Sexton of the coalition said if this decision stands it will have lasting consequences.  

Seth Mazzaglia at his trial for the rape and murder of Lizzi Marriott
Credit AP/FILE

“I think we are absolutely going to see a chilling effect in terms of the amount of people who are interested in coming forward and reporting their assault,” Grady-Sexton said. 

But the defendants' attorney, Chris Johnson,  argued in court documents also filed Monday that "the appellate process cannot be entirely fair if it is conducted in secret."

Seth Mazzaglia was sentenced to life in prison for the rape and murder of Lizzi Marriott in 2012 . He's now appealing that conviction.

 The New Hampshire Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on this issue on September 21. 

Full 42-Page Amicus Brief from NHCADSV

Defendant's Full 45-Page Court Filing in State v Mazzaglia