Criminal Justice | New Hampshire Public Radio

Criminal Justice

Christina Phillips / NHPR

Over 100 people gathered in Manchester Saturday night for another vigil honoring those who have lost their lives to police violence. 

New Hampshire’s Black Lives Matter leaders who organized the event say they're tired. After a year of calling for change, they said there has been no real action from state leaders to enact racial justice reform, as police killings of Black people across the country continue.

Vaccine shot
Todd Bookman / NHPR

Several New Hampshire jails are postponing COVID-19 vaccination of inmates because of the pause this week on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

A rare compromise between transparency advocates, police unions, and the state Attorney General may soon mean New Hampshire's secret list of police officers with credibility issues is no longer secret.

Photo of Pay Conway
Courtesy

The New Hampshire Bar Association is raising concerns about Gov. Chris Sununu’s latest pick to join the state superior court: Rockingham County Attorney Patricia Conway.

photo of scott murray
U.S Department of Justice

After three years as the top federal prosecutor for New Hampshire, Scott Murray announced Tuesday he will resign from his post this weekend.

Murray was nominated by President Trump in December 2017, and was confirmed by the Senate three months later.

Data Show N.H. Police Disproportionately Arrest People Of Color

Feb 28, 2021
New Hampshire state police car.
Geoff Forester / Concord Monitor

A state commission on police reform last year unveiled widespread inconsistency in what data New Hampshire police collect, on whom and in what circumstances.

Members of the Commission on Law Enforcement Accountability, Community and Transparency emphasized the need for more standardized, transparent record keeping of police interactions at all levels — including race and gender data for arrests, stops and citations.

Cheryl Senter / NHPR

The New Hampshire Department of Corrections says that in order to comply with Gov. Chris Sununu's proposed budget, it would have to cut rehabilitative and educational programs that serve hundreds of inmates every year.

In a presentation to lawmakers this week, DOC Commissioner Helen Hanks said the state is looking at closing the Shea Farm Transitional Housing Unit for women in Concord and the Calumet Transitional Housing Unit for men in Manchester. These halfway houses currently serve around fifty inmates who typically are working in the community and awaiting parole hearings.  

Cheryl Senter / NHPR

People who are incarcerated have been particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 outbreaks during this pandemic. New Hampshire's state prison system has been managing several outbreaks over the last few months.

stock photo of gavel
Joe Gratz / flickr, creative commons: https://www.flickr.com/photos/63126465@N00/117048243

After a five month investigation, the state Attorney General announced Thursday it is filing felony charges against Judge Julie Introcaso of Bedford for allegedly tampering with court paperwork in an attempt to cover-up her failure to properly recuse herself from a child custody case.

Photo: West Midlands Police/cc/flickr

There's been a lot of public debate over police reform in the last year. A statewide commission on police accountability and transparency made many recommendations for reform this past summer, and now some of those are under consideration this legislative session.

Police Transparency In The Spotlight During N.H. Senate Hearing

Jan 19, 2021
Courtesy

Three months after the New Hampshire Supreme Court delivered a transformative ruling over government personnel practices, including police disciplinary records, state lawmakers are considering creating new laws around them.

Emily Corwin for NHPR

A judge is considering whether an inmate at Valley Street Jail who has COVID-19 should be released on bail, in light of concerns about the facility's management of health and safety during the pandemic.

On Wednesday, Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Charles Temple heard over three hours of arguments and testimony on the Manchester jail's COVID-19 protocols. Attorney Elliot Friedman argued those protocols endanger the health and life of his client, William Jones.

State Meets Many Police Reform Deadlines, With Much Left To Be Done In 2021

Dec 27, 2020
Police car
Dan Tuohy/NHPR

A long list of changes to the way New Hampshire police are recruited, trained, supervised and held accountable is about to move from the recommendation stage to implementation, with potentially far-reaching consequences for law enforcement and the public at large.


Emily Corwin / NHPR

Attorneys say the state's largest jail is keeping them in the dark on how it is managing COVID-19 risk and potential cases among its inmates and staff. 

Photo by Jackie Finn-Irwin via Flickr Creative Commons

A coronavirus outbreak continues to grow inside the New Hampshire State Prison for Men in Concord.

Twenty-one cases of COVID-19 are now confirmed in the general inmate population, and over 160 of the inmates are now in quarantine.

The Department of Correction says 16 staff at the prison are not coming into work after having recently tested positive, and that members of the National Guard are being trained for positions at the prison to ensure it remains properly staffed.

People in New Hampshire and across the country are having renewed conversations about police reform and the role of law enforcement.

NHPR's Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley recently sat down with Manchester's new police chief, Allen Aldenberg, to talk about how his department is responding in this moment.

Courtesy

The race for Strafford County Sheriff includes two candidates who both support a range of police accountability reforms.

Paul Callaghan, 54, is currently a lieutenant and investigator at the Strafford County Sheriff’s Office. The Republican from Rochester backs a list of policy recommendations released this summer by a New Hampshire commission formed in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, including more training on de-escalation techniques and the release of a long-secret list containing the names of discredited officers. 

courtesy of Federal Bureau of Prisons

The federal prison in Berlin says inmates who tested positive with the coronavirus earlier this month have all recovered, but the prison has continued widespread testing to monitor for more cases.

Prison spokesman Aaron Posthumus says that after eight inmates tested positive earlier this month, they and inmates who had close contact with them were placed in quarantine. 

Every two years, voters in New Hampshire get to weigh in on their next county attorney. It’s an elected position that doesn’t get a lot of attention, but county attorneys quietly hold tremendous power over key aspects of the state’s criminal justice system.

Police car at night with out of focus lights in the background, The List title in white on top
Sara Plourde, NHPR

In her more than 30 years as a reporter in New Hampshire, Nancy West has earned a reputation: Blunt. Curmudgeonly. Unyielding.

At press conferences, West is often the one to insist that public officials stay for one more question. She’ll pursue the kind of needling line of inquiry that raises the temperature in the room for everyone. Public officials and press officers often know her by name, and, by now, they’re not afraid to ask her to tone it down.

The exterior of the New Hampshire Department of Justice in Concord.
NHPR File Photo

The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office says the use of non-deadly force in a highly publicized arrest of a Black man in the town of Albany earlier this year was justified.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Several hundred people gathered in Concord Friday evening in a peaceful protest to honor Breonna Taylor, the woman shot to death by police officers in her Louisville, Kentucky home last spring. The gathering on the steps of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, organized by local chapters of Black Lives Matter, was treated as both a call to action and a solemn vigil.  

An arbitrator has ruled for a second time that the Manchester Police Department is required to provide a fired police officer with substantial back pay.

The department fired Aaron Brown in 2018 after an internal investigation found racist text messages from his department-issued cell phone. There were also messages in which he claimed to have intentionally damaged property while executing search warrants.

NHPR Photo

A statewide commission on police accountability and transparency says the state should create an independent agency to handle complaints alleging misconduct against all New Hampshire law enforcement officers.

The recommendation is part of the commission's final report that was released Monday. Members have spent the last 60 days exploring how New Hampshire could improve its police practices.

JOE GRATZ / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

A national non-profit released a report this month assessing how New Hampshire handles juvenile delinquency cases.

The National Juvenile Defender Center says legal representation for juveniles in the state is "gravely undervalued," which leads to inadequate access to attorneys and unneccesary reates of probation and court involvement.

Tall Trees Hemp

In New Hampshire, possession of small amounts of cannabis was decriminalized in 2017.

But for those who already have possession charges, getting their record cleared might not be so easy.

www.BackgroundNow.com / Flickr/Creative Commons

A Brentwood man has been found guilty on federal weapons charges after he purchased military hand grenades from undercover FBI agents in Seabrook. 

The trial, held in the federal courthouse in Concord, was the first since March due to the pandemic. 

Prosecutors say Daniel Musso, 56, was attempting to amass an arsenal of weapons “as part of a frightening plan to defend his version of what our government should be.”

In N.H., County Prosecutors Wield Power, But Often Run Unopposed

Jul 28, 2020
Michael Moore / Keene Sentinel

They’re among the most powerful actors in New Hampshire’s criminal justice system, deciding which charges to file, making bail recommendations and shaping the plea negotiations that determine the sentences in most criminal cases.

And in much of the state, they’re running unopposed.

In seven of the state’s 10 counties, the incumbent county attorney — the chief local prosecutor, what other states call a district attorney — has not drawn a challenger this year.

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Around midnight on a Saturday, Thomas Hurd fell asleep at the bar of a Chinese restaurant in Farmington, New Hampshire. 

The bartender, suspecting Hurd was drunk when he got there, asked him to leave. According to police reports, Hurd instead began smashing plates and flipping tables. 

NHPR Photo

A state commission looking at police accountability and transparency in New Hampshire met virtually this week to discuss current standards for training on diversity, de-escalation and use of force.

On Thursday and Friday, Gov. Chris Sununu’s Commission on Law Enforcement, Accountability, Community and Transparency heard presentations on how officers are trained in New Hampshire.

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