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New Hampshire

John Doe cops asking N.H. Supreme Court to spare their reputations – The Boston Globe

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John Doe cops asking N.H. Supreme Court to spare their reputations – The Boston Globe


While each lawsuit turns on its own set of facts, these cases together reflect long-running debate over the extent to which information about police misconduct must be made public. They could also clarify whether off-the-job misconduct or relatively minor incidents justify putting an officer’s name on the list.

“These are really important cases concerning the standard that’s going to be applied with respect to when an officer is placed on the list,” said Gilles Bissonnette, legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire.

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The ACLU and the New Hampshire Department of Justice haven’t always seen eye to eye on how transparent the state should be about its Exculpatory Evidence Schedule, but Bissonnette said the DOJ deserves a lot of credit for its careful approach to interpreting the constitutional and statutory factors at play in determining which officers to place on the list.

“The attorney general’s office — this attorney general and prior attorneys general — clearly have taken seriously that obligation concerning placement and are doing a commendable job in litigating these cases,” he said.

Prosecutors have a constitutional obligation to disclose evidence that could help defendants poke holes in the criminal charges brought against them, including evidence from police personnel files. In 1995, because prosecutors had withheld records that reflected poorly on the character and credibility of a detective who testified against Carl Laurie at trial, the New Hampshire Supreme Court overturned Laurie’s first-degree murder conviction.

That led the DOJ to keep what was known as the “Laurie List,” a tool to help prosecutors identify officers with known credibility issues, whose personnel files could include exculpatory evidence that may need to be disclosed to defendants.

The list, which became known as the Exculpatory Evidence Schedule, was kept confidential for decades. But the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that it isn’t exempt from disclosure under the state’s public records law. The legislature then enacted a statute in 2021 to designate the list as a public record and establish a process and timeline for officers to file lawsuits challenging their placement on the list.

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Of the 266 names now listed, 50 remain redacted from public view as dozens of John Doe lawsuits move through the judicial system, according to the DOJ’s latest quarterly update.

Brandon F. Chase, an assistant attorney general, said all of this week’s oral arguments about the list revolve around what exactly that 2021 law means when it refers to “potentially exculpatory” evidence.

“A couple have a few other issues folded in — like staleness of conduct or due process requirements — but the primary issue is the meaning of ‘potentially exculpatory’ under the statute,” he said.

An attorney for the officers, Marc G. Beaudoin, said these cases are also about the state’s duty to protect the due process rights of law enforcement personnel.

“What you’re trying to balance out here is the criminal defendant’s right to any exculpatory information that’s in a personnel file versus a police officer’s property rights in their good name,” Beaudoin said.

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Little information is available publicly about the lawsuits filed pseudonymously under seal in superior courts across the state. But the ACLU intervened last year in at least eight cases and successfully argued redacted filings must be made public when an appeal reaches the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

The redacted filings do not identify plaintiffs, but they do shed some light on the nature of the underlying disputes.

The first of the five cases up for oral arguments this week pertains to a Manchester police officer who resigned after his arrest in 2020 for drunken driving. The trial court agreed his off-duty misconduct was irrelevant to the Exculpatory Evidence Schedule, but the DOJ appealed, arguing it is statutorily obligated to include his name on the list.

The second case involves a Hanover police officer who was suspended for two weeks for forging a doctor’s signature on a medical clearance form. That incident was removed from his personnel file after he went five years without any further issues, but his name was added to the list in 2021 anyway. He sued, lost, and appealed.

The third case pertains to a Hanover police officer whose name was added to the list in 2021 based on decades-old allegations that he had been dishonest during a job application and interview process with another agency. He maintains he never lied or withheld information intentionally.

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The fourth involves an off-duty Salem police officer who led colleagues on a high-speed chase as a prank. He was given a one-day suspension and later pleaded guilty to a speeding violation. (The redacted court records do not name him, but news reports and a DOJ press release indicate Sergeant Michael Verrocchi reached an agreement in 2021 stemming from the 2012 incident.)

The fifth case relates to a Nashua police officer who responded to a domestic disturbance in 2011 and served a temporary restraining order but did not immediately seek to enforce the terms of the order. The officer has been trying since 2018 to have his name removed from the list.

The four additional cases that will be submitted this month on written briefs, without oral argument, pertain to four New Hampshire State Police troopers. The first trooper falsely claimed he hadn’t received an email attachment; the second concealed a local police chief’s drunken driving more than 20 years ago; the third sent inappropriate text messages to arrestees and lied about it; and the fourth was accused of being untruthful about his status as a trustee for his aunt, according to the redacted court records.

These cases come after a joint lawsuit from three troopers went before the Supreme Court for oral arguments last June. In that case, the troopers padded their activity logs more than 20 years ago to artificially inflate the number of traffic stops they told their bosses they had performed.

Beaudoin argued the only rationale for keeping the names of those three now-retired troopers on the Exculpatory Evidence Schedule would be to publicly shame them, which isn’t the purpose of the list. He argued the state’s process for disputing placement on the list is too difficult.

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“Right now, it is virtually impossible to be removed from the list due to the expansive nature of the word ‘potentially,’” he told the justices.

Emily C. Goering, an assistant attorney general, argued the plaintiffs were muddying the waters. The two key questions for courts to consider when reviewing an individual’s placement on the list, she said, are whether the underlying conduct was potentially exculpatory and whether the officer received due process.

“Despite the fact that the conduct might have occurred 20 years ago, it speaks to the petitioners’ general credibility, their recitation of events, their reliability,” she said. “That’s exactly the kind of information that can be beneficial to a criminal defendant or a criminal defense attorney.”

Goering said the DOJ doesn’t have discretion to pick and choose which officers with potentially exculpatory evidence in their personnel files will be included on the list. For the document to be an effective tool, she said, it needs to cast “the widest net.”

One of the five justices who heard those oral arguments, Gary E. Hicks, has since retired. His successor, Melissa B. Countway, will review written briefs and a recording of the oral arguments to participate in the court’s decision, according to an order Chief Justice Gordon J. MacDonald issued in January.

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MacDonald, who served as attorney general before his 2021 appointment to the court, drafted a memo in 2018 that updated earlier guidance on the Exculpatory Evidence Schedule. His memo drew criticism from the ACLU after he and Governor Chris Sununu announced the changes as protecting the due process rights of police.

MacDonald didn’t recuse himself from the oral argument last June and didn’t recuse himself from the cases on Tuesday’s calendar, but he has recused himself from four cases on Thursday’s calendar.

A court spokesperson, Av Harris, said disqualification is determined on a case-by-case basis under the New Hampshire Code of Judicial Conduct, and MacDonald has recused himself from presiding over cases when the attorney general’s office was “substantially involved in the case on appeal” during his time in that office.

“For the other cases, Chief Justice MacDonald is not disqualified and is complying with his constitutional duty to hear the appeals,” Harris added.

Another justice, Anna Barbara Hantz Marconi, has recused herself from all the Exculpatory Evidence Schedule cases coming before the court this month based on a situation involving her husband, Geno Marconi, the long-serving director of the New Hampshire Port Authority, who was placed on leave in April for reasons that remain unclear.

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Harris said last week that Hantz Marconi recused herself from cases involving the attorney general’s office based on her understanding that the office was advising the Pease Development Authority, which oversees the Port Authority, with respect to her husband’s work.

A spokesperson for the DOJ said the attorney general’s office advises the Division of Ports and Harbors, but will not comment on attorney-client communications, personnel actions, or judicial recusals.


Steven Porter can be reached at steven.porter@globe.com. Follow him @reporterporter.





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New Hampshire

Man steals donated Harley and drives through New Hampshire bar to get away

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Man steals donated Harley and drives through New Hampshire bar to get away


HAMPTON, N.H. – A Memorial Day motorcycle theft caught on camera has left owners at the L Street Tavern in Hampton, New Hampshire, stunned. 

“The bike was stolen off the patio in broad daylight,” L Street Tavern owner, Terry Diadone, said.

Motorcycle to benefit Salisbury family battling Alzheimer’s  

This was no ordinary motorcycle. This was a custom-made Harley-Davidson that’s been parked on the patio of the L Street Tavern for past several weeks. The motorcycle was to be raffled off to help raise money for a Salisbury family battling Alzheimer’s. The fundraiser helped raise $23,000 for family. The Harley was donated by a bike collector in South Carolina who knew the Salisbury family and wanted to make difference. Then, the day of the raffle, the unthinkable happened. 

“It’s been under lock and key. Under surveillance no idea someone steel that bike,” Diadone said.   

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hampton-nh-stolen-motorcycle-frame-406.jpg
A suspect drives off with a custom-made Harley-Davidson that’s been parked on the patio of the L Street Tavern for past several weeks. The motorcycle was to be raffled off to help raise money for a Salisbury family battling Alzheimer’s.

L Street Tavern


Theft caught on camera

Police identified a suspect in the theft as 26-year-old Brian Bennett from Amesbury. Surveillance shows a man who appears to be Bennett stealing the bike. 

“He had one of our guys who thought he was the winner move stuff out of the way and then he just took off down the patio,” Diadone said.

Surveillance also caught him driving it right out the front door of the restaurant. That’s when L Street’s owners quickly called police.

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“The Seabrook Police Department spotted the vehicle – spotted the motorcycle –  they activated their lights in an attempt to stop the motorcycle. He took off at high rate of speed. They decided not to pursue,” Hampton Police Chief Alex Reno said. 

Bennett was eventually stopped and arrested in Wrentham after running out of gas. Now he faces a number of charges. 

Ian Timmons is a firefighter and veteran. He won the raffle but has yet to collect his prize. Police say the Harley will be delivered to him soon. 

“Initially, you know, I was mad that the guy stole it from a veteran on the anniversary of Memorial Day, but then I found out he might have a mental illness, so I just want to make sure he gets the right help,” Timmons said.

“I am glad it came to a peaceful resolution. We were able to get the property back, and person who did will be held accountable for their actions,” Reno said.

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The Salisbury family has received the money raised by the raffle.



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New Hampshire

Magnitude-1.4 Earthquake Hits New Hampshire

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Magnitude-1.4 Earthquake Hits New Hampshire


NEW HAMPSHIRE — A 1.4-magnitude earthquake was detected in Chesterfield and felt as far out as Concord Monday evening, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The earthquake — the second reported in the area in just over a week — hit around 7:25 p.m. and had a depth of roughly 2.49 miles.

A 1.6-magnitude earthquake hit West Chesterfield on May 19.

Find out what’s happening in Across New Hampshirewith free, real-time updates from Patch.


Get more local news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for free Patch newsletters and alerts.

To request removal of your name from an arrest report, submit these required items to arrestreports@patch.com.

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New Hampshire

ANALYSIS: Yes, New Hampshire, There Really Is A POTUS Race – NH Journal

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ANALYSIS: Yes, New Hampshire, There Really Is A POTUS Race – NH Journal


Donald Trump on stage at campaign event in Atkinson, N.H. on January 16, 2024.

The University of New Hampshire dropped polls from three New England States last week — but New Hampshire may as well have been on its own planet.

In Rhode Island, President Joe Biden holds a 19-point lead over former President Donald Trump at 52-33 percent, with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. taking 6 percent.

In Massachusetts, Biden’s pulling Vladimir Putin numbers, beating Trump nearly 30 points (55-26 percent), while RFK Jr.’s at 10 percent.

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But just across the state line in New Hampshire, Biden and Trump are essentially tied at 44-41 percent, with Biden’s lead in the margin of error.

This latest Granite State Poll from the University of New Hampshire Survey Center bolsters last week’s New Hampshire Journal/Praecones Analytica poll finding the two deadlocked at 37 percent.

Worth noting: The NHJournal poll gave respondents a “none of these” option, which likely helped keep the candidates’ gross numbers lower than the other polls. But it doesn’t change the trend.

Biden is in danger of being just the second Democrat since 1992 to lose New Hampshire’s four Electoral College votes. (Al Gore in 2000 was the other.)

The question NHJournal has been getting since the poll was published has been some version of, “Look, I know it’s your poll, but c’mon. You don’t really believe Biden’s in trouble in New Hampshire?”

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To which NHJournal has been replying, “Don’t ask us. Ask Mark Halperin.”

Halperin is one of the most astute observers of American politics, and on the Memorial Day weekend edition of the NHJournal podcast he doesn’t dismiss the possibility that the president is in trouble in the Granite State.

“It is a state that I think has a bunch of discerning voters who may evaluate the Biden presidency as a failure,” Halperin said of New Hampshire. “And it’s a state that is not afraid to seek dramatic change. And of course, the relatively popular governor has endorsed Trump.”

“Endorsed” is a bit strong, but Sununu is voting for Trump — a fact he discussed on Fox and Friends over the weekend — using his “51=49 percent” formula. (“I’m 51-49 for Trump, and that’s where I’m going to vote.”)

Will his fellow Granite Staters come to the same conclusion?

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If they do, says Halperin, if Trump really does get to November as a competitive candidate in New Hampshire, “he’ll win [the White House] in a landslide.”

Many New Hampshire Democrats — and some Never Trump Granite State Republicans — continue to insist that isn’t possible. Biden’s going to win re election, and he’s going to dominate New Hampshire along the way, they tell NHJournal. Asked about the new polls — or the past year’s worth of national polls showing Trump consistently winning — and Democrats shrug them off.

“There has never been an election like this, ever,” one Granite State Democrat told NHJournal on background. “I have zero faith in pollsters to find out what people really think.”

To which NHJournal has been replying, “Don’t look at us. Ask Joe Biden.”

The same president who refused to set foot in the Granite State during the entire First in the Nation presidential primary season has now been to New Hampshire twice in the past two months. That’s as many visits as swing states like Georgia and Nevada. Why?

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Maybe the campaign thinks he has to, speculates Halperin. He points out that beyond the seven states viewed as potential pick-ups by both sides—AZ/GA/MI/NC/NV/PA/WI—Trump has a list of potential pick-ups: “Trump has New Hampshire, he has Minnesota, maybe Virginia.”

“But the next state for Biden after the top seven? It’s not clear at this point what it is. They can pretend it’s Florida, but they’re down by a lot,” Halperin said.

And so Biden comes to Nashua, speaks to a handful of supporters, says nothing memorable and leaves. Because he has to do something. Because there’s little else he can do as a candidate.

This is where the math gets tricky for Granite State Democrats. While they remain loyal to their president, 71 percent (yes, you read that right) of independent voters disapprove of how Biden is doing his job. Democratic candidates like gubernatorial hopeful Cinde Warmington continue to say Biden’s doing a great job, because they’ve got a primary to win. But will publicly defending Biden’s policies on inflation and illegal immigration pay off in November?

One early indicator: No New Hampshire Democrat seeking reelection in November — including U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas — appeared with Biden during his Granite State stop. Check their social media, too. Other than passing references to veterans’ issues, you’d never know the president was here.

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Biden backers keep saying that there’s plenty of time, that it’s still early, that the Biden campaign has yet to carpet bomb the swing states with ads about abortion and January 6. And that’s all true.

But it’s also true that Memorial Day has come and gone… and Trump is still winning. He’s winning the RealClearPolitics average in national polls. He’s winning in at least six of the seven swing states. And perhaps  most astonishing, he may be winning in New Hampshire.

America has a long, hot summer ahead. A lot of things will happen, perhaps even a presidential debate (though that’s by no means certain.) If polling on Labor Day looks like it did on Memorial Day, we are in for one hell of a ride in New Hampshire.



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