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Dan Hynes

Dan Hynes

Dan Hynes has not set their biography yet

Our firm will be representing plaintiffs challenging the unconstitutional gun ban at the N.H. State House. As a former member of the New Hampshire house, Attorney Dan Hynes is disappointed that the present house chose to adopt house rules that deprive people of their constitutional right to self defense.

Below is the draft complaint which is expected to be filed shortly in Superior Court.

gun-complaint-draft.pdf

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We are representing the defendant's in State v. Lilley et al, where we challenge the City of Laconia ordinance which prohibits the display of the female nipple but not the male nipple. NH ACLU has filed an amicus brief. You can read our brief here.

FTN-NH-Supreme-Court-Appeal.pdf

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Our firm is representing two people who were cited in Gilford for being topless at the Gilford Beach. Those women are part of the Free the Nipple Movement. The Free the Nipple Movement seeks to bring attention to the inequality of women who are not allowed to be bare-chested in public while men are. One of their primary goals is to express that the female chest is not in itself sexual and to normalize women being allowed to be in public just as men are (in the past even men in this country in many places could not be topless). This issue received significant media coverage over the last year as many members and supporters demonstrated/ exercised their right to be top-free in Hampton Beach and throughout New Hampshire.

In New Hampshire, it is not a crime or against State law for women to be topless in public. Some towns such as Laconia & Gilford have ordinances prohibiting such conduct. Our clients were cited for one of the ordinances and today in Laconia District court it went to trial. During the trial we made a motion to dismiss the charges as violating their equal protection rights, 1st amendment rights, and that the town ordinance is not allowed under New Hampshire Law. The judge took the matter under advisement and will be issuing a written decision shortly.

Here is the video. Thank you Ian Freeman for filming

The following is our motion to dismiss which we encourage other people to use if they are fighting one of these cases (please note the motion is very specific to New Hampshire, and likely only helps as a starting point for other states).

THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

       LACONIA DISTRICT COURT

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

V.

 

 

DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO DISMISS

 

 NOW COMES the defendant, and requests the town ordinance complaint against them be dismissed and the town ordinance be declared unlawful/unconstitutional.

 

FACTS

1.  Defendant is charged with Town Ordinance 3.4(G)(7) which reads: “There shall be no skinny dipping, nude tanning, female topless sun bathing or exposure of genitalia allowed on Town Beach property.”

 

2. Defendant was cited due to her nipple and breast being exposed in public. There was no exposure of genitalia and defendant at all times had an appropriate layer of clothing in that regard.

3. There is no state law which prohibits adult females, or males, from being in public with their nipples or breasts/chest exposed.

3. Defendant belongs to/supports the “Free the Nipple” Movement.

“Free The Nipple is a film, an equality movement, and a mission to empower women across the world. We stand against female oppression and censorship, both in the United States and around the globe. Today, in the USA it is effectively ILLEGAL for a woman to be topless, breastfeeding included, in 35 states. In less tolerant places like Louisiana, an exposed nipple can take a woman to jail for up to three years and cost $2,500 in fines. Even in New York City, which legalized public toplessness in 1992, the NYPD continues to arrest women. We’re working to change these inequalities through film, social media, and a grassroots campaign.

THE MOVEMENT

Free The Nipple has become a “real life” equality movement that’s sparked a national dialogue. Famous graffiti artists, groups of dedicated women, and influencers such as Miley Cyrus, Liv Tyler, and Lena Dunham have shown public support which garnered international press and created a viral #FreeTheNipple campaign. The issues we’re addressing are equal rights for men and women, a more balanced system of censorship, and legal rights for all women to breastfeed in public.

THE FACTS

Over 75 years ago it was illegal in all 50 states of America for men to be ‘Shirtless’ on a beach. A small dedicated group fought the puritanical status quo, the police and the courts. After several arrests and protests men finally won their basic human right to be ‘TOPLESS’ in public in 1936. Today there are 37 states in the USA that still arrest women for this same freedom, in some states that even includes breastfeeding. “  See http://freethenipple.com/what-is-free-the-nipple/

4. Shortly prior to the date of this occurrence, on August 23, defendant joined many other people as part of the “Free the nipple day”/ International Go Topless Day in which many women participated in Hampton New Hampshire by being topless at the beach. That event gained significant media coverage including comments regarding the movement[1].

 

5. Defendant’s conduct involved expression and political speech and has artistic value. By appearing topless, Defendant not only enjoyed the value of the right afforded to males under the town ordinance, but also engaged in promoting an idea and message.

 

ARGUMENT

I. THE TOWN ORDINANCE IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL

A: The town ordinance violates the due process/ equal protection clause of the United States Constitution as well as Art 1.and Art 2.  of the N.H. Constitution.

6. Article 1. [Equality of Men; Origin and Object of Government.] All men are born equally free and independent; therefore, all government of right originates from the people, is founded in consent, and instituted for the general good.

 [Art.] 2. [Natural Rights.] All men have certain natural, essential, and inherent rights - among which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing, and protecting, property; and, in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by this state on account of race, creed, color, sex or national origin.”

7. The town ordinance in question applies solely to “female topless sun bathing”. As the ordinance discriminates based upon sex/gender, it is subject to strict scrutiny.

“In considering an equal protection challenge under our State Constitution, "we must first determine the appropriate standard of review: strict scrutiny; fair and substantial relationship; or rational basis." Boehner v. State, 122 N.H. 79, 83, 441 A.2d 1146, 1148 (1982). Equal protection under the law does not forbid classifications, see 2 B. SCHWARTZ, RIGHTS OF THE PERSON § 471, at 496-97 (1968), but requires us to examine the individual rights affected and the purpose and scope of the State-created classifications. See Allgeyer v. Lincoln, 125 N.H. 503, 508-09, 484 A.2d 1079, 1082-83 (1984).

 

We apply the strict scrutiny test, in which the government must show a compelling State interest in order for its actions to be valid, when the classification involves a suspect class based on "race, creed, color, gender, national origin, or legitimacy," State v. LaPorte, 134 N.H. 73, 76, 587 A.2d 1237, 1239 (1991) (quotation omitted), or affects a fundamental right”. LeClair v. LeClair, 137 NH 213, 222 - NH: Supreme Court 1993

 

B: The ordinance in question violates defendant’s rights under the 1st amendment of the federal constitution and Art 22 of the State Constitution.

 

8. “[Art.] 22. [Free Speech; Liberty of the Press.] Free speech and liberty of the press are essential to the security of freedom in a state: They ought, therefore, to be inviolably preserved.”

 

9. By appearing topless in public, defendant engaged in speech and expression deserving of constitutional protection. Defendant was not just utilizing her right to be topless under state law, but to demonstrate to others her political viewpoint and message that the female nipple is not a sexual object.  Defendant’s message further seeks to bring attention to gender equality and how the female nipple is treated different than the male nipple both legally and for social norms. Defendant’s message seeks to continue the advancement of women’s rights and to have the conduct of being topless be accepted and normalized.

 

10. This message/movement was apparently recognized as a witness indicated people at the beach had “freed the nipple”, and Officer O’Connor said he “understood and was aware of what they were doing as far as the “Free the Nipple event”. The Free the Nipple campaign had recently received significant media coverage as a result of many women appearing topless at Hampton Beach in support of international topless day.

11. The expression of the female nipple also contains artistic value and accordingly is not considered obscene.   To be considered obscene and outside of first amendment protections, "the Government must prove that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, is patently offensive in light of community standards, and lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value." Ashcroft, 535 U.S. at 246, 122 S.Ct. 1389 (citing Miller, 413 U.S. at 24, 93 S.Ct. 2607).

 

12. "The First Amendment commands, `Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech." Ashcroft, 535 U.S. at 244, 122 S.Ct. 1389. "As a general principle, the First Amendment bars the government from dictating what we see or read or speak or hear." Id. at 245, 122 S.Ct. 1389. "[A] law imposing criminal penalties on protected speech is a stark example of speech suppression." Id. at 244, 122 S.Ct. 1389. If a statute regulates speech based upon its content, application of the statute is subject to strict scrutiny. United States v. Playboy Entertainment Group, Inc., 529 U.S. 803, 813, 120 S.Ct. 1878, 146 L.Ed.2d 865 (2000); see Sable Communications of Cal., Inc. v. FCC, 492 U.S. 115, 126, 109 S.Ct. 2829, 106 L.Ed.2d 93 (1989). This places the burden upon the State to prove that the statute is "narrowly tailored to promote a compelling [state] interest. If a less restrictive alternative would serve the [state]'s purpose, the legislature must use that alternative." Playboy Entertainment Group, 529 U.S. at 813, 120 S.Ct. 1878 (citation omitted).”  State v. Zidel, 940 A. 2d 255 - NH: Supreme Court 2008

 

13. Exercising free speech and free expression are fundamental rights. Petition of Brooks, 140 NH 813 - NH: Supreme Court 1996.

 

C: The ordinance fails strict scrutiny and is therefore unconstitutional

14. Strict scrutiny is the highest burden and level of scrutiny that a law can face. This burden lies upon the State to meet.

“Strict scrutiny is the correct standard to apply when determining the constitutionality of a statute that touches upon a fundamental right. In re Sandra H., 150 N.H. 634, 638 (2004). As parental rights are fundamental and protected by due process, strict scrutiny should be applied when examining statutes dealing with these rights. Robert H., 118 N.H. at 716. Under the State Constitution, this test requires that I determine if granting custody to a stepparent or grandparent is necessary to achieve a compelling State interest. Sandra H., 150 N.H. at 638; see also Palmore v. Sidoti, 466 U.S. 429, 432 (1984). Additionally, such a custody award must be neither unduly restrictive nor unreasonable. Seabrook Police Assoc. v. Town of Seabrook, 138 N.H. 177, 179 (1993). In this sense a strict scrutiny analysis under the State Constitution is much like the "narrowly tailored" analysis required under the Federal Constitution. See id.; Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702, 721 (1997).” In the Matter of RA & JM, 153 NH 82, 95-96 - NH: Supreme Court 2005”

 

15. Strict scrutiny requires that legislation be necessary to achieve a compelling governmental interest, reasonably related to its objective, and not unduly restrictive. Seabrook, 138 N.H. at 179. Intermediate and strict scrutiny also contain some type of least-restrictive-means inquiry, although the level of "fit" between the legislation's means and ends differs under each test. Id. ("requirement that regulations be neither unduly restrictive nor unreasonable [under State strict scrutiny test] is similar to the federal `narrowly tailored requirement'"); City of Dover v. Imperial Cas. & Indemn. Co., 133 N.H. 109, 126 (1990) (Souter, J., dissenting) (discussing over- and underinclusive nature of statute to determine whether it was "fairly and substantially related" to objective under intermediate scrutiny).Boulders at Strafford v. Town of Strafford, 153 NH 633, 640-641 - NH: Supreme Court 2006

 

16. The State cannot show the ordinance is necessary to achieve a compelling State interest, is narrowly tailored/ not unduly restrictive nor unreasonable, and is the least restrictive means. Accordingly, the ordinance must be deemed unconstitutional.

 

17. The United States’ Supreme Court’s recent decision on marriage equality recognizing same-sex couples right to marry is further evidence of evolving social norms of equality where the court will not hesitate to step in and declare a law unconstitutional. In Obergefell et al. v. Hodges, Decided June 26 2015, the Court held:

“Outlaw to outcast may be a step forward, but it does not achieve the full promise of liberty.

This dynamic also applies to same-sex marriage.  It is now clear that the challenged laws burden the liberty of same-sex couples, and it must be further acknowledged that they abridge central precepts of equality.  Here the marriage laws enforced by the respondents are in essence unequal: same-sex couples are denied all the benefits afforded to opposite-sex couples and are barred from exercising a fundamental right.  Especially against a long history of disapproval of their relationships, this denial to same-sex couples of the right to marry works a grave and continuing harm.  The imposition of this disability on gays and lesbians serves to disrespect and subordinate them. And the Equal Protection Clause, like the Due Process Clause, prohibits this unjustified infringement of the fundamental right to marry.“

 

 

II. THE TOWN ORDINANCE IS UNLAWFUL AS THE TOWN LACKS AUTHORITY FOR THE ORDINANCE

18. Under state law, it is legal for women to be topless/display their nipple in public. As New Hampshire is not a “Home Rule” state, towns and cities can only pass laws that the legislature gives them permission to pass.

 

“...towns are but  subdivisions of the State and have only the powers the State grants to them.” Piper v. Meredith , 110 N.H. 291 (1970). Further, “[u]nder our State Constitution ‘(t)he supreme legislative power...(is) vested in the senate and house of representatives ....’ N.H. Const. pt. II, art.  2. See also N.H. Const., pt. I, art.     For these reasons, we have held that the towns only have ‘such powers as are expressly granted to them by the legislature and such as are necessarily implied or incidental thereto.’” Girard v. Allenstown , 121 N.H. 268, 270 71 (1981)..

19. Here, the authority for the ordinance/regulations as stated in the town regulations is:

“3.1 AUTHORITY

These Regulations are adopted pursuant to the authority granted under RSA 41:11-a”.

 

20. RSA 41:11-a holds: “41:11-a Town Property. –
    I. The selectmen shall have authority to manage all real property owned by the town and to regulate its use, unless such management and regulation is delegated to other public officers by vote of the town, or is governed by other statutes, including but not limited to RSA 31:112, RSA 35-B, RSA 36-A:4, and RSA 202-A:6.
    II. The authority under paragraph I shall include the power to rent or lease such property during periods not needed for public use, provided, however, that any rental or lease agreement for a period of more than one year shall not be valid unless ratified by vote of the town.
    III. Notwithstanding paragraph II, the legislative body may vote to authorize the board of selectmen to rent or lease municipal property for a term of up to 5 years without further vote or ratification of the town. Once adopted, this authority shall remain in effect until specifically rescinded by the legislative body at any duly warned meeting provided that the term of any lease entered into prior to the rescission shall remain in effect.”

 

21. Defendant is not disputing the jurisdiction/authority of the entire town beach regulations, just Town Ordinance 3.4(G)(7) as it relates to female topless sunbathing.

 

22. While RSA 41:11-a gives towns certain authority to regulate their property, that authority is not unlimited. The plain language of the statute indicates it does not apply when governed by other statutes. Here, the town is preempted under state law as this issue has been decided at the State level. There is no State law criminalizing the public display of the female nipple or breast. See   “N.H. .RSA 645:1 Indecent Exposure and Lewdness. –
    I. A person is guilty of a misdemeanor if such person fornicates, exposes his or her genitals, or performs any other act of gross lewdness under circumstances which he or she should know will likely cause affront or alarm.”

 

23. The legislature has authorized/condones defendant’s conduct by not prohibiting it. The ordinance is further prohibited under RSA 354-A (see section III of this motion).

 

24. The town does not have carte blanche to make illegal any conduct they want just because it is occurs on town property. Any such interpretation would necessarily make RSA 41:11-a unconstitutionally overbroad and essentially convert New Hampshire into a “home rule” state. Additionally, town ordinances cannot “be repugnant to the constitution of the State”.  Dover News Inc. v. City of Dover, 117 NH 1066 (NH 1977). As previously discussed, the ordinance runs afoul of the State Constitution.

 

III. THE TOWN ORDINANCE VIOLATES RSA 354-A STATE COMMISSION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAWS)

 

25. 354-A:1 Title and Purposes of Chapter. – This chapter shall be known as the "Law Against Discrimination.'' It shall be deemed an exercise of the police power of the state for the protection of the public welfare, health and peace of the people of this state, and in fulfillment of the provisions of the constitution of this state concerning civil rights. The general court hereby finds and declares that practices of discrimination against any of its inhabitants because of age, sex, race, creed, color, marital status, familial status, physical or mental disability or national origin are a matter of state concern, that such discrimination not only threatens the rights and proper privileges of its inhabitants but menaces the institutions and foundation of a free democratic state and threatens the peace, order, health, safety and general welfare of the state and its inhabitants. A state agency is hereby created with power to eliminate and prevent discrimination in employment, in places of public accommodation and in housing accommodations because of age, sex, race, creed, color, marital status, familial status, physical or mental disability or national origin as herein provided; and the commission established hereunder is hereby given general jurisdiction and power for such purposes. In addition, the agencies and councils so created shall exercise their authority to assure that no person be discriminated against on account of sexual orientation.

 

354-A:25 Construction. – No provision of this chapter shall be deemed to supersede any other provision of law for the protection of minors or for the regulation of the employment of minors. The provisions of this chapter shall be construed liberally for the accomplishment of the purposes thereof. Nothing contained in this chapter shall be deemed to repeal any of the provisions of the civil rights law or any other law of this state relating to discrimination because of age, sex, race, creed, color, marital status, physical or mental disability or national origin; but, as to acts declared unlawful by this chapter the procedure provided in this chapter shall, while pending, be exclusive and the final determination therein shall exclude any other action, civil or criminal, based on the same grievance of the individual concerned. If such individual institutes any action based on such grievance without resorting to the procedure provided in this chapter, such person may not subsequently resort to the procedure in this chapter, provided, however, that nothing in this section shall prevent any individual from applying for or receiving unemployment compensation while the procedure provided for in this chapter is pending or after the procedure provided in this chapter has been concluded. This section shall not prevent the commission for human rights from investigating and acting upon a complaint of discrimination when the complainant has also filed a claim for unemployment compensation in which the issue of illegal discrimination is raised. (Emphasis added)

 

   354-A:16 Equal Access to Public Accommodations a Civil Right. – The opportunity for every individual to have equal access to places of public accommodation without discrimination because of age, sex, race, creed, color, marital status, physical or mental disability or national origin is hereby recognized and declared to be a civil right. In addition, no person shall be denied the benefit of the rights afforded by this section on account of that person's sexual orientation.

 

354-A:17 Unlawful Discriminatory Practices in Public Accommodations. – It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for any person, being the owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, agent or employee of any place of public accommodation, because of the age, sex, race, creed, color, marital status, physical or mental disability or national origin of any person, directly or indirectly, to refuse, withhold from or deny to such person any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges thereof; or, directly or indirectly, to publish, circulate, issue, display, post or mail any written or printed communication, notice or advertisement to the effect that any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any such place shall be refused, withheld from or denied to any person on account of age, sex, race, creed, color, marital status, physical or mental disability or national origin; or that the patronage or custom thereat of any person belonging to or purporting to be of any particular age, sex, race, creed, color, marital status, physical or mental disability or national origin is unwelcome, objectionable or acceptable, desired or solicited. In addition, no person shall be denied the benefit of the rights afforded by this section on account of that person's sexual orientation.

 

26. It is clear under RSA 354-A that a town would not be able to exclude someone from being on public property based solely on that person’s sex/gender. Yet, that is precisely what this ordinance accomplishes. The ordinance manages to make it illegal to be a female while enjoying the beach in the same manner that any male can.

27. The only exemption under the statute is for religious purposes (see RSA 354-A:18), which is clearly inapplicable here. It does not matter what the reason for the town ordinance is; treating females differently than males is strictly prohibited under RSA 354-A:16 and RSA 354-A:17.

 

28. The town ordinance is not only prohibited by the State Constitution, RSA 354-A invalidates the town ordinance under RSA 41:1(a), and denying someone access to a public accommodation based upon their sex is expressly deemed unlawful under RSA 354-A. Accordingly, defendant seeks this Court to dismiss the charge and declare Town Ordinance 3.4(G)(7) unlawful/unenforceable/enjoining the State from bringing any complaints under it as it relates to the female nipple/treating females differently than males..

 

CONCLUSION

The language in the town ordinance dealing with “female nipple” is unlawful as it treats females differently than males and is an equal protection violation. It also violates first amendment protections. The ordinance is outside the scope of laws that the town is permitted to adopt. The ordinance violates RSA 354-A. Defendant does not contest the portion of the ordinance dealing with exposure of genitalia. Defendant has no objection to the Court declaring the portion of the statute addressing “female nipple” as unenforceable/unconstitutional while allowing the rest of the ordinance to maintain in place; assuming the language skinny dipping/nude tanning would not apply to the display of the female nipple or female breast/chest area.

 

WHEREFORE, the defendant respectfully requests that this Court:

a:  Dismiss the charge;

b:  Declare Gilford Town Ordinance 3.4(G)(7) unlawful/unconstitutional in regard to the phrase
“female nipple”.

c: Issue an injunction/enjoin the town from bringing any further complaints against females for being topless in public.

 

Daniel Hynes

 

 

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http://news.yahoo.com/judge-limits-stop-frisk-searches-yorks-bronx-175834468.html

"A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the New York Police Department to immediately stop conducting trespass stops outside certain residential buildings in the borough of the Bronx without "reasonable suspicion" that an individual is engaged in criminal activity."

"

The NYPD and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have defended the stop-and-frisk program, in which police stop and question people they suspect of unlawful activity and frisk those they suspect are carrying weapons. The NYPD and the mayor say it has reduced crime.

Opponents have contended that stop-and-frisk targets minorities and violates their Fourth Amendment rights for protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

In her 157-page ruling, Scheindlin said it was "difficult to believe that residents of one of our boroughs live under such a threat" of being stopped as they leave their homes.

"In light of the evidence presented at the hearing, however, I am compelled to conclude that this is the case," she wrote."

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http://news.yahoo.com/texas-school-force-teenager-wear-locator-chip-judge-021126100.html

"A public school district in Texas can require students to wear locator chips when they are on school property, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday in a case raising technology-driven privacy concerns among liberal and conservative groups alike."

"

The American Civil Liberties Union is among the rights organizations to oppose the district's use of radio frequency identification, or RFID, technology.

"We don't want to see this kind of intrusive surveillance infrastructure gain inroads into our culture," ACLU senior policy analyst Jay Stanley said. "We should not be teaching our children to accept such an intrusive surveillance technology."

The district's RFID policy has also been criticized by conservatives, who call it an example of "big government" further monitoring individuals and eroding their liberties and privacy rights.

The Rutherford Institute, a conservative Virginia-based policy center that represented Hernandez in her federal court case, said the ruling violated the student's constitutional right to privacy, and vowed to appeal."

GIven New Hampshire's emphasis on liberty, I do not foresee this coming to NH anytime soon. However, it is pretty outrageous conduct to be allowed anywhere in America. Students still have constitutional rights while in school.

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http://news.yahoo.com/college-student-wins-stalking-order-against-parents-084658542--abc-news-parenting.html

"A 21-year-old theatre student has obtained a civil stalking restraining order against her parents after convincing a judge that they attempt to control all aspects of her daily life."

"

"They basically thought that they were paying for my college tuition and living expenses that they could tell me what to do who to hang out with ... basically control all of my daily life," Ireland told ABC News.

The dean's list student's complaints against her parents began when she realized they'd installed monitoring software on her computer and her phone. They paid unannounced visits, traveling 600 miles from their home in Kansas, to meet with Aubrey's department head.

They also accused their daughter of promiscuity, doing drugs, and having mental issues to the point where they were considering going to court to order that she get treatment.

"My mom has always been very overly involved," Ireland said. "I would have to get on Skype all the time to show them that I was in my dorm room, or there were nights I had to leave my Skype on all night and my mom would watch me basically sleep.""

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http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/oklahoma-judge-sentences-teen-church-10-years-204920227--abc-news-topstories.html

"

Anybody who knows Oklahoma District Court Judge Mike Norman probably yawned at the news that he'd sentenced a teen offender to attend church as part of his probation arrangement, and that the judge's pastor was in the courtroom at the time.

Not only had he handed down such a sentence before, but he'd required one man to bring the church program back with him when he reported to court."

"

The judge could have sent Alred to jail but, instead, taking into account his clean criminal and school records, sentenced him to wear a drug and alcohol bracelet, participate in counseling groups and attend a church of his choosing - weekly. He must also graduate from high school.

To avoid jail time, Norman gave Alred a maximum 10-year deferred sentence."

The constitution has been interpreted to separate church and State. For example, public schools cannot require a prayer. I think this judge's order is unconstitutional, but when no one appeals, bad law is created.

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http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/denver-woman-sentenced-faking-ptsd-dodge-jury-duty-161810396--abc-news-health.html

"

A Denver woman has pleaded guilty to second-degree perjury and attempting to influence a public servant for faking post-traumatic stress disorder to dodge jury duty, according to a statement from the Denver District Attorney.

Susan Cole arrived for jury selection in June 2011 looking purposefully disheveled, wearing curlers in her hair and mismatched shoes, according to an affidavit obtained by the Denver Post."

"

Cole was excused from her civic duties. But her plot was foiled four months later when Judge Mansfield heard a woman bragging about how she faked mental illness to evade jury duty on a local radio show.

The woman, who called herself "Char from Denver," was Cole, an author who uses "Char" as a pen name, the Denver Post reported.

Cole pleaded guilty Tuesday and was given a two-year deferred judgment for the felony count of attempting to influence a public servant, a felony, and two years of probation for the misdemeanor count of second degree perjury, according to the Denver District Attorney. She is also required to perform 40 hours of community service."

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NH updates law regarding confidentiality of police files

http://www.unionleader.com/article/20121111/NEWS03/121119973/1006/news03

"A law change aimed at making sure prosecutors tell defendants if police officers set to testify against them have credibility problems went into effect virtually unnoticed five months ago, but it is quickly generating controversy as defense attorneys disagree with the state's interpretation."

"Giuda, an attorney who lost his seat in Tuesday's election, said he made changes to RSA 105:13-b because he passionately believes people accused of crimes should be informed if police personnel records contain information that could hurt an officer's credibility as a witness.""

Giuda said the old law was unconstitutional. Police and prosecutors had been relying on a 2004 memo by former Attorney General Peter Heed in determining what to turn over from police personnel records, Giuda said.

Now, if police and prosecutors fail to disclose such material - which includes lying under oath, theft, fraud or any conduct that could affect an officer's truthfulness - they will be in violation of state law, Giuda said." (Also called a Laurie issue)

"In the 1993 case State v. Laurie, a first-degree murder conviction against Carl Laurie was reversed after he was sentenced to life in prison because the state didn't tell the defense that the lead police detective's personnel file contained matters that called into question his truthfulness."

"

On Wednesday, Rice sent her analysis of the new law to the 10 county attorneys, who along with her office are responsible for maintaining confidential lists of police officers with potential Laurie matters and for disclosing relevant information to defendants.

Rice told them that it appears the law differentiates between exculpatory evidence and evidence in the 1972 U.S. Supreme Court case Giglio v. United States. The high court ordered a new trial in Giglio because the prosecution failed to tell jurors that a witness was promised he wouldn't be prosecuted in exchange for his testimony."

 

 

I have run into a few officers in the past who have Laurie issues. When an officer does have a Laurie issue, it certainly can put into question his credibility. An experienced New Hampshire Lawyer may know if the officer who arrested you has a Laurie issue.

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http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/police-capture-sex-offender-girlfriend-likes-department-facebook-194459826.html

"Dyllan Naecher, 29, is a convicted sex offender in Maryland. He was allegedly hiding out with his girlfriend Samantha Dillow, 22, in Virginia. We still don't know exactly what motivated Dillow, but for some reason she decided to "like" the local police department's Facebook page.

Tazewell County police then used the geographic stamp left by Dillow's "like" to pinpoint her residence."

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"Breibart faces a 10-count federal indictment for extortion and fraud, and a maximum of 20 years in prison on each count."

"

On Sept. 19, Breibart was arrested and charged with five counts of extortion, four counts of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud. The indictment lists three different people who allegedly wiped out their savings, investment and retirement accounts to pay Breibart. According to the indictment, between November 2010 and June, 2012, Breibart devised and intended to defraud clients and to obtain money and property from them by means of "false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises."

He told clients that they faced IRS penalties and possible criminal charges, but that he would handle the cases himself and keep the matters private and sealed if they paid him specified amounts of money.

In one instance, Breibart told a man that he owed the IRS $368,000, but that if he paid the full amount, along with a $50,000 "attorney's fee," Breibart would take care of the matter. The man transferred the money, even though there was no IRS investigation. Breibart, in turn, "converted those funds to pay for expenses and obligations … to his law firm, to him personally and to other clients."

In another instance, Breibart told a woman whom he had helped with her divorce that her "estranged husband was being investigated by the IRS and that her assets were vulnerable." Breibart told her to liquidate and transfer money to him to be held in his trust account. The woman sent Breibart's firm a $500,000 check from her investment accounts. But there had never been any IRS investigation.

Breibart even asked a couple to send him $218,000 because he said their son, whom he had once represented on state criminal charges, might be targeted by the FBI. But if they gave him hundreds of thousands of dollars, Breibart would keep the FBI at bay. The couple did, but there had never been any investigation against their son, according to the indictment."

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Posted by on in Blog

http://news.yahoo.com/florida-police-officer-slams-woman-car-goes-jail-175620064--abc-news-topstories.html

"A veteran cop was fired and charged with criminal battery after officers reviewed a video of him slamming a woman into her car in Pensacola, Fla. "We have certain expectations of our police officers, and when I looked at the video, I was disappointed because I felt like that didn't stand up to those expectations," Pensacola Police Chief Chip Simmons told ABCNews.com. "We determined that what we saw on the video was inconsistent with what our policies allow and what state statute allows."

Dash cam footage from Aug. 2 shows Officer Christopher Geraci telling Abbi Bonds to get back in her car before he grabs her left arm and swings her body into the side of the car, causing her to fall to her knees and bang her chin against the vehicle.

"I'm not fighting you," Bonds, 29, is heard saying as he cuffs her. "Why are you hitting me?""

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Posted by on in Blog

http://autos.yahoo.com/blogs/motoramic/king-lemon-laws-collects-618-000-judgment-mercedes-195144624.html

"Milwaukee lawyer Vince Megna calls himself the King of the Lemon Laws, those arcane rules that allow carbuyers to demand full refunds on new vehicles if they suffer repeated failures after leaving the dealership. This week, Megna collected on the largest U.S. lemon law victory ever -- a $618,000 judgment against Mercedes-Benz over a 2005 E-Class sedan -"

"

Megna claims to have represented more than 1,500 cases, including more than 700 victories against General Motors alone. In October 2005, Waukesha businessman Marco Marquez hired Megna to handle a lemon law claim on his $56,000 2005 Mercedes-Benz E320 sedan, which he'd bought that April and had serviced for failures to start several times afterwards. Over the next month, Megna, the dealership and Mercedes battled back and forth about the claim; at one point, a Mercedes representative asked Marquez to drop his suit and fire Megna so that they could "fix this amongst men."

When Mercedes missed a 30-day deadline to give Marquez the refund he'd asked for, Megna filed suit. Mercedes claimed it had tried to pay a refund on the last day, but that Marquez had intentionally kept his bank from granting the proper approvals. After bouncing through Wisconsin's courts for six years, the state Supreme Court ruled in May that Marquez had done all he was required to do, rejecting Mercedes' defense. By then, the penalties had grown to $618,000."

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Having a mother who was a kindergarten teacher for many years, and having a BA in sociology, I find this person's "study" rediculous. Anyone with common sense, or a background in statistics or research can figure out the obvious flaws in this persons scientific (or non-scientific) methods.

http://news.yahoo.com/does-kindergarten-lead-to-crime--fact-checking-n-h--legislator-s--research-.html

"

Kindergarten — that bastion of macaroni crafts, crayon-eating and life lessons in sharing — is actually a major driver of crime, at least according to data collected by New Hampshire state legislator Bob Kingsbury.

Kingsbury (R-Laconia), 86, recently claimed that analyses he’s been carrying out since 1996 show that communities in his state that have kindergarten programs have up to 400% more crime than localities whose classrooms are free of finger-painting 5-year-olds. Pointing to his hometown of Laconia, the largest of 10 communities in Belknap County, the legislator noted that it has the only kindergarten program in the county and the most crime, including most or all of the county's rapes, robberies, assaults and murders.

The lawmaker, who opposes New Hampshire's public kindergarten mandate, promoted his theory at a Belknap County meeting of state legislators last week, stirring enough controversy to provoke responses from the Democratic candidates in New Hampshire's gubernatorial race: for the record, they support kindergarten.

So, what could account for the association he found between early childhood education and crime? "We're taking children away from their mothers too soon," Kingsbury said. He explained his research this way to the "Huffington Post":

"The sources I have is, I went to the Department of Education and got a list of kindergartens and I went to the safety department and got the crime report. ... In general, the towns with a kindergarten have 400 percent more crime than other towns in the same county. In every county, the towns and cities with kindergarten had more crime."

But Kingsbury's conclusions contradict virtually the entire body of literature on the effects of early childhood education. And his "research" isn't published, of course. While there's nothing wrong with investigating counterintuitive hypotheses, like the idea that kindergarten could cause crime, Kingsbury's analysis makes a number of Science 101 errors that are instructive to examine.


(MORE: The 20 Best- and Worst-Paid College Majors )

To start, scientists who set out to investigate a topic first tend to review the earlier literature. Kingsbury argues that age 5 is too early for children to spend time away from their parents, but a check of previous data reveals that even younger children — preschoolers aged 3 to 4 — enjoy wide-reaching benefits by receiving high-quality education outside the home.

In a 2004 paper [PDF] by Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman of the University of Chicago and colleagues, a review of the literature found that overall, preschool and very early childhood education increase children's educational achievement, raise their rates of future employment, cut welfare dependence and yes, reduce delinquency and crime.

A more recent study, published in the esteemed journal Science last July, followed more than 1,500 poor children born in Chicago between 1979 and 1980. Those who attended preschool starting at age 3 or 4 (the children went to the second-oldest federally funded preschool program in the country) were 22% less likely to be convicted for a felony, 28% less likely to develop alcohol or other drug problems, and 24% more likely to go to college, compared with those who started school later in childhood.

In other words, if kindergarten is linked to crime, it's because kids start school too late, not too early. Certainly, questions about early childhood education are complex and worth asking: What are the effects of day care for the very youngest children? What is the right age to start kindergarten? Should it should last all day and what should the curriculum include? However, there’s no suggestion in the research that kindergarten per se leads to criminal activity.

Nonetheless, Kingsbury's data appears to support the opposite conclusion. Why that appearance doesn't reflect reality comes down to the difference between simple correlation and true causality.

(MORE: How to cut crime, alcoholism and addiction: It’s not elementary, but preschool)

In life, many things are correlated. For example, you might find that students from communities with more hot tubs in their homes have higher rates of college graduation. But you can’t conclude from a mere statistical association that giving everyone a hot tub will guarantee college success: What’s far more likely is that richer communities have more hot tubs — and income is well known to be linked with higher educational attainment.

Similarly, there’s likely to be a strong correlation between air conditioner sales and ice cream sales, but no one would argue that buying an air conditioner makes you want to eat ice cream, or vice versa. Quite obviously, both effects can be attributed to a third factor: hot weather.

The fact that correlation does not equal cause — and that powerful correlations may be linked with unmeasured factors that are truly causal — is the reason that genuine scientific research often involves complex statistical analysis. Determining causality is extremely difficult in science, and it typically requires experiments that are designed to allow investigators to manipulate the conditions carefully and to rule out any other factors that might be at play.

That’s why, for example, the FDA requires data from randomized controlled trials of a drug before approving it. Without being able to compare outcomes in people who are randomly chosen to receive the drug to those who are randomly given placebo or another comparable treatment, it is difficult to determine whether the new drug hurts or harms. If investigators were to rely only on patient anecdotes of success, they would surely miss instances of failure, or they might mistake normal fluctuations in response to the drug or placebo effects for a true drug response."

"Kingsbury’s so-called research, for example, didn’t control for factors like income or population size, which are already known to have a big influence on crime rates, and which could also correlate with the presence of kindergarten programs. Towns with larger populations might have both more crime and more kindergartens — not because sending 5-year-olds to learn their ABCs together creates antisocial behavior, but simply because more people means more crime. Similarly, public kindergartens may be more likely to exist in lower-income communities, where crime rates already tend to be higher, because property is more affordable or because richer neighborhoods may rely more on private childcare arrangements."

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Posted by on in Bankruptcy

http://news.yahoo.com/dewey-leboeuf-files-chapter-11-seeks-liquidation-015330179--finance.html

"

The crippled law firm Dewey & Leboeuf LLP filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday night and will seek approval to liquidate its business after failing to find a merger partner, marking the biggest collapse of a law firm in U.S. history.

Once one of the largest law firms in the U.S., Dewey has been hit by the loss of the vast majority of its roughly 300 partners to other firms amid concerns about compensation and a heavy debt load.

Dewey had warned employees earlier this month of the possibility the firm may shut down, and a person familiar with the matter had told Reuters that the firm was considering a bankruptcy filing.

"Dewey's failure is rocking the industry in the sense that most firms are saying to themselves, if Dewey could go down, could we?" Kent Zimmermann, a legal consultant at the Zeughauser Group, said in an email Monday night."

"

Negative economic conditions, along with the firm's partnership compensation arrangements, created a situation where its cash flow was insufficient to cover capital expenses and full compensation expectations, Dewey said.

"During the first quarter of 2012, the firm was confronted with liquidity constraints that led to the precipitous resignation of over 160 of the firm's 300 partners by May 11," the New-York based firm said.

Dewey listed liabilities in the range of $100 million to $500 million, according to the filing. It had already terminated 433 of its 533 New York employees earlier this month, according to the state's labor department."

"

As of the petition date, Dewey's assets consisted of about $13 million in cash, accounts receivable of about $255 million, various pieces of artwork, and about $11 million invested in an insurance consortium, among other potential claims, according to the filing.

In the interim, Dewey said the firm will be operating on a budget to be determined by the court. The firm has petitioned the court for permission to continue to pay salaries, benefits and paid time-off for current employees."

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http://omg.yahoo.com/blogs/now/octomom-files-bankruptcy-postpones-auction-her-home-225528956.html

"Just one day after Nadya "Octomom" Suleman insisted "I am making money" and could afford a $520 haircut, she claimed Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The single mom-of-14 filed in federal court on Friday, three days before her graffiti-covered La Habra, California, home was set to hit the auction block because she hasn't made a mortgage payment in a year. In the court papers, the 36-year-old listed her assets as $50,000 and her debts up to $1 million."

If you know you are going to file bankruptcy, it could be a violation of the statute to purposely rack up bills. A bankruptcy judge or trustee will look over expenses to see if any may be fraudulent.

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Posted by on in Criminal Defense

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/look-inside-world-nicest-prison-180524054.html

"

Picture this: A small Norwegian island dotted with pine trees, rocky coasts, rustic farms and private, wooden cottages. It sounds almost like the perfect romantic getaway. But the residents are actually inmates confined to what some are calling the "world's nicest prison."

CNN has an excellent, in-depth look at Bastoy Prison, located on a one-square-mile island in southern Norway. It's unconventional to say the least; neither the prisoners nor the guards wear uniforms, and the inmates have keys to their own rooms."

"Nonetheless, during the summer months, the island's 115 prisoners can sunbathe on the beachfront, go fishing, play tennis or take a relaxing sauna. And these aren't low-level offenders either; CNN reports that most of the inmates have been sentenced for serious crimes, including murder and rape."

"

"If we have created a holiday camp for criminals here, so what?" said the prison's governor Arne Kvernvik Nilsen. "We should reduce the risk of reoffending, because if we don't, what's the point of punishment, except for leaning toward the primitive side of humanity?"

And sure enough, Bastoy does have a lower level of recidivism (16 percent) than other prisons in the country, and much lower numbers than U.S. prisons. About 43 percent of former U.S. prison inmates reoffend within two years of being released, according to a recent study released by the Pew Center on the States."

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http://news.yahoo.com/study-2-000-convicted-then-exonerated-23-years-040242436.html

"More than 2,000 people who were falsely convicted of serious crimes have been exonerated in the United States in the past 23 years, according to a new archive compiled at two universities."

"T

he database compiled and analyzed by the researchers contains information on 873 exonerations for which they have the most detailed evidence. The researchers are aware of nearly 1,200 other exonerations, for which they have less data.

They found that those 873 exonerated defendants spent a combined total of more than 10,000 years in prison, an average of more than 11 years each. Nine out of 10 of them are men and half are African-American.

Nearly half of the 873 exonerations were homicide cases, including 101 death sentences. Over one-third of the cases were sexual assaults."

"

DNA evidence led to exoneration in nearly one-third of the 416 homicides and in nearly two-thirds of the 305 sexual assaults.

Researchers estimate the total number of felony convictions in the United States is nearly a million a year."

"In half of the 873 exonerations studied in detail, the most common factor leading to false convictions was perjured testimony or false accusations. Forty-three percent of the cases involved mistaken eyewitness identification, and 24 percent of the cases involved false or misleading forensic evidence.

In two out of three homicides, perjury or false accusation was the most common factor leading to false conviction. In four out of five sexual assaults, mistaken eyewitness identification was the leading cause of false conviction."

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http://news.yahoo.com/schools-barred-handcuffing-students-180900607--abc-news-topstories.html

"

Public schools in Jackson, Miss., will no longer be allowed to handcuff students to poles or other objects, under a settlement with the Southern Poverty Law Center reached in U.S. District Court.

Jody Owens, director of the Mississippi office of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said the Capital City Alternatives school in Mississippi's largest district  must immediately stop handcuffing students, a practice used to punish even such things as dress-code violations."

"We have some students who have gone on record to say it's happened to them three or four days in a row," Owens said. "We know there are some students who actually had to eat their lunch with one hand handcuffed to a railing."

"According to the settlement, approved by U.S. District Judge Tom Lee, district employees will stop handcuffing students younger than 13, and can only handcuff older students for crimes, and no student may be handcuffed to railings, poles, desks, chairs or other objects."

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Posted by on in Blog

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/man-saws-off-own-foot-continue-receiving-unemployment-211222700.html

An unemployed Austrian man cut off his own foot with a mitre saw so he could continue receiving jobless benefits.

Hans Url, a 56-year-old from Mitterlabill, then took the foot and cooked it in the oven so doctors could not reattach it.

Url was airlifted to a hospital in Graz, where he was put in an artificial coma so doctors could stabilize him.

"The foot was too badly burned to reattach," a hospital spokesman said. "All we could do was seal the wound. He had lost a lot of blood--he almost died on the way to hospital."

According to the Austrian Times, Url had complained before the incident that he was too sick to work and "didn't like the work he was offered."

The kicker: according to the paper, being footless does not necessarily qualify Url for unemployment compensation.

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