New Hampshire Lawyers Blog - Liberty Legal Services

In our blog we will try and give updates on the law and cases throughout New Hampshire, as well as interesting events that occur throughout the country.

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Recent blog posts

Update to the blog post about the Merrimack who injured his mother earlier this week.

http://www.unionleader.com/article/20121128/NEWS03/121129200/1006/news03

Apparently, there is a connection to an 2 year old unsolved murder and the man accused of beating his mother.  We will update as the story unfolds. 

Tagged in: homicide
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Posted by on in Blog

In a case of mistaken identity, a multi-town police task force successfully apprehended a criminal, just not the one they were looking for.

http://www.salemnews.com/local/x2120607314/Wrong-ID-leads-to-arrest-anyway

Tagged in: salem
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The First Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel held that a tax refund of pre-petition earnings is property of the estate. In Matos v. Rivera , the trustee objected to the debtor listing his future tax refund and exemption of it on his schedules.  In the ensuing hearing, the bankruptcy judge agreed with the trustee and held that the tax refund constituted disposable income.  The debtor appealed to the First Circuit BAP.  The BAP reversed the prior decision and found the tax refund to be property of the estate. 

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Posted by on in Criminal Defense

Prima Facie is a latin phrase that means "on the first appearance." Or more generally, something is presumed to be true unless rebutted by opposing evidence.  In the legal context, you typically have 1. a prima facie case; or 2. prima facie evidence.  A prima facie case is one in which the claimant presents sufficient evidence to support a legal claim.  Prima facie evidence is evidence that, unless rebutted, would prove a fact.

So how does this apply to criminal defense?  The answer to that lies in jury instructions.  At trial, the judge will always give instructions of the proceeding to the jury.  In the context of a per se DUI charge in New Hampshire, the judge may say that a breath test of .08 or higher is prima facie evidence of impairment.  This instruction is not a rebuttable presumption as that would imply burden shifting and is unconstitutional in the criminal setting.  However, this instruction represents a presumption of a fact necessary for the state to prove at trial.  You must rebutt that presumption to be successful. 

The above is just a quick outline of the phrase "prima facie" as it applies to criminal proceedings in New Hampshire.  If you've been charged with a crime, it is best to consult a local criminal defense attorney.  

Tagged in: prima facie
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Thomas Foden allegedly beat his mother in her home last night.  Foden broke into her residence 24 - 26 hours after he was released from Southern New Hampshire Medical Center.  Foden was previously diagnosed with schizophrenia. 

http://www.unionleader.com/article/20121126/NEWS03/121129425&source=RSS

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Posted by on in Blog

A Facebook disclaimer has been making the rounds on the popular social media site recently.  Essentially, it's a hoax.  The message itself cannot protect a user from Facebook's terms of use.  Instead, users are protected by United State copyright laws. 

 

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/facebook-copyright-hoax-copy-paste-copyright-facebook-message/story?id=17811357#.ULO8NYfAerk

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One of the downsides to bankruptcy is the ability to secure post filing credit.  Although a bankruptcy discharge wipes out pre filing debt and provides a fresh start to my clients it also negatively affects credit score and financing options.  If you have recently obtained a discharge in bankruptcy and need to purchase a vehicle, you may be having a difficult time working with the dealership or lender.  First, you can always pay cash but for most buyers, this is not feasible.  Second, you can look into dealers that offer their own financing or more "risk" willing lenders.  Expect to put down at least 20% and have a double digit rate, but don't get discouraged.  A car loan can go a long way in restoring your credit. 

Although we are based in New Hampshire, results will be similar out of state. 

Tagged in: car loan
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Posted by on in Blog

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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Posted by on in Blog

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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Criminal Mischief is defined under RSA 634:2.

"A person is guilty of criminal mischief who, having no right to do so nor any reasonable basis for belief of having such a right, purposely or recklessly damages property of another."

The statute takes into consideration the pecuniary loss when determining the degree of the charge.  Criminal mischief is typically charged as a misdemeanor but can be charged as a felony if the loss exceeds $1000.  Below is a newspaper article detailing a felonious criminal mischief charge.  In the story below,the Nashua man caused damages in the amount of $1500 so the state brought the charge as a felony.  

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/984336-469/nashua-man-charged-with-felony-for-spinning.html

Tagged in: criminal mischief
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Posted by on in Blog

As I mentioned in a previous blog post about Hostess' bankruptcy, twinkies will live on.  Only a week after filing a motion to cease business operations, Hostess may have found a suitor.  Sun Capital, a private equity firm, wants to buy Hostess.  CNN has the details:

http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2012/11/19/hostess-sun-buyout/?hpt=hp_t3

Hostess is a VERY strong brand name.  From twinkies to ding dongs to wonder bread, the snack food company has many iconic American brands and the name value alone will bring a slew of interested buyers.  It's not a when; it's an if. 

Tagged in: twinkies
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Posted by on in Criminal Defense

The Nashua Telegraph routinely posts mug shots in their crime section of the online newspaper.

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/csp/cms/sites/Telegraph/crime/crimemugarchive/index.csp

If you've been arrested by Nashua PD, Hudson PD or any surrounding areas, contact us to discuss your case. 

Tagged in: nashua
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WMUR reports that a New Hampshire man was sentenced for eight months in federal prison for tax evasion.  If you are concerned about possible tax fraud, misreporting, or evasion I highly suggest that you contact a local New Hampshire lawyer immediately.  Many times the IRS will work with someone who voluntarily seeks negotiating with the IRS.

http://www.wmur.com/news/nh-news/NH-man-sentenced-to-prison-for-tax-evasion/-/9857858/17471688/-/5rr0l8/-/index.html

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Posted by on in Bankruptcy

Whether you are trying to save your house from foreclosure or simply want to stop the harassing phone calls, we can help you through the bankruptcy process.  We have successfully helped clients discharge medical debt, credit card debt, judgments, liens and more.  

If you need a fresh start, call us and speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. 

Tagged in: 03051
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It appears that as of last week the MOP in Dover, New Hampshire has closed.  If you have been convicted of DWI recently, and still need to complete a MOP program you will need to make alternative arrangements.   If your in the Hudson or Nashua area, give us a call and we may be able to help.

Tagged in: Dover DWI MOP
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Posted by on in Criminal Defense
Ward Bird was convicted of felonious criminal threatening in 2009.  He appealed his conviction to the New Hampshire Supreme court in 2010 but lost his appeal.  The facts of the case are very straight forward.  A woman mistakenly drove onto Mr. Bird's property because she was lost.  Mr. Bird asked her to leave and brandished a firearm.  Ultimately, Governor Lynch commuted his sentence.  The New Hampshire Legislature added the below language into the criminal threatening statue in response to Bird's conviction. 
 
 "A person who responds to a threat which would be considered by a reasonable person as likely to cause serious bodily injury or death to the person or another by displaying a firearm or other means of self-defense with the intent to warn away the person making the threat shall not have committed a criminal act under this section."
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Although shaky, the economy does seem to be ticking up.  Unfortunately, eleven businesses in New Hampshire were forced to file for bankruptcy protection in October.  Here's an article from the New Hampshire Business Review.

http://www.nhbr.com/businessnews/statenews/982517-257/11-n.h.-businesses-file-for-bankruptcy-in.html

Tagged in: business october
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I have a few friends that run their own businesses.  When you run your own business you notice that sometimes your customers don't always pay their bills.  What is your recourse?  Obviously, you can continue to send out invoices and call.  However, if those communications fall on deaf ears you may have to use the court to get payment for your services.  What then is the proper venue: district court vs. small claims court?  

First, small claims is part of the district court.  You can think of it like an express checkout.  If your damages are less than $7,500 you can file a complaint in small claims for around $100.  If they are above $7,500, you cannot file in small claims.  Small claims is designed for the express purpose of speed and low litigation fees.  In fact, most small claims cases do not have attorneys.  If you are ineligible for small claims, I highly recommend hiring an attorney.  Although the civil process is not difficult it is very particular in regards to procedure. 

http://www.courts.state.nh.us/district/civil.htm

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In New Hampshire, you are entitled to a judge trial for all Misdeamnors and Violations.  This occurs at the district court level.  A jury trial is only permitted at the superior court level on appeal from the district court or for a felony.  

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Serving all of N.H.

Manchester Office
212 Coolidge Ave.
Manchester, NH 03102
(603) 583-4444