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.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Team Blogs
    Team Blogs Find your favorite team blogs here.
  • Login
Recent blog posts

Posted by on in Blog

"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 "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?""

Hits: 1220

Posted by on in Estate Planning

When administering an estate there are two types of taxes you must account for. First, an executor must value the assets of the estate.  In 2012, an estate with a value of less than $5,120,000 is exempted from the federal estate tax.  The law is set to change in 2013 when the exemption amount will be reduced to $1,000,000.  The second tax burden is estate income. Although an estate gets a step up in basis for assets derived from the decedent, there may be a situation in which the executor delays selling the assets or receives dividend income.  In these situations, the executor must file a 1041 for the estate.

As always, it is best to contact an experienced estate planning attorney if you need help administering an estate. 

Hits: 1340

Posted by on in Criminal Defense

During the jury instruction Judge James O’Neill stated “even if you find that the State has proven each and every element of the offense charged beyond a reasonable doubt, you may still find the defendant not guilty if you have a conscientious feeling that a not guilty verdict would be a fair result in this case."

The jury nullification statute was signed into law by Governor Lynch this year. 

Hits: 1209

Posted by on in Criminal Defense

Just recently I had a client not show up to his hearing date for plea and sentencing. Not only was he sent notice of the hearing date from the court, but he also received notice from this firm.  As a result of his failure to attend the hearing, the judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest.  Now instead of a hearing on plea and sentencing, my client must surrender himself forcing him to spend more time and money to resolve his case. 

As I always tell my clients, "You MUST attend all court hearings."

If you are in a similar situation, it is advisable to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. 

Hits: 1101

Posted by on in Blog

"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."

Hits: 1161

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.


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."

Hits: 1389

Posted by on in Bankruptcy


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."

Hits: 1333

"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.

Hits: 1189

Posted by on in Criminal Defense


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."

Hits: 1377

"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."


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."

Hits: 1239


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."

Hits: 1283

Posted by on in Estate Planning

Here's the scenrio:  you've just written you will and now you want to execute it, what's required?  In New Hampshire, you will need two witnesses and a notary.  However, each witness must be an uninterested party.  Do not ask a family member, like a daughter or son, to be a witness.  You should ask an impartial third party to witness your signature in front of a notary. 

Tagged in: notary witness
Hits: 1375

Tax day was two weeks ago.  If you are currently in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in New Hampshire, you are required to send the Trustee a copy of your 2011 tax return.  This is a friendly reminder. 

Tagged in: tax return
Hits: 1238

There isn't really a great category for these items so I'll just include them in a miscellaneous post.  Three issues that arise during consultations are: 1. Utilities; 2. Employment Discrimination; 3. Driver's License.  I will go over each in order.

1. Can my electric company shut off my power because of bankruptcy? In many cases, a client owes their electric company a few months of service and have received a service interuption notice.  Once a bankruptcy is filed, the electric company is required to make your account current and cannot refuse service.  The electric company can require a deposit, however.

2. Can an employer of governmental agency fire me solely for filing bankruptcy? No, you can not be fired for filing bankruptcy.  That doesn't mean you are immune from being fired.  An employer can still fire you for cause.

3. Can I get my driver's license back if I lost it because I could not pay court ordered fines for damages caused in an accident?  Yes, if you lost your license solely for failure to pay then bankruptcy will allow you to get your license back.

Each one of these issues is more complicated then the above descriptions.  Please consult a local New Hampshire or Massachusetts attorney to discuss these issues in more depth.

Hits: 1172

Posted by on in Estate Planning

Step one is setting up a conservatorship in Massachusetts (I'll go over New Hampshire in the next blog) is to access Massachusetts Probate website:

This site has all the information and forms that you will need to file with the court.  Click the guardianship and conservatorship link. You will be taken to a page dedicated to these petitions.   Here, you can click the forms and instructions link or you can explore the guidelines that Massachusetts has provided you to help with the process.  Once you click forms and instructions, you will be taken down on the page to the fillable and non-fillable pdf files. Form MPC 130 is the conservatorship petition. The petition will require you to detail a number of things including, but not limited to, your address, the respondent's address, the respondent's family, the respondent's assets etc.  Once you have this form completed, you will also need either a medical certificate or a clinical team report, which form you needs depends on the mental disability.  If the person you want the conservatorship for has Alzheimers, for example, then you will need a medically team report, but if the person is intellectually disabled you will need a clinical team report.

Once you have the petition completed and have the correct medical report attached, you will need a surety bond.  There are a number of surety bond companies in Massachusetts with experience in this arena.  You will have to apply for the bond and pay an annual premium.  Now, once you have your petition, report, bond and filing fee you can file your petition with the appropriate probate court. 

This can be a difficult and timely process.  My best advice is to consult a Massachusetts attorney for help in this area. 

Hits: 1338

First, what is a conservatorship?  In both New Hampshire and Massachusetts, a conservatorship grants the petition the authority to make financial decision on the behalf of the respondent.  This includes, but is not limited to, paying bills, investing assets, and selling assets.

In the next post, I'll detail the step-by-step process required to file conservatorship paperwork. 

Hits: 1289

Posted by on in Bankruptcy

Many New Hampshire and Massachusetts bankruptcy attorney's are attending the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorney's annual conference in San Antonio this weekend.  A few of the topics at this years annual conference are: Securitization, Protecting Retirment Assets, Tax Claims, and Preferences.  

Hits: 1315

To start with, once you file your bankruptcy petition your assets become part of the bankruptcy estate.  Each of the 50 states and the federal government allow you to exempt certain asets, thereby removing them, from your bankruptcy estate.  Generally, there are two types of exemptions:  In-Kind and Limited Interest.  An In-Kind exemption allows you to exempt an asset in full, regardless of value.  An example of an In-Kind exemption is disability benefits.  In contrast, a Limited Interest exemption has a dollar cap for each category.  An example of a Limited Interest exemption is the federal motor vehicle exemption.  A debtor can only exempt up to $3450 of equity in one motor vehicle.

If you are unsure about your available exemptions, consult a local bankruptcy attorney 

Hits: 1102

You absolutely need a will.  The truth is that a will is more for your family than for yourself.  After you pass, there is always confusion.  What do we do with the house?  Where does dad want to be buried?  Who gets the China?  These questions and more arise when a loved one passes away.  A will can offer guidance on who is to become the executor, what to do with the house, how to care for your remains.  It is important to answer these questions while you still can.

If you are interested in estate planning, call a local attorney for guidance. 

Tagged in: executor will
Hits: 1278

Posted by on in Criminal Defense

Here's a common scenrio:  You've just been arrested.  You were handcuffed and taken down to the police station.  You were finger printed and placed in lockup while you wait for the bail commissioner.  Do I need a lawyer, you think to yourself.  The answer is yes.  A lawyer is necessary to protect your rights, and to be honest, to give you piece of mind.  The criminal justice system can be a confusing and frightening experience.  The question am I going to jail will run through your mind.  The right lawyer can help you through the process and calm your fears. 

If you've been recently arrested, contact an experienced criminal attorney. 

Hits: 1343

Serving all of N.H.

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