Justia Criminal Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in New Hampshire Supreme Court
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Bruce Moore pled guilty to burglary. He was ordered to pay restitution to the owners of the home that he had burglarized. A portion of the ordered restitution was for the cost of a home security system that the homeowners had installed in their home after the burglary. The specific question presented for the New Hampshire Supreme Court's review was whether the cost of the security system installed by the homeowners was an “economic loss,” as defined by RSA 651:62, III(a), and was therefore a compensable expense under New Hampshire's restitution statute. The Court concluded the cost of the system was not an "economic loss" and reversed the superior court's judgment. View "New Hampshire v. Moore" on Justia Law

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Defendant Miguel Perez was convicted by jury on two counts of possessing a controlled drug with the intent to distribute, subsequent offense. On appeal, he argued the Superior Court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence seized pursuant to a search of his rental car following a motor vehicle stop. Prior to the stop at issue, officers observed defendant driving a rented car with Colorado license plates, tailgating a tractor trailer. Defendant twice failed to properly signal as he changed lanes to pass the truck. The officer observed multiple cell phones in the passenger seat, and smelled the odor of fresh or burnt marijuana emanate from the passenger compartment. After checking defendant's ID, the officer learned defendant was on parole for murder and there were no active warrants for his arrest. Defendant consented to a search of his vehicle; the officer noted defendant was being "overly cooperative." From this search, the officer discovered two small plastic bags containing drugs. Defendant argued in his motion to suppress evidence that the officer did not have a reasonable, articulable suspicion to expand the scope of the initial stop, his questioning impermissibly prolonged the detention and changed its fundamental nature., and the subsequent consent to search the vehicle was “tainted” by this unconstitutional detention. After review of the trial court record, the New Hampshire Supreme Court disagreed with defendant's contentions and affirmed conviction. View "New Hampshire v. Perez" on Justia Law

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Defendant Jami Castine was convicted on two charges of first degree assault against a minor victim, as well as one charge of an enhanced felony version of second degree assault against the victim’s brother. The trial court sentenced defendant to a stand-committed prison sentence of 10-to-20 years on one of the first degree assault convictions, a consecutive 10-to-20 year sentence on the enhanced second degree assault conviction, and a consecutive 10-to-20 year sentence on the second first degree assault conviction that was suspended in its entirety for a period ending 10 years from the defendant’s release. Defendant appealed the trial court’s denial of her motion to set aside the jury’s verdict, and for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, as to one of her two first degree assault convictions. She argued that one of the first degree assault convictions should have been reversed because the evidence at trial was insufficient to exclude the reasonable conclusion that the injuries and serious bodily harm alleged in the two first degree assault indictments were the result of a single act. Defendant did not challenge her other convictions. The New Hampshire Supreme Court agreed that one of her first degree assault convictions should have been reversed, and remanded. View "New Hampshire v. Castine" on Justia Law

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The State appealed a trial court's order suppressing two statements made by defendant Dominic Carrier. The trial court ruled defendant was subject to custodial interrogation at the time he gave the first set of statements, and, because he was not given the warnings required by Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), those statements were obtained in violation of his right against self-incrimination. The court suppressed the second set of statements because it found that the State did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant gave them voluntarily. After review of the statements and the trial court record, the New Hampshire Supreme Court found no reversible error and affirmed. View "New Hampshire v. Carrier" on Justia Law

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Defendant Nathaniel Smith appealed a superior court order denying his motion to enforce the terms of a plea agreement that he entered into with the State. He argued the trial court erred in ruling that the sentences addressed in the agreement would run consecutively to an unrelated sentence that he was serving at the time that he executed the agreement. After review, the New Hampshire Supreme Court concurred, vacated the trial court order and remanded for correction. View "New Hampshire v. Smith" on Justia Law

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Defendant Brian Eldridge appealed his convictions by jury on one count each of possession of a controlled drug, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He argued the trial court erred by: (1) concluding that the immunity afforded by RSA 318-B:28-b (2017) did not apply to the offense of possession with intent to sell a controlled drug; (2) requiring him to waive that statutory immunity before instructing the jury on the lesser included offense of possession; and (3) denying his motion to suppress evidence. After review, the New Hampshire Supreme Court concluded that the immunity provided by RSA 318-B:28-b did not extend to the offense of possession with intent to sell. However, the Court vacated defendant’s conviction for possession because the Court held that, under the circumstances in this case, defendant was entitled to both an instruction on the offense of possession and the statutory immunity. Furthermore, the Court concluded the police officers’ initial warrantless entry into defendant’s apartment was justified by the emergency aid exception to the warrant requirement. View "New Hampshire v. Eldridge" on Justia Law

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Defendant Paulson Papillon was convicted by jury of conspiracy to commit murder, and as an accomplice to reckless second-degree murder. On appeal, he argued the trial court erred by: (1) concluding that he knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived his right to counsel; (2) admitting evidence, in violation of New Hampshire Rule of Evidence 404(b), that he offered to facilitate the murder of another suspected police informant; and (3) finding the evidence sufficient to support his convictions. Finding no reversible error, the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed conviction. View "New Hampshire v. Papillon" on Justia Law

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In 2007, defendant Jason Candello was sentenced on two felonies pursuant to a negotiated plea. On one felony conviction, the trial court sentenced the defendant to a stand-committed sentence of two and one-half to nine years (sentence 1). The maximum of that sentence was subsequently reduced to seven years. On the other felony, the trial court imposed a three-and-one-half-to-seven year sentence that was to run consecutively to the stand-committed sentence on the first felony (sentence 2). The court suspended sentence 2 for ten years subject to conditions. At some point before November 12, 2012, defendant was paroled on sentence 1. On November 12, 2012, defendant committed second degree assault. Defendant’s parole was revoked, and, on November 18, 2012, he resumed serving sentence 1. Sentence 1 ended on March 9, 2014. On March 6, 2013, the trial court set defendant’s bail on the second degree assault charge at $10,000 cash, which he was unable to pay. In February 2014, a jury convicted the defendant of the second degree assault charge. He was sentenced on that charge on May 6, 2014 (sentence 3). Sentence 3 was to run consecutively to sentence 2. On that day, the trial court also imposed sentence 2 (which had previously been suspended for ten years). In December 2018, defendant filed a motion requesting that the trial court amend sentences 2 and 3 so that they ran concurrently, instead of consecutively. The court denied his motion, and defendant appealed. Finding no reversible error, the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed the sentencing. View "New Hampshire v. Candello" on Justia Law

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Defendant Mohammad Salimullah was convicted by jury on one count of attempted murder, two counts of first degree assault, one count of second degree assault, and one count of reckless conduct. He appealed: (1) a superior court order denying his motion to dismiss on the grounds that the State failed to comply with RSA 135:17-a (2015) (amended 2019) in bringing indictments against him in 2016; (2) another superior court order denying his motion for a competency determination prior to sentencing; and (3) a third superior court order imposing a no-contact condition on a stand-committed sentence. After review, the New Hampshire Supreme Court reversed the imposition of the no-contact condition, but otherwise affirmed. View "New Hampshire v. Salimullah" on Justia Law

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Defendants James Folley and his wife, Karen Folley, appealed their convictions after a joint jury trial on two counts of theft by unauthorized taking as a principal or accomplice, and as to James, an additional count of financial exploitation of an elderly adult. They also appealed the trial court’s restitution order requiring that they pay restitution to an assisted living facility where the victim resided at the time of the crimes. To the New Hampshire Supreme Court they argued: (1) the evidence was insufficient to support their convictions; and (2) the trial court erred by ordering them to pay restitution to the facility because it is not entitled to compensation under RSA 651:62 (2016). After review, the Supreme Court affirmed defendants’ convictions but reversed the restitution order because the economic loss claimed by the facility was not a direct result of the defendants’ criminal conduct. View "New Hampshire v. Folley" on Justia Law