Articles Posted in New Hampshire Supreme Court

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Defendant George Colbath was convicted by jury on 17 charges of aggravated felonious sexual assault (AFSA). On appeal, he argued the Superior Court erred by admitting evidence of certain uncharged conduct pursuant to New Hampshire Rule of Evidence 404(b). He also argued the Superior Court erred by allowing two witnesses to testify about statements that he allegedly made about the victim’s appearance. Finding no reversible error, the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed. View "New Hampshire v. Colbath" on Justia Law

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Defendant Joel Martin appealed his convictions for second degree murder, second degree assault, and being a felon in possession of a dangerous weapon. Charges arose from a 2015 fight outside a Manchester, New Hampshire nightclub. He argued the Superior Court erred when it: (1) failed to inquire how he wanted to proceed if his motion to discharge his counsel were granted; and (2) denied his request to instruct the jury to consider the effect of alcohol intoxication on eyewitness identification testimony. Finding no reversible error, the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed. View "New Hampshire v. Martin" on Justia Law

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Defendant Jeffrey Keenan appealed his conviction for driving a motor vehicle while his vehicle registration privileges were suspended. Because defendant’s conviction was based upon his lawful operation of a vehicle owned and registered to his son, the New Hampshire Supreme Court reversed. “The State’s interpretation would also prohibit this same individual from renting and operating a vehicle owned, properly registered, and insured by a car rental agency. Indeed, this interpretation equates the suspension of an individual’s registration privileges with a suspension of his or her driving privileges, despite the fact that these two privileges are distinct and are governed by separate statutes. We do not find that these results are either logical or just.” View "New Hampshire v. Keenan" on Justia Law

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A jury convicted defendant Abhishek Sachdev on two counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault and one count of simple assault. On appeal, defendant argued the trial court erred when it denied his motion to suppress upon finding that: (1) he was not in custody for Miranda purposes when he was questioned by detectives about the alleged assault; and (2) his consent to search the store and his person were “voluntary and free of duress and coercion.” Finding no error, the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed his conviction. View "New Hampshire v. Sachdev" on Justia Law

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Defendant Hjalmar Bjorkman was convicted by jury on one count of using computer services for a prohibited purpose. He challenged the trial court’s denial of his motion to dismiss, contending that jury selection did not fulfill the requirement under the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD) that a defendant be “brought to trial” within 180 days of filing a request for final disposition. Finding no reversible error, the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed Bjorkman’s conviction. View "New Hampshire v. Bjorkman" on Justia Law

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Defendant Owen Labrie appealed his conviction by jury on three counts of sexual assault, one count of endangering the welfare of a child, and one count of using computer services for a prohibited purpose. He challenged: (1) the sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction under RSA 649-B:4, I(a); (2) the trial court’s decision not to allow certain cross-examination by the defendant of a State’s witness; and (3) the trial court’s failure to sua sponte correct statements made by the prosecutor in closing argument. Finding no reversible error, the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed. View "New Hampshire v. Labrie" on Justia Law

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The State of New Hampshire appealed a superior court order granting defendant Shannon Glavan's motion to suppress evidence seized from her automobile. Defendant was discovered sleeping in the driver's seat in a gas station parking lot. The station had been closed since 11:00 PM; she was discovered at 1:45 AM. The officer that found defendant sleeping shone a light into the car and saw a "loaded syringe containing a clear, reddish liquid" by her leg. The officer believed the syringe to contain narcotics. The officer asked defendant to exit the car, not to touch the syringe to avoid being stuck by the needle. The syringe later tested positive for methamphetamine. Defendant was charged with possession of a controlled substance. In granting her motion to suppress, the trial court concluded there was no recognized automobile exception to the warrant requirement under the State Constitution, and the plain view doctrine did not authorize the officer's warrantless search of defendant’s vehicle. On the facts of this case, the New Hampshire Supreme Court concluded the defendant’s automobile was stopped in transit, and the trial court erred by granting the defendant’s motion to suppress. View "New Hampshire v. Glavan" on Justia Law

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Defendant Sean Stacey appealed his convictions on one felony count and one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled drug. On appeal, he argued the Superior Court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence of the drugs he was convicted of possessing. At issue was a warrantless search and seizure; police procured a warrant five days after the seizure, which defendant argued was an unreasonable delay such that police did not have probable cause to support his arrest. Finding this argument unavailing in light of New Hampshire caselaw precedent, the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed defendant's convictions. View "New Hampshire v. Stacey" on Justia Law

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Defendant Jason Wilbur was the former stepfather of the alleged victim (child) in the case. In 2007, the child disclosed she had been sexually assaulted by defendant. Defendant was subsequently indicted on charges of aggravated felonious sexual assault (AFSA), but the State nol prossed the charges in April 2009. In 2010, defendant was re-indicted on: (1) one count of AFSA alleging a single act of digital penetration; (2) one count of AFSA alleging a pattern of digital penetration; (3) one count of AFSA alleging a single act of penile penetration; and (4) one count of AFSA alleging a pattern of penile penetration. In May 2011, a jury found defendant guilty on the two counts of AFSA alleging digital penetration, and acquitted him on the two counts of penile penetration. The New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed the convictions on direct appeal. In June 2014, defendant moved for a new trial, which the trial court denied following an evidentiary hearing. This appeal followed; defendant alleged his trial counsel’s performance was constitutionally deficient in four respects: (1) failure to rebut the State’s characterization of the defendant’s statement to the police; (2) lack of preparation of the mother for her testimony; (3) introduction of evidence of a prior sexual assault committed against the child by another person without a reasonable strategy; and (4) failure to object to opinion testimony given by a child protective services (CPS) worker. Because the Supreme Court agreed with defendant with respect to claims (1) and (4), the Court found it unnecessary to examine claims (2) and (3). The matter was reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "New Hampshire v. Wilbur" on Justia Law

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The State appealed a superior court order granting defendant Foad Afshar a new trial following his convictions on one count of simple assault, two counts of unlawful mental health practice, and one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault. On appeal, the State argued the trial court unsustainably exercised its discretion when, during a post-verdict hearing on the defendant’s motion for a new trial, it failed to apply the proper legal analysis in evaluating the potential biases of two jurors. Finding no such error, the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed. View "New Hampshire v. Afshar" on Justia Law