"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Carroll County Attorney's Office Not Up to Task?

The Conway Daily Sun reported in Tuesday's edition that felony charges had to be dropped in a sex assault case, because the Carroll County Attorney's Office handled the case so poorly.  Two charges of aggravated felonious sexual assault, simple assault and two counts of violation of a protective order were filed against the defendant, but a plea deal resulted in a one year suspended sentence for one count of violating a protective order . All the other charges were dropped.The victim appealed to the NH Attorney General who reviewed the case. 
 Geoff Ward, a prosecutor with the Attorney Generals Office was quoted as saying "What I learned in reviewing this case was that personnel at the county attorney's office, at the time, mishandled the matter." 
County Attorney Thomas Dewhurst was elected in 2014 and his office has been hampered by high turnover to the extent that the NH Attorney General had to lend support to the county with temporary manpower int form of two prosecutors this past summer. At the time, the office was rumoured to be close to crisis mode. The office should have three full-time assistant county attorneys, but five had left or resigned by early last June. 
Whether these latest issues are related to the county's ongoing financial issues and whether taxpayers will once again be on the hook for legal fees and potential litigation is not clear. 


Anonymous said...

Question for the blogger or any member of the county delegation: Is the county attorney's office under the authority of the county commissioners? If so does it follow that the county delegation provides oversight for that segment of the county government? Don't read too much into the questions; just trying to understand this situation a little better.

Joseph Cormier said...

County atty.'s

"Part II, Article 71 of the New Hampshire Constitution provides for County Attorneys to be elected by the inhabitants of the respective counties. However, RSA 7:34 has placed the County Attorneys under the control of the unelected Attorney General, to wit: “the county attorney of each county shall be under the direction of the Attorney General, and, in the absence of the latter, he or she shall perform all the duties of the Attorney General’s office for the county." In Wyman v. Danais, 101 N.H. 487 (1958), the New Hampshire Supreme Court held that:—

Construed together [RSA 7:6, 7:11, and 7:34] demonstrate a legislative purpose to place ultimate responsibility for criminal law enforcement in the Attorney General, and to give him the power to control, direct and supervise criminal law enforcement by the county attorneys in cases where he deems it in the public interest.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Joe. It sounds like the NH AG gang will bare the burden of this night soil situation. I can't imagine a more personally devastating situation than to be a victim of sexual abuse and not get the support of a competent prosecution and find out after half didn't believe her and the half that did, gave up. Another reason why people who falsely accuse someone of such abuse and are proven to be false should live with a similar sentence as if they were he abuser. I don't think this case is such a case. She just got stuck with incompetent lawyers.