Criminal Justice

Some NH police chiefs say it’s time to get rid of officer physical fitness requirements

BY: - February 10, 2023

Enough law enforcement officers are failing to pass the required fitness test for sit-ups, push-ups, and a 1.5-mile run that some police chiefs are backing a bill that would do away with the fitness requirement.  That includes Hinsdale Police Chief Charles Rataj, who told the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee this week that […]

Safety hopes federal grant will speed up DNA testing for criminal investigations

BY: - December 22, 2022

This year, the Department of Safety received more than 18,000 items from criminal investigations requiring DNA testing. It’s taking more than 10 months to process DNA testing requests like these because of staff shortages, complexity of cases, and the volume.  The department hopes to cut that to 60 days with $99,000 in federal money approved […]

Scales of justice

State defends its indigent defense, rejects report’s alleged conflicts of interest

BY: - October 25, 2022

The state is falling short of its constitutional duty to ensure all poor defendants unable to hire a lawyer get an effective legal defense, according to an assessment the state Judicial Council requested of its work. Sarah Blodgett, the council’s executive director, has already incorporated one recommendation from the Sixth Amendment Center’s report, released Tuesday. […]


State seeks $6.4 million in COVID-relief money to build up court access services

BY: - October 12, 2022

The New Hampshire Judicial Branch is seeking to use $6.4 million in federal COVID-19 relief money to help boost remote access to the court, fund court navigators, and increase civil legal resources. In a request to the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee, the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery says the money would help with […]

DHHS issues ‘all call’ to keep Sununu Youth Services Center staffed

BY: - September 29, 2022

A dire shortage of youth counselors at the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester has escalated routine behavior issues to police calls and prompted an “all call” to any Department of Health and Human Services worker willing to pick up an overtime shift, department officials said Tuesday.  These challenges come as the detention center is […]

A row of handguns on display

Department of Justice issues new guidance on state firearms law, seeking to clear the record

BY: - September 12, 2022

A new state law curbing some enforcement of firearms law has drawn intense interest. This month, the Department of Justice is seeking to assuage concerns.  School officials can still report potential shooters on campus, Attorney General John Formella wrote this month. State Police officers can still confiscate weapons from alleged domestic abusers. A new federal […]

Attorney general’s “major” changes to YDC settlement plan clear final vote

BY: - September 7, 2022

A new framework approved by lawmakers Tuesday will allow the state to begin settling claims in January with hundreds of people sexually and physically abused while at the state’s former Youth Development Center. The vote came after Attorney General John Formella made what he described as “major” changes to address lawmakers’ concerns.   But Democrats on […]

John Formella

Fiscal committee declines to approve plan to compensate YDC victims

BY: - August 11, 2022

After citing multiple concerns, lawmakers declined Wednesday to approve the Attorney General’s Office’s proposed plan for compensating hundreds of people sexually and physically abused while held at the former Youth Development Center.  Instead, the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee asked Attorney General John Formella to come back after his office had addressed those concerns, which ranged […]

Attorney who represented church abuse victims defends state’s YDC settlement plan

BY: - August 3, 2022

Attorneys on opposite sides of settling sexual abuse claims against the Catholic Church 20 years ago now fiercely disagree over the state’s proposed plan for settling claims from hundreds of people abused while at the former state Youth Detention Center.  In a July 29 letter to Attorney General John Formella, attorney Chuck Douglas, who represented […]

A police patch on an officer's back

Sununu creates voluntary accreditation program for New Hampshire police departments

BY: - July 26, 2022

Gov. Chris Sununu established the Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission Monday, creating a mechanism for local police departments to become recognized by national standards. The accreditation program is one of 48 recommended items produced by the Commission on Law Enforcement Accountability, Community, and Transparency (LEACT), a group of police representatives and reform advocates who met in […]

Department of Corrections looks to expand Berlin comfort dog program to Concord

BY: - July 25, 2022

The Department of Corrections provides officers and other frontline staff mental wellness and stress management training. It’s developing a peer-to-peer support program and creating “wellness spaces” within the prisons for staff when they need to decompress.  And those at the Berlin prison can also call on Riley, a comfort dog owned by Lt. Michael Wedge. […]

‘We are just treading water’: State still struggling to ensure poor people have an attorney

BY: - July 20, 2022

Late last year, several of the state’s most experienced attorneys accepted an urgent invite to the state Supreme Court’s conference room. The state Supreme Court justices, including Chief Justice Gordon MacDonald, made a big ask.  Crushing caseloads had driven a mass exodus of public defenders, leaving 185 criminal defendants too poor to hire an attorney […]