Harden Law Offices

104 Main Street, Lancaster, NH 03584 603.788.2080
2 Cottage Street, Littleton, NH 03561 603.444.2084
199 Heater Road, Lebanon, NH 03766 603.448.3737

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Post Conviction Exonerations Highest Ever

Image result for violent crime

Homicides make up high number of record exonerations:


A bedrock principle of criminal law is often referred to as Blackstone's formulation (Blackstone's ratio or the Blackstone ratio) this is principle states:

"It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer",

...as expressed by the English jurist William Blackstone in his seminal work, Commentaries on the Laws of England, published in the 1760s.  Uber-Founding Father Benjamin Franklin took this one step further and said that "… it is better one hundred guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer."
The message to government and the courts is that justice must err on the side of innocence.  I work hard on a daily basis to exude the ideals of professionalism, courtesy and respect but most importantly justice.  Our entire system of justice depends on a presumption of innocence and requiring the government to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt.

This story by CBS showing a high number of falsely convicted murderers and rapists who were later exonerated means our system of justice is flawed.  The fact that the American justice system is convicting citizens wrongly is simply unacceptable morally and ethically.   It means that we as a country have to work harder to ensure that truly innocent people are not convicted.  It also means that we have to examine our roles in the problem.

United States Constitution

I as an attorney have taken an oath to diligently defend the US and NH Constitutions and each one of my clients. RSA 311:6.  This oath means that I must "do no falsehood, nor consent that any be done in the court.. and will act in the office of an attorney within the court according to the best of my learning and discretion, and with all good fidelity as well to the court as to your client."  I also take pride in knowing the law, rules, procedures and effectively defending each citizen to the best of my training, ability using my experience.

I am very proud to work as a defense attorney for over 20 years serving Northern NH.  I pride myself on helping citizens accused defend themselves against criminal charges.  I have a history of representing citizens charged with serious felonies such as: murder, manslaughter, sexual assaults, first degree assaults, drug charges to DWI, hunting violations and motor vehicle violations.  I believe every citizen deserves a defense and aggressively, passionately and diligently defend each of my clients.  If you are facing a NH criminal case contact me.  I am available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Annulment of Criminal Record in NH

NH Changed the Law on Annulment of Criminal Records:

Restoring Your Constitutional Rights

A modified annulment law, RSA 651:5, became effective on January 1, 2016.  The biggest change was to reduce the length of time required to annul a B misdemeanor from 3 years to 2 years. The amended statute added a clause that if a victim was a family or household member the length of time remains 3 years.

The other parts of the statute remain unchanged which means that NH permits annulments pursuant to RSA 651:5 for most felons after a requisite time period of being conviction free.  The NH statute still excludes certain violent crimes:  (a) capital murder, first or second degree murder, manslaughter, or class A felony negligent homicide under RSA 630, (b) first degree assault under RSA 631:1, (c) aggravated felonious sexual assault or felonious sexual assault under RSA 632-A,  (d) kidnapping or criminal restraint under RSA 633, (e) class A felony arson under RSA 634:1, (f) robbery under RSA 636, (g) incest under RSA 639:2, III or endangering the welfare of a child by solicitation under RSA 639:3, III; or (h) any felonious child pornography offense under RSA 649-A..  

Here is the link for a Petition to Annul.   It is relatively easy to complete the form but if an error occurs a person must wait 3 years before filing another petition.  There is a court filing fee of $125 for each court where there is a conviction.  Upon filing the department of corrections will be ordered to conduct an investigation and produce a records check and submit it to the court.  The DOC charges a fee of $100 for the investigation and records check.  After the annulment has been granted the Department of Safety charges $100 to effectuate the annulment by deleting the computer records.

I am frequently contacted by people looking to annul their records for many reasons.  Some are embarrassed by mistakes made when they were younger.  Some are planning on traveling to Canada.  Some are hoping to restore their right to possess firearms.  The annulment law means that a person who makes a mistake doesn't have to be labeled for life due to a prior act after having served their sentence. This law helps restore citizens to enjoy their full constitutional rights. 

If you have questions about seeking an annulment contact me.  I have assisted hundreds of NH citizens in annulling their criminal records for over 20 years.  I am happy to speak with you and try to help.   Contact me.