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

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Computers Covering up Evidence due to Source Code

The criminal justice system is becoming more and more dependent on computers and software.  Police and corrections use computers to: assess risk, identify suspects, determine age, locations, determine gunshots and many more pieces of evidence.  At the root of all of this technology is source code or the actual computer programs. 

This NY Times article highlights some of the growing issues.  As a defense lawyer I have sought  source code for DNA tests, breath tests and blood tests.  It is important to have the source code to effectively understand the programs and evidence being used.  I have a history of challenging the use of science and computer programs in the court.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Berlin Roadblock week of June 18, 2017

If you are stopped at the Berlin Police Roadblock you need to understand your rights. 

The police call this a sobriety checkpoint, but be clear it is a roadblock.  The police get paid lots of overtime and yield very few arrests for impaired driving in these operations.  However, the police will claim the few arrests mean that the checkpoint discourages folks from driving impaired.  This type of logic means that the next checkpoint payday is a guarantee. 

Focusing on what you should do at a roadblock or any police stop.  First there is no reason to be rude, so always be polite.  Next do not volunteer information.  You must stop and produce a license and registration upon demand.  You do not need to answer any other questions.  This means that to almost any question you are asked it is perfectly okay to remain silent or provide no useful information.

I routinely advise citizens that the best answer to almost any questioning by police during a stop is to say you just want to go.  For example if you are stopped and asked "do you know why I stopped you?"  You can say "No, I just want to go home." or "Yes, sorry I just want to go home."  You can add you want to go: home, work, friend's house anywhere.  If you are asked "have you been drinking tonight?"  Answer, "I just want to go home."  If asked "please step out to perform field sobriety test?"  Answer "I just want to go.."  If asked repeatedly by police then ask a question back "Do I have to?"  If you are ordered to step out of car or placed under arrest comply with the command and do not resist.  However, in almost every scenario the best answer is "I want to go!"  Think about it do you really want to talk to the police at the side of the road!  Wouldn't you rather be on your way.  Do you think you can talk your way out of the problem/ situation.

Attached is the article in the Berlin Daily Sun announcing the checkpoint the week of June 18, 2017.  Notice how the article indicates N.H. Highway Safety Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, provides federal highway safety funds to support these checkpoints.

Be safe and be smart.  

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

One Paragraph Letter from 1980 in New England Journal Medicine Lead to Opioid Crisis

The Atlantic published the full one paragraph letter from Dr. Hershel Jick, a doctor at Boston University Medical Centerthat is frequently cited as finding that opioids are safe in treating pain and are not addictive: