Marie Hill Case

General Forum for Danville Topics

Postby AlfredTwo » Sat Mar 18, 2006 1:30 am

Apparently the court did not find enough evidence to convict anyone. But of course a lot of people do things that are hard to believe or to understand. Emotions get people going and things happen.
AlfredTwo
 
Posts: 1406
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2006 12:04 am
Location: Kimball Terrace, Danville NH

Postby SH » Sat Mar 18, 2006 6:28 pm

I read this also, although it is important to know that the Police dept. did not prosecute the case, the county attorney's office did. So it is fair to say that if they didn't think the case was good and there was no probable cause the charges never would have been brought forward.
SH
 
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2006 9:43 pm

Postby AlfredTwo » Sat Mar 18, 2006 9:05 pm

All of the articles I read said that the Danville Police prosecuter was the one who prosecuted the case. There was no mentian of the county.
AlfredTwo
 
Posts: 1406
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2006 12:04 am
Location: Kimball Terrace, Danville NH

Postby curt » Sat Mar 18, 2006 9:58 pm

I don't have the articles handy at this moment, but it has always been my impression that Leo Beauchamp was the prosecutor.
Curt Springer
curt
 
Posts: 5713
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 1:19 am
Location: 228 Sandown Road, North Danville

Postby AlfredTwo » Sun Mar 19, 2006 1:00 pm

The big question in my mind is why was only one of the two indiviuals involved arrested and prosecuted? That seems to be what the suit revolved around as well. If both people had been charged the suit would not have won. It seems as though a jury was convinced that both were are reasonable or unreasonable to charge as the other.
AlfredTwo
 
Posts: 1406
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2006 12:04 am
Location: Kimball Terrace, Danville NH

Postby curt » Mon Mar 20, 2006 12:26 am

Transcriptions of documents from the trial records
-------------------------------------
The State of New Hampshire
Rockingham County
Superior Court

Marie Hill v. Town of Danville Docket No.: 04-C-826

Witness List - Jury Trial Day 4 of 4

Before: Honorable Kenneth R. McHugh
Monitor: Angela Campisi
Date: March 9, 2006

PA: Jason Major (Curt note I think this is "Plaintiff's attorney")
PA2: Benjamin King
DA: Brian Cullen (Curt note I think this is "Defendant's attorney)
DA2: Elizabeth Baker

3/6/06 Opening Statements only
3/7/06 W1 - W4 (Curt note Plaintiff Witness #1 - Plaintiff Witness #4 see below)
3/8/06 W5 - W8 & WA
3/9/06 W9 & WB - WD

Plaintiff
1 Debra Mitchell (24 PGS)
2 Jamie Hill (5 PGS)
3 Officer Judith Cogswell (32 PGS)
4 Francine Byron (75 PGS)
5 ACO Denise Laratonda (20 PGS)
6 Officer Paul Bean (27 PGS)
7 Frank Santin (70 PGS)
8 Michael Asselin (24 PGS)
9 Lt. Leo Beauchamp (36 PGS)

Defendant
A Officer Jason Pond (7 PGS)
B Denis Luna (39 PGS)
C Joseph Luna (8 PGS)
D Wade Parsons (25 PGS)

---------------------------------
Marie Hill v. Town of Danville
Docket No: 04-C-826

Special Verdict Blank
Question No. 1: Do you find that it is more likely than not that the Defendant, Town of Danville, prosecuted the Plaintiff, Marie Hill for the crime of Criminal Threatening without probable cause?

Yes (checked) No (not checked)

If your answer to this question is "no" do not answer any further questions and have the Foreperson sign on page 2. If your answer to this question is "yes" and only if your answer to Question 1 is "yes" go on to answer Question 2.

Question No. 2: Do you find that it is more likely than not that the Defendant, Town of Danville, prosecuted the Plaintiff, Marie Hill for the crime of Criminal Threatening with Malice?

Yes (checked) No (not checked)

If your answer to this question is "no" do not answer any further questions and have the Foreperson sign on page 2. If your answer to this question is "yes" and only if your answer to this question is "yes" go on to answer Question 3.

Question No. 3: Please state in words, not numbers, the full amount of damages which you find more likely than not was sustained by Marie Hill as a result of the malicious prosecution.

(hand written) One Hundred Thirty Thousand Dollars 00/100 Cents

(Signature) Foreperson

3/10/06
Date
Curt Springer
curt
 
Posts: 5713
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 1:19 am
Location: 228 Sandown Road, North Danville

Postby curt » Mon Mar 20, 2006 12:58 am

Betsy Sanders, town treasurer, is certain that this will not be covered by the town's insurance, because it was a "malicious" act.

The selectmen are on record as saying this verdict will be appealed. Nevertheless, I think they ought to state clearly at this point whether it is or is not covered by insurance. No doubt they have already contacted the town's insurance carrier.

One time I was looking through the binder of selectmen minutes for one reason or another and stumbled across the unsealed minutes of when the selectmen had a nonpublic session about this case. The details discussed were completely inappropriate for a selectmen meeting. I was so repelled I could not bring myself to read the whole thing. And I am a nosy guy. :)

I would be surprised if these unsealed minutes were not used by the plaintiffs' lawyers to bolster their case.
Curt Springer
curt
 
Posts: 5713
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 1:19 am
Location: 228 Sandown Road, North Danville

Postby curt » Mon Mar 20, 2006 7:51 pm

Information about the lawyers who represented the town:

Brian J. S. Cullen

Betsy Baker

One wonders why our estimable town counsel, Peter Loughlin, did not defend the case.

It turns out that the plaintiff is represented by Douglas, Leonard and Garvey of Concord, that is to say Chuck Douglas He tends to take on oddball and underdog cases. He currently is occupied with Terry Bennett, the doctor who criticized his patient for being fat. Douglas flamed out politically 15 years ago, and his serial marriages and messy divorces have sold a lot of newspapers, but he is a player.

I remember when Chuck Douglas came to Danville town hall for a ZBA or planning board hearing. It was when that tire burning plant wanted to set up in Danville. Douglas had just resigned from the NH Supreme Court to go on to bigger and better things, and his star was still rising. He addressed us local yokels, trying to present himself as a regular guy, but we knew he wasn't and he knew he wasn't, and he knew we knew.

Here is his law firm web site

Here is the info about the actual attorneys representing Marie Hill:

Jason R. L. Major

Benjamin T. King, a 1993 Dartmouth College graduate.
Last edited by curt on Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Curt Springer
curt
 
Posts: 5713
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 1:19 am
Location: 228 Sandown Road, North Danville

Postby AlfredTwo » Mon Mar 20, 2006 10:05 pm

curt wrote:One wonders why our estimable town counsel, Peter Loughlin, did not defend the case.


Town counsel is often someone who advises a town on matters of procedure and matters involving the town's relationship to the state and to state regulations. That means they are not always trial lawyers. Sometimes there are of course but I have no idea about this particular case. But I'm not surprised when a town counsel (or a school district counsel) does or does not represent the town in a civil suit.
AlfredTwo
 
Posts: 1406
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2006 12:04 am
Location: Kimball Terrace, Danville NH

Postby curt » Mon Mar 20, 2006 10:21 pm

I believe that Peter has litigated on behalf of the town in the past. He has litigated on behalf of other towns.

My guess is that it is because he has been town counsel for a long time, and both of the families involved have held town office, especially the plaintiff, and he has dispensed legal advice to all parties both in the original criminal case and the present civil case. Also the suit by Leo Beauchamp against the town. It's particularly sensitive because people who were town officials at the time of the criminal case are now tesifying against the town.

So perhaps Peter recommended that the town hire somebody who has not had any dealings with anybody connected to this case.
Curt Springer
curt
 
Posts: 5713
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 1:19 am
Location: 228 Sandown Road, North Danville

Postby curt » Mon Mar 20, 2006 10:39 pm

As I stated earlier, we have the right to know if this verdict is covered by the town's liability insurance.

We also have the right to know the legal fees incurred. My general understanding is that if you are covered by insurance, the company will also pay the costs of litigation, as well as the damages. If not, you eat both the damages and your own costs. I believe it is general practice in NH that each side pays its own fees. Probably the amount of the damages was calculated to include the expected cost of legal fees. Probably the plaintiff's case was brought on a contingency basis, in which the lawyer gets a percentage of the damages if they prevail, and nothing if they lose. Of course that is between the plaintiff and her attorney. It's none of the public's business.
Curt Springer
curt
 
Posts: 5713
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 1:19 am
Location: 228 Sandown Road, North Danville

Postby curt » Sat Apr 01, 2006 7:14 pm

The selectmen met with their lead counsel on the case on Monday, March 13. This was before the election, so it included outgoing selectman Ron Peddle and did not include Shawn O'Neil.

One wonders why they did not wait for the election and the new board. Perhaps they were up against some deadline.

Now they have a nonpublic session scheduled for Monday 4/3, under the exemption of RSA 91-A:3 II (e):
Consideration or negotiation of pending claims or litigation which has been threatened in writing or filed against the body or agency or any subdivision thereof, or against any member thereof because of his or her membership in such body or agency, until the claim or litigation has been fully adjudicated or otherwise settled. Any application filed for tax abatement, pursuant to law, with any body or board shall not constitute a threatened or filed litigation against any body, board, or agency for the purposes of this subparagraph.

Perhaps they have good reason to go non-public at this point. Perhaps there is still something to discuss that would be to the benefit of the plaintiff and to the detriment of the town if it were mentioned in public. Perhaps not. The selectmen are allowed to go nonpublic, but they are not required to do so.

In any case, we, taxpayers, voters, and town officials, are at the point where we should be told some basic facts of where things stand. For example, what is the expected time line for an appeal, will this be covered by insurance if the plaintiff prevails after appeals, what is the total cost, including the cost of litigation, is there any possibility that town committees and officials might have their approved 2006 budgets docked to pay for this.

In light of how boards of selectmen of the recent past handled the Marie Hill case, the termination of Leo Beauchamp, and direct issues with Wade Parsons, I suggest that we consider removing all police personnel responsibilities from them and investing these in a police commission, as provided by RSA 105-C.
Curt Springer
curt
 
Posts: 5713
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 1:19 am
Location: 228 Sandown Road, North Danville

Postby curt » Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:10 pm

Curt Springer
curt
 
Posts: 5713
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 1:19 am
Location: 228 Sandown Road, North Danville

Postby curt » Sat Apr 08, 2006 11:54 pm

From "Knowing the Territory - A Survey of Municipal Law for New Hampshire Local Officials - Spring 2003 Edition", published by the NH Municipal Assn:

D. Authority Over Other Officials
1. For the most part, the officiers the town is either required to elect or has the option of electing are independent of the selectmen and not subject to their control.
. . .

2. General Guidelines
The relationship between the selectmen and an elected town clerk, tax collector, police chief or road agent is often the subject of much dispute and uncertainty. The following guidelines are meant to help clarify roles and responsibilities.

a. No Interference. The selectmen cannot interfere with the exercise of functions that, by statute, are delegated to these other officials.

b. Safeguarding. On the other hand, the selectmen in the exercise of their budgeting, spending and asset-safeguarding authority under RSA 41:9 have the right to get information from those other officials. . . .

3. Supervisory Authority
There are some positions that the selectmen, by statute, have direct supervision over.

a. Road Agent . . .

b. Chief of Police. According to RSA 105-2-a, an appointed police chief is "subject to such written formal policies as may be adopted by the appointing authority", often the board of selectmen unless there is a police ocmmission or a town manager. (Curt note: does not apply because our chief is elected) The police chief, whether appointed or elected, is also subject ot dismissal or suspension only for cause, justified in writing.
. . .

c. Appointed Fire Chief . . .


From the Eagle Tribune of 10/2/03:

Another point of discussion will be how the Police Department handled the town's case against resident Marie Hill earlier this year. Selectmen earlier this week unsealed the non-public meeting minutes of Feb. 3, when the issue came up, to aid in the discussion.

According to the minutes, selectmen urged Parsons and Beauchamp to hold off on their case against Hill, who was accused of criminal threatening with a deadly weapon (a shotgun), for an incident in July 2002. In that incident, Hill allegedly pointed a shotgun at Denise Luna, who had earlier in the day threatened Hill's dog when it went into Luna's yard.


This sure sounds like "interference" to me. The selectmen didn't just seek information, they actually tried to influence how the police would handle a particular case.
Curt Springer
curt
 
Posts: 5713
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 1:19 am
Location: 228 Sandown Road, North Danville

Postby AlfredTwo » Sun Apr 09, 2006 6:33 am

curt wrote:This sure sounds like "interference" to me. The selectmen didn't just seek information, they actually tried to influence how the police would handle a particular case.


You are right in that this does sound like interference. On the other hand if the Police had followed the Selectmen's advice the town would probably not have been sued. This one is a real mess.
AlfredTwo
 
Posts: 1406
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2006 12:04 am
Location: Kimball Terrace, Danville NH

PreviousNext

Return to Danville General

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

cron