Is your case in the Grafton County Superior Court? Or, are you or someone close to you being investigated for a potential felony crime that occurred anywhere in Grafton County?
This Court has jurisdiction over felonies committed anywhere in Grafton County, a large and diverse swath of the north country, which extends from Lebanon to N. Haverhill to Littleton, through the middle of the white mountain national forest, down to Plymouth. Felonies are prosecuted here either through the controversial "Felonies First" system which bypasses the local district courts altogether, or through grand jury indictment. A grand jury indictment is a charge brought by a secret jury that meets on a regular basis with prosecutors and law enforcement officers to hear evidence and decide which charges to bring. Defense lawyers, and the public in general, cannot go anywhere near grand jury proceedings. They are secret.
After a grand jury indictment, the defendant is notified to appear for arraignment and a jury trial is scheduled. Additionally, defendants convicted of class A misdemeanors in any circuit court within Grafton County can appeal for a jury trial on the misdemeanor charges in the Grafton County Superior Court.
We have handled many cases in Grafton County, including high profile cases in the Grafton Superior Court.
The Grafton County Attorney's Office prosecutes most felonies in the Grafton County Superior Court. Additionally, homicide cases, and certain other types of serious felonies, are prosecuted here by prosecutors from the Attorney General's Office.
The Grafton County Superior Court is where felony crimes allegedly committed by Plymouth State students are prosecuted. And that is terrible news for those young students, and their families, because the prosecution philosophy in this Court can be described in six words: "Do the crime, do the time."
If a NHTI student in Concord sells a little marijuana, and doesn't have a bad prior record, there is an overwhelming likelihood that the student will have an opportunity to complete a diversion program, do community service, submit to drug testing, take life skills classes, and ultimately have the opportunity to avoid a criminal conviction altogether. This is because the philosophy of the Merrimack County Attorney's Office has, for many years, tilted towards rehabilitation for non-violent first-time offenders. But if that same student transferred to Plymouth State and got caught selling a little marijuana, our experience is that prosecutors may strenuously advocate for this young person to become a convicted felon and go to jail. Its basically consistent with the experience that most visitors have when they travel through much of Grafton County - for better or worse (mostly for better, occasionally for worse)- its "The Land that Time Forgot."
Fortunately a Judge or jury, not a prosecutor, are the ultimate gatekeepers for the criminal justice system.
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