» Cutting Edge Litigation

NH Supreme Court Recognizes Same-Sex Adultery as Grounds for Divorce

On April 1, 2021, we won a major victory in the NH Supreme Court that made the national news, receiving coverage in the ABA Journal, NH Public Radio, the Union Leader newspaper, and elsewhere. In In re Blaisdell, decided on April 1, the New Hampshire Supreme Court overturned prior precedent and held that a same-sex extramarital affair constitute adultery. 18 years ago, in 2003, a divided Court had narrowly held in the Blancheflower case that same-sex affairs do not give rise to a fault-based ground for divorce. In our case, In re Blaisdell, the Court recognized that the Legislature fundamentally transformed the marital laws when it adopted civil unions, and then gay marriage, just six years after Blancheflower. How could the Legislature have granted gay people the privileges, but not the responsibilities, of marriage? And thus, the Court unanimously overruled Blancheflower, and made its ruling retroactive. Read more here. Read More

New Trial, then Dismissal, for Therapist Wrongfully Accused

10/12/2018: In our most recent and perhaps our greatest victory, we won an appeal granting a new trial to a beloved and esteemed therapist wrongfully accused of sexual assault by a client. On October 12, 2018, the New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld a critical victory we had already won in the Superior Court - a victory that freed a therapist from prison who had been wrongfully accused of sexual assault by a client, and cleared his name. The Court held that the Superior Court was right to vacate the jury verdicts and sentences, and grant a new trial, for the therapist because juror bias infected the proceedings, resulting in an unfair trial. On October 17, 2018, the Merrimack County Attorney's Office issued a press release, announcing the State would not bring the case to trial again. Instead, the State dismissed the charges. Read More about Dr. Afshar's Case Read More

Cutting Edge Litigation on The Right Against Double Jeopardy

In State v. Ernest Solomon, 156 N.H. _, 943 A.2d 819 (2008), for the first time in any American court, the NH Supreme Court held that the accused’s right to be free of double jeopardy was violated when, in the middle of his trial, his trial judge departed for military duty overseas and another judge declared a mistrial with intention to begin the trial anew. Read More

Cutting Edge Litigation on First Amendment Law

In State v. Marshall Zidel, 156 N.H. 684, 940 A.2d 255 (2008), the NH Supreme Court became the first in the nation to hold that a prosecution for child pornography for “collaged” images violated the accused’s free speech and privacy rights. Read More

Cutting Edge Litigation on Prosecutorial Misconduct

The prosecutor may not vouch for police officer’s credibility by arguing that if police officers lied, they would lose their jobs. News of this decision was published in the Criminal Law Reporter. State v. William Mussey, 153 N.H. 272, 893 A.2d 701 (2006).Prosecutor may not cross-examine the accused in an unfair and misleading manner by asking if prosecution witnesses lied to the jury. State v. Lopez, 156 N.H. 416, 937 A.2d 905 (2007). Read More

Cutting Edge Litigation on Sentencing Law

The prosecutor wanted to use the trial court’s Contempt power to put probationer in jail even after he finished the maximum sentence under law.The Court said no. State v. Hancock, 156 N.H. 301, 934 A.2d 551 (2007). Read More

Cutting Edge Litigation on Evidence Law

In State v. Morrill, 154 N.H. 547, 914 A.2d 1206 (2006), the Court reformed the “opening-the-door” doctrine, which had been much abused by trial courts. The purpose of this doctrine is to ensure that both sides get a fair trial and neither exploits the rules to mislead the jury. However, in this case as in many others, the trial judge used the doctrine to inject prejudice into the trial rather than alleviating prejudice. Based on Ted Lothstein’s arguments on appeal, the Court took what had little more than a label or mantra — “opening the door” — and transformed it into a carefully defined and limited doctrine. As a result, the Court reversed Mr. Morrill’s conviction for aggravated felonious sexual assault, and granted him a new trial. Read More

Cutting Edge Litigation on Self-Defense

In State v. Ethan Vassar, 154 N.H. 370 (2006), for the first time, Court held that defendant accused of assault may introduce the ‘victim’s’ prior violent acts to bolster accused’s self-defense claim. Read More