Monday, March 10, 2014

Screen Defeats Disqualification Of Entire Attorney General Office

A motion to disqualify the Attorney General's Office from participation in the appeal of a convicted capital murderer was denied by the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

At issue was a former public defender who had been involved in drafting of the defendant's appeal brief.

After leaving her public defender appellate assignment, she applied for and accepted a position with the AG's office. She was thereafter screened from any involvement in the defendant's case.

The State has provided affidavits from every other lawyer, paralegal, victim/witness advocate, investigator, and legal secretary employed in the criminal justice bureau since Wolford became employed there, attesting that, except for conversations related to screening, the Rules of Professional Conduct, or responding to discovery on the issues presented in the motion to disqualify, he or she has had no communication with Wolford about the defendant or the defendant’s case. The State has also provided affidavits from employees in the Office of Information Technology, responsible for the support of the executive branch agencies, which attest that none of the limited number of people with the authority to access Wolford’s “h:\drive” did so. In addition, Wolford, who retained independent counsel, submitted an affidavit in which she attests, among other things, that she “did not share the fact of the existence of, or the contents of” the files on her “H: drive” and that she has “never spoken with anyone at the [attorney general’s office] about Mr. Addison, my work on his case, or any other aspect of his case.” She further attests that, “Likewise, no one at the [attorney general’s office] has ever attempted to speak to me about the case except to obtain information to respond to the discovery conducted pursuant to [the] disqualification motion.”

We conclude that the State has demonstrated that it implemented screening procedures that have prevented the disclosure of any confidential information about the defendant’s case from Wolford to other prosecutors in the attorney general’s office.

The court denied further discovery on the motion.

Wikipedia has a post on the crimes  at issue in the appeal. (Mike Frisch)

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