Should NH randomly test police officers for steroid use?

Dec 03, 2015

State Representatives Max Abramson and JR Hoell are sponsoring a 2016 bill that requires the state to randomly test police officers and corrections officers for steroid use. 

Supporters of steroid testing argue that abuse of steroids can increase police brutality.

Ban on police drone use?

Sep 21, 2015

On Tuesday, September 22 a group of New Hampshire House committees will meet to discuss prohibiting law enforcement use of drones to collect evidence.

Drones technology is getting smaller and cheaper, presenting law enforcement with a new tool for surveillance.

Some privacy advocates are concerned that the ease of drone use will create a surveillance society, in which the police routinely use drones to surveil the public.

Warrant for GPS/cell phone location?

Jun 05, 2015

On Thursday the New Hampshire Senate passed a bill that requires police to get a warrant before installing a GPS tracker or accessing a cell phone's location.

In 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that installing a GPS tracker qualifies as a search under the Fourth Amendment, but the Court did not clarify when a warrant might be required.  Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his opinion that legislatures were probably better suited to drawing that line.

NH changes police line-ups

Jun 02, 2015

Studies have shown that almost three-quarters of wrongful convictions include false witness identifications.  The New Hampshire Attorney General has adopted new guidelines to prevent incorrect identification of suspected offenders.

The guidelines include making sure no suspects stand out, talking to each witness separately, and having an officer who does not know the suspect's description administer the line-up.

Fourteen other states have adopted similar guidelines, which were developed with the help of the Innocence Project.

Bill formalizes right to film cops

May 14, 2015

HB 287, now under consideration in the Senate Judiciary Committee, allows New Hampshire citizens to record law enforcement traffic stops.

The bill is inspired by the 2010 case of Carla Gericke, who filmed her friend's traffic stop.  Gericke was charged with wiretapping, but the US Appeals Court ruled she had a First Amendment right to film the police.

The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee noted that HB 287 formalizes the right already established in Gericke's case.

Hassan will veto decriminalization

Mar 09, 2015

Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) said she will veto a marijuana decriminalization bill making its way through the legislature.

Last week a House committee approved a bill that would decrease the penalty for possession of one half ounce or less of marijuana to a civil fine.  The full House is expected to vote on the bill this Wednesday.

"What I hear from law enforcement about this debate is they worry that this gives a message to young people that it’s not harmful, and it really is harmful," Hassan told the Nashua Telegraph.

Limit civil forfeiture in NH?

Feb 21, 2015

This week the New Hampshire House of Representatives heard testimony on HB 636, a bill to limit civil forfeiture.

Under civil forfeiture laws, police are allowed to seize property that may be connected to a crime, whether or not the property owner is convicted of the crime.  Law enforcement gets a cut of any profits from the property.

HB 636 would only allow police to finalize civil forfeiture after a conviction, and any profits would have to go to the state's general fund.

A need to define probable cause?

Jan 19, 2015

Rep. Daniel Itse (R-Fremont) is sponsoring HB 207, a 2015 bill that narrows the definition of "probable cause" for an arrest.

Probable cause is currently defined by previous court rulings.  Depending on the evidence and the severity of the offense, probable cause allows an officer to make an arrest without a warrant.

For example, a police officer may arrest a person if the officer has probable cause to believe the person has committed domestic abuse within the past 12 hours.

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