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Bar Journal - Summer 2007


This issue of the Bar Journal is produced in cooperation and with financial support from Franklin Pierce Law Center. Not to be overlooked are the contributions of time given as “article mentors” by members of the Bar Journal Editorial Advisory Board with assistance from other members of the Bar in various subject areas. The Bar members read outlines or prospectuses of proposed articles, usually centered on recent New Hampshire Supreme Court cases. These “mentors” provided informal advice to the student authors, particularly to help them sharpen their focus on the most telling questions to be addressed in discussing the chosen cases.

Our thanks also to all of the students who participated in the course, and in particular to David Rothstein, a Pierce Law professor who served as the adviser for this project. The mentoring of the members of the Bar is a recent innovation to the Pierce Law/Annual Survey project, and we hope that it helps to enhance the tradition of the Annual Survey in the coming years.


Another innovation to make participation in the Annual Survey more attractive is the inauguration two years ago of the Bar Journal Editor’s Award honoring the best student article in the issue. Due to delays in production (not the fault of the writers!), the judging for the Editor’s Award was not completed in time for the publication of the issue, and the winner (or winners) will be announced in September. 


Taxing questions are addressed in the first two articles in the lineup of analyses of recent New Hampshire Supreme Court decisions by students at Franklin Pierce Law Center.


Charlotte Ancel, a former school teacher who graduated from Pierce Law this year, takes on the especially taxing, complicated, entangled, and, she asserts, self-contradictory jurisprudence of the Court in the school-funding cases. Her analysis focuses on the challenges posed by, and the contradictions contained in, the Court’s most recent opinion, Londonderry School District SAU # 12 v. State  (“Londonderry”. Her article also was updated near deadline to incorporate the legislature’s efforts to cope with Court mandates in the session concluded in June.


In the second article, Glen Fries, another Pierce Law Class of 2007 graduate, discusses the more tax-focused but perhaps less “taxing” Eldertrust v. Town of Epsom opinion, which he believes clarifies rather than complicates the standard by which municipalities can evaluate the tax-exempt status of nonprofits’ properties. Fries provides context on the Court’s ruling as well as practical advice on how nonprofit taxpayers can examine their property holdings to determine whether they qualify for tax-exempt status.


Nathaniel Lucek finds inspiration and guidance for those doing business over the Internet in a New Hampshire case that arose out of the sale of flawed lumber. Analysis of personal jurisdiction is rapidly evolving, but Lucek believes the Court has provided guidance from an unlikely source. The opinion sets a precedent and a standard that the savviest of Internet entrepreneurs must follow to avoid consequences that would be greater than the slivers one receives from mishandling splintery wood.


Offerings from Pierce Law students also include: Shannon Gulley’s discussion of how the Court resolved the conflict between the police protecting information on an ongoing case and an anguished family’s right to know whether an investigation is being properly conducted; Elizabeth Nickerson’s consideration of the eminent domain constitutional amendment recently passed by NH’s voters; and what Luke Webster sees as the long reach of a decision regarding the use of lie detectors in public employment settings.


The issue includes two articles that are not part of the Annual Survey package that share a similar subject: Providing justice and compassionate help to vulnerable populations with special needs.


David Sandberg, a staff attorney for CASA-NH, has converted many years of experience with the law and children into a searching reflection on the results of the landmark Gault decision which transformed the due process obligations of the juvenile courts. He finds the decision was a mixed blessing, curtailing abuses wrought by too much informality, and at the same time, impairing the therapeutic mission of the juvenile court.  His analysis concludes on an upbeat note, finding that recent innovations in the court system are bringing the treatment of juveniles full circle to a more therapeutic focus while maintaining due regard for their rights.


Writing from the viewpoint of psychiatrists, Alexander DeNesnera and Robert Vidaver of the New Hampshire Hospital provide insights into what they see as the success of the state’s involuntary commitment law. They argue it provides the right mixture of due process and the flexibility for mental health specialists and organizations to respond promptly to the needs of the severely mentally ill.


And, of course, don’t miss Charles DeGrandpre’s Lex Loci column. After all, he hasn’t missed writing one in decades and his analysis is always dead-on.



If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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