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Bar News - January 20, 2016

Morning Mail: Pleasant Security Process to the South

Editor’s note: The court has changed the security policy. Please see related article.

I am writing in response to attorney Emmanuel Krasner’s letter in the Dec. 16 issue of Bar News. I totally agree with his comment that the “entire policy is absurd” as it pertains to attorneys who must be subject to searches when they enter our courthouses, particularly those attorneys who enter the same courthouses on a weekly and sometimes on a daily basis, and are well known to the court security officers.

As Krasner correctly pointed out, we are officers of the court, just like prosecutors who enter without going through the same searches. We now have bar cards that show our photo (in color) and our names, Bar ID and dates of admission.

Compare the above with Massachusetts. I am a member of that Bar and have been since 1992. My bar card in that state does not have my photo on it and only shows my ID number and date of admission. When I enter a courthouse there, I present the card to the court officer. He or she looks at it and immediately (and pleasantly, I might add) ushers me into the lobby. There is no search of my person or briefcase.

And keep in mind that there are thousands more attorneys in Massachusetts than in New Hampshire. I cannot think of a time in that state when an attorney has caused a security problem. The bottom line is that I am treated with respect as an attorney and officer of the court, unlike in New Hampshire.

As Krasner has pointed out, we as attorneys are “held to a higher standard of conduct and performance than pro se litigants and members of the general public.” And he is also correct that the Bar Association should stand up for its members and take up this matter and demand that this policy be reversed, so that when we appear at a courthouse, all that should be required is that we show our Bar card for admittance. Period. Having to submit our persons and briefcases, or other professional items, is both humiliating and unnecessary.

I call on other members of the New Hampshire Bar to express their views on this issue, by writing either to this medium or to the President of the Bar and demanding action to correct this invasion of our privacy. Thank you.

Robert Prince
Salem, NH

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