Criminal Law

Laura D. Devine
Civil Litigation Attorney
Boyle Shaughnessy Law
Manchester, NH

No. 2019-0028
May 17, 2019



  • Whether the trial court erred by ordering the defendant to be detained without bail


The trial court ordered that the defendant be detained without bail pending the resolution of the charges against him. The defendant then filed this appeal.

The Court explained the relevant facts. The defendant was charged with two counts of misdemeanor domestic violence and one count of criminal threatening with a deadly weapon. The trial court held a probable cause hearing which included the following evidence. At 2:00 a.m. on December 16, 2018, there was a call regarding a domestic argument between the caller’s mother and the defendant. The caller informed the dispatcher that the defendant had discharged a firearm outside. The police arrived and observed yelling from the apartment including that the defendant was very angry and vocal, the officers heard the defendant yell, “I’m going to kill the b****.” The police observed two guns, one which was missing one round of ammunition. At the police station, one magazine of ammunition was seized from the defendant as well as a knife with a six inch blade. The police interviewed the complainant and her daughter. They also interviewed a neighbor who reported that he heard a “pop” which he believed to be a gunshot.

The trial court ordered that a preventative detention order be put in place and cited that the combination of alcohol, domestic violence, threats to kill, to shoot the door down, the discharge of a firearm, the defendant’s combativeness with the police, and the fact that he was armed with a knife and two loaded semi-automatic pistols, warranted detention without bail.

The Court reviewed the trial court detention order with an abuse of discretion standard. The defendant argued that there was a lack of proof of clear and convincing evidence of danger. The Court noted that the trial court has broad discretion to order that a defendant be held without bail and here, the trial court did not abuse its discretion.


David Rothstein, deputy director public defender, Concord, for the defendant. Gordon MacDonald, attorney general (Elizabeth Woodcock, assistant attorney general), for the State.