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Judicial Branch, State of New Hampshire

Laura Kiernan
Communications Director
603-271-2646 ext 2359

See photos of previous "On the Road" sessions


Supreme Court's 13th "On the Road" session set for October 20

at Moultonborough Academy

CONCORD, October 14, 2011 The New Hampshire Supreme Court's annual "On the Road" special session will be held on October 20 at Moultonborough Academy. More than 500 students from 11 high schools in the area are expected to attend the event, which includes an informal question and answer session with the lawyers appearing before the court and with the justices themselves.

Since 2002, the members of the Supreme Court have traveled to a different location around the state to provide high school students with a unique opportunity to learn about the court and how it works and talk with the justices about their background and their careers.

The moderator for the Supreme Court special session will be Merrimack County Superior Court Judge Larry M. Smukler. Seating is reserved for students from participating schools; 20 seats are available to the public on a first-come first-served basis.     

Prior to the October 20 special session, during which the justices hear oral argument on actual Supreme Court cases, volunteer lawyers visit each of the invited schools to discuss in advance with teachers and students the legal issues and proceedings involved in the cases that will be heard by the court. The same protocols used at the Supreme Court in Concord during oral argument will be followed during the session at Moultonborough. After each case is heard, the lawyers involved take questions from the student audience about the cases they have just presented.

In addition to students from Moultonborough Academy, students from the following schools are also participating in the October 20 program: Kingswood Regional High School; Laconia High School; Inter- Lakes High School; Prospect Mountain High School; Winnisquam Regional High School; Laconia Christian School; Belmont High School; Franklin High School; Tilton School; and New Hampton School.

Lawyers who volunteered to visit the participating schools to brief students on the two cases to be heard by the court are: Former New Hampshire Attorney General Philip T. McLaughlin; Assistant Attorney General Jane E. Young; Attorneys Paul A. Maggiotto of Concord; Joshua M. Wyatt and Kristin R. Blanchette of Manchester; Dorcas J. Gordon of Laconia, and Jeremy D. Eggleton of Concord; Belknap County Attorney Melissa Countway Guldbrandsen and assistant Belknap County Attorney Benjamin E. Leduc; public defenders Donna J. Brown and Stephanie Hausman; and assistant U.S. Attorney Michael McCormick.

The "On the Road" program was launched in May 2002 at St. Anselm College in Manchester.  Since then, sessions have been held at Dover High School, Dartmouth College, Plymouth State University, Keene State College, Nashua North High School and Philips Exeter Academy, Berlin Junior High School, Bow High School, Souhegan High School, Memorial High School and Sanborn Regional High School. These sessions are the only occasion when the Court convenes outside the Supreme Court building in Concord. Approximately 5,500 high school and college students have participated in the program since it began.

In the first case to be heard by the Supreme Court during the special session, State of New Hampshire v. Roderick Davidson, the justices have been asked to consider whether the defendant was denied his constitutional right to a fair trial because the jury in his case was allowed to hear evidence about the defendant's controlling behavior toward the victim. The defendant, who was convicted of three counts of misdemeanor simple assault, also contends that his action toward the victim was justified under the law because he says he was trying to prevent her from taking his property, in this instance his car keys.

In the second case to be heard by the justices during the special session, State of New Hampshire v. Patricia Smith, the defendant argues that local law enforcement officials violated her constitutional right to privacy and protection from unreasonable searches when they conducted a stakeout in a wooded area behind her home. Local officials had received a tip that the defendant was growing marijuana at her home and they obtained a search warrant for the house after detecting the odor of growing marijuana during the surveillance. The defendant, who was convicted of manufacturing marijuana, contends the evidence found in her house should have been thrown out of court because the officials should have obtained a search warrant before they came onto property that was close to her house.

To learn more about the Supreme Court's "On the Road" program, and for summaries of the two cases to be heard by the court, and the legal issues involved, go to http://www.courts.state.nh.us/student/ontheroad.htm.