ACLU-NH in Plymouth District Court Challenging 2017 Border Patrol Checkpoints in Woodstock

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The American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire will be in Plymouth District Court Thursday at 1 p.m. arguing the unconstitutionality of the border patrol checkpoints which occurred in August and September 2017 on Interstate 93 in Woodstock.

Woodstock is a small town located in the White Mountains—a popular tourist
attraction—that is approximately 90 driving miles from the Canadian border.

The ACLU-NH filed this motion on behalf of 18 individuals who, during these checkpoints, were travelling in New Hampshire lawfully and were seized and searched without any suspicion that they had committed a crime.

These individuals were ultimately charged with allegedly possessing small amounts of drugs for personal use. During these border patrol checkpoints, the Woodstock Police Department and the New Hampshire State Police separately worked in concert with United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to circumvent the independent protections provided by the New Hampshire Constitution against dog-sniff searches in the absence of a warrant or reasonable suspicion.

More on the case can be found here:

The statement below is from Gilles Bissonnette, ACLU-NH legal director and co-counsel in these cases: “This case is about the integrity of the New Hampshire Constitution. The State does not contest the fact that the searches during these checkpoints violated the New Hampshire Constitution. However, the State attempts to avoid this reality by arguing that the New Hampshire Constitution does not apply because CBP agents—not state officials—conducted the searches.

This is a surprising argument coming from New Hampshire law enforcement who are tasked with defending the New Hampshire Constitution and who willingly chose this state court forum in seeking to charge and prosecute these defendants. If the State chooses to prosecute a person in state court under our state’s laws, then it must comply with the rules of that forum—here, the New Hampshire Constitution, which is the fundamental charter of our State.”

ACLU-NH Legal Director Gilles Bissonnette, Mark Sisti of Sisti Law Offices, Professor Albert “Buzz” Scherr of the University of New Hampshire School of Law, and Sven Wiberg of Wiberg Law Office will argue before Judge Thomas A. Rappa, Jr.

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