Defense Lawyer Opinion: Police Panel Benefits from Joseph Lascaze’s Input

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NH Court Judicial Branch photo

Public Defender Stephanie Hausman answers questions from the student audience on Oct. 19, 2017, when the 19th session of the state Supreme Court "On the Road" was held at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton.

By Stephanie Hausman

Sunday, Aug. 9

I was very disappointed to see your article about Mr. Lascaze’s criminal convictions. I was hoping I could rely on InDepth for probing insight. Instead, you went for the low-hanging fruit and what might appeal to readers’ baser instincts. Mr. Lascaze’s criminal acts at age 19 no doubt hurt others but he has atoned for those acts in a remarkable way.  Of all the hurtful, cruel, or thoughtless acts humans can commit, crime is only one variety, but the most easily reported one.  You did not investigate which of all the commission members had made regrettable mistakes nearly half their lives ago. (I can’t say such an investigation would have been worth your effort as I think it’s safe to assume most people have.). Nor did you investigate which of all the commission members bring to the table the important viewpoint of having been policed. Given the commission’s mandate and the heavy presence on it of law enforcement viewpoints, that focus would have been an insightful critique of the project.  You chose instead to focus on negative implications about Mr. Lascaze‘s distant past and in so doing have shown yourself to be no different than New Hampshire’s traditional media.  I have found the commission’s work has benefitted from Mr. Lascaze’s input and I’m grateful that he has risked this kind of reporting to contribute to the process.

Tues. Aug. 11

I contacted you over the weekend about the article regarding Commissioner Lascase.  I was again disappointed in Mr. Fisher’s continued reporting from Monday.  He made it sound like Mr. Lascase recanted a statement made at Friday’s meeting.  Having attended Monday’s meeting and watched Friday’s meeting, that cannot be further from the truth.  What happened on Monday was a correction of the minutes, taken by someone other than Mr. Lascase, to indicate only that on Friday Mr. Lascase had said he had been contacted by a reporter, not that he had spoken to a reporter.  Anyone who has ever attended a meeting of this type knows that slight corrections to minutes like this are routine. 

But I thank you for giving me a reason to watch the first 23 minutes of the Commission’s meeting on Friday, Aug. 7, since you had not reported at all on the moving response from nearly every other commission member.  Commissioner Lascase’s bravery brought several commission members to tears, all who spoke affirmed the value he brings to the commission, and several were critical of your reporting.  Mr. Fisher’s personal feelings about this issue are interfering with your organization’s ability to provide news on this important topic. 

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