Judge Edwin Kelly: No ‘Systemic Problem’ Jailing Poor People Who Can’t Pay Court Fines

UPDATED at 4:48 p.m.
Edwin W. Kelly, administrative judge of the New Hampshire Circuit Courts, disagrees with ACLU-NH findings that there is a “systemic problem” with people being jailed because they can’t afford to pay court fines. “I think their numbers show the opposite, that there is not a systemic problem,” Kelly said. “It is such a small number of cases (148) compared to the total number of (83,000) cases” that were adjudicated in circuit courts in 2013. However ACLU-NH Legal Director Gilles Bissonnette said Kelly and a press release issued by the state Supreme Court are incorrectly interpreting the numbers. “The real issue is how indigent defendants are treated by the courts when they are unable to pay fines and are ultimately jailed – a small subset of this 83,000 figure,” Bissonnette said.

Five-fold Upsurge: Super PACs, Dark Money Spent Far More Than ’12 Cycle at Same Point

Political organizations working to influence the 2016 elections outside the party or official campaign structure had spent more than $25.1 million as of Sept. 21. That’s an increase of more than 34 percent over their counterparts at this point in the 2014 midterm elections — and a five-fold leap over their outlays by this date in the last presidential cycle, a Center for Responsive Politics review of Federal Election Commission data shows.? Meanwhile, among super PACs, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) — deemed by both parties to be vulnerable in a presidential election year in a light-blue state — who’s at the center of a battle already underway. Through Sept.

Update: Walker’s Exit Leaves Some Major Donors Up For Grabs

As Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker dropped out of the presidential race late Monday afternoon, his announcement created at least an $18 million vacuum, according to OpenSecrets.org. The super PAC backing Walker, Unintimidated PAC, spent $1.8 million on independent expenditures before Walker bowed out. The group had raised $20 million by June 30, with the money coming in from some high-profile Republican donors who may have to decide, with their favored candidate out, who else they’ll throw their money behind. Several major donors gave only to Walker’s super PAC this cycle: businesswoman Diane Hendricks, for one, gave Unintimidated $5 million. Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein gave $2.5 million combined.

Judge: Release Redacted Bodycam Video of Fatal Shooting; Appeal Likely

NEW: A judge has ordered the redacted bodycam video of two police officers shooting Hagen Esty-Lennon to death in Bath be released on Friday, but Esty-Lennon’s former wife may appeal to the state Supreme Court before then hoping to stop all of the footage from becoming public.

Concord Attorney Diane Puckhaber, who represents Esty-Lennon’s former wife Lisa Esty-Lennon and her two minor children, said she hadn’t seen Judge Peter H. Fauver’s ruling dated today (Sept. 21), but said a Supreme Court appeal is likely the only way to protect the children.

Puckhaber had argued in court to stay the release of all of the police video from three body cameras and a cruiser camera of the July 6 incident arguing it would harm the children and violate the family’s right to privacy.

Several media outlets, including InDepthNH.org, argued for completely unredacted release of all of the footage as the only way the public can be sure police were “legally justified” as determined by Attorney General Joseph Foster.

“I will speak to my client, but it sounds like that’s the only way to protect these children,” Puckhaber said of a Supreme Court appeal. “These are small children and they’ve been through a lot.”

Roger Wood Indepth talks Real I.D. with Rep. Sherm Packard

The state of Montana has said “no thanks,” along with a handful of others, including New Hampshire. State Rep. Sherm Packard, R-Londonderry, who opposed the federal Real I.D. Initiative, now supports it and is bringing up the defeated bill in the 2016 legislative session. I spoke to the 13-term lawmaker about his change of mind, what’s in the Real ID package, and what its enactment would mean to you.

How Senate Hopefuls Keep Donors Secret From Voters Until It’s Too Late

U.S. Senate campaign finance disclosures are still slow-walked on paper through a 40-year-old system. Is getting it fixed worth trading away another lid on political money? For nearly 15 years, voters have been able to click a mouse to view an up-to-date list of who’s contributed to candidates for the presidency and the U.S. House, and how those funds have been spent. But the law still allows Senate candidates to file campaign reports on paper, making it nearly impossible to keep up with the flow of money. Efforts to fix that imbalance have died over and over again in the Senate, regardless of which party controlled the chamber.

Roger Wood Indepth on Portsmouth Police Ethics

The recent firing of Portsmouth Police Detective Aaron Goodwin and the resignation of Police Chief Stephen Dubois bring police ethics under the spotlight. Goodwin was fired after a city commission determined he acted wrongfully in accepting a 2.7 million dollar inheritance from an elderly woman he befriended. While the chief told the Portsmouth Herald that a thorough investigation of the officer’s relationship with Geraldine Webber found no wrongdoing, witnesses testified there was no investigation, and that police officials turned a blind eye toward one of their own. Roger Wood reached out to the head of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of police for an interview, and received no response on the issue of police ethics. But Richard Beary, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police responded.