See the public Laurie List of 90 of 254 names listed here: https://indepthnh.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/partialEES.pdf
See Attorney General’s full compliance report: https://indepthnh.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/20220114-ees-compliance-report.pdf
See InDepthNH.org’s archives on the Laurie List here: https://indepthnh.org/category/dishonest-police/
By NANCY WEST, InDepthNH.org
The new law allowing police on the Laurie List to argue in Superior Court why they should be removed has already cost one retired Nashua officer more than $1,000 and he still doesn’t know why he was put on the list four years ago, 18 years after he retired.
Tony Pivero said the court fight representing himself could cost thousands of dollars, if not tens of thousands, and hang over his head for years – all done secretly behind closed courtroom doors.
“I’ve got a long battle ahead,” Pivero said. “It could cost me a lot of money and cost a lot for the others on the list as well,” Pivero said.
It could cost more, too, depending on whether he hires an attorney as he did in his related public records case. The list includes the names of police officers, most still redacted, who have been disciplined for honesty, excessive force and mental health issues.
Attorney General John Formella has already filed a motion to dismiss Pivero’s lawsuit to get off the Laurie List, now known as the Exculpatory Evidence Schedule.
Pivero is one of 254 current or former police officers who received a letter from Formella last September explaining they have the right under a new law to file a lawsuit arguing why their name should be removed before the names on the list become public.
It was the first time Pivero learned that he was on the list after retiring from the Nashua police department in 2003. The letter said the department placed his name on the list in December of 2017.
Ninety police names were made public last month, with 15 re-redacted the same day because the attorney general didn’t know they had filed a lawsuit. Officers who argue in court will have their names remain confidential until a judge decides otherwise.
Being kept in the dark is particularly upsetting, Pivero said, because the new law was intended to make the Laurie List more transparent.
The new law, RSA 105:13-d,IId, sets forth a process by which entries on the list will become public.
Pivero filed a separate public records lawsuit under RSA 91a against Formella seeking documents to find out what prompted his name to be placed on the Laurie List, but was denied.
After a hearing in Merrimack County Superior Court last month, Judge Andrew Schulman ruled against Pivero as long as the attorney general agreed to provide the same documents to Pivero if requested in his lawsuit challenging his inclusion on the list.
At first, the public records hearing was deemed confidential by the court and not publicly noticed until Pivero agreed that day to open it to the public.
Schulman said a public records suit under RSA 91a would be for any public record regardless of who asked for it. He suggested the request would be better made seeking discovery in Pivero’s lawsuit arguing why he should be removed from the list.
“Clearly nobody gets put on that list without notice. You don’t get some kind of Kafkaesque notice that you’re on the list and you can never find out why,” Schulman said.
Nashua attorney Eric Wilson, representing Pivero for the right-to-know case, told Schulman that’s exactly the position Pivero finds himself in.
But Schulman said that is not the same because Pivero can seek the information via discovery in his lawsuit arguing to get off the list.
“Why can’t he get the discovery he needs, which he needs, in the context of challenging being placed on the list,” Schulman asked.
Pivero would be limited in what he can argue in the lawsuit without knowing why he is on the list, Wilson told the judge.
“His request is simply, ‘tell me why I am on the list,’” Wilson said.
Although Senior Assistant Attorney General Geoffrey Ward said the attorney general is still considering removing names from the Laurie List under an internal protocol separate from the new law, Pivero said he wasn’t aware of that option.
Thirty names have been removed from the list using the confidential protocol, half since the new law went into effect Sept. 24, 2021, offering all on the list the Superior Court option for possible removal.
“I didn’t even know there was such a process,” Pivero said.
Ward said he can’t discuss any confidential cases involving the new law, including Pivero’s.
Criminal defendants are constitutionally guaranteed all exculpatory evidence, which is evidence that would be favorable to them. That could include a police officer’s discipline for dishonesty, use of excessive force or mental instability.
If such evidence is withheld, a conviction could be overturned even if it is discovered years later.
Pivero said he was a thorn in the Nashua police department’s side when as the president of the patrolman’s union, he fought for the rights of his members. He had also spoken publicly to the press about what he perceived as preferential treatment for the relative of a politician and other matters.
Nashua police disciplined Pivero in 2002 after he was ordered to translate a defendant’s statement from Spanish to English. Pivero said he wasn’t fluent enough in Spanish and refused.
He was suspended for 16 days on July 17, 2002, but never was able to fully fight the charges, he said.
They alleged insubordination, truthfulness, cooperation and conduct toward supervisors.
Six weeks later Pivero shot and killed a retired Massachusetts police officer who was fleeing the scene of the murder of the man’s ex-wife and a male friend on Sept. 2, 2002.
Pivero never returned to police work because of his medical status and the shooting was deemed legally justified. He retired on accidental disability before being able to fully challenge the discipline for refusing to translate the defendant’s statement, so he never received due process, Pivero said.
Pivero said he was deposed by the attorney general in 2017 as a witness in an old criminal case for a hearing in which internal investigations against him were discussed.
“In February of 2017 the attorney general knew that any internal investigation relating to truthfulness was never adjudicated by the labor board and that I never received due process,” Pivero said.
Pivero files all documents in his name although the law allows for confidentiality because he said he has done nothing wrong.
But being on the Laurie List for any officer or former officer is harmful, he said.
“It affects your reputation overall. I always pride myself on my integrity and don’t do anything to tarnish that.
“When I’m put in a pine box, I don’t want people saying, ‘That cop was a liar.’”