Judge in NH Nazi Case Orders Hearing On AG’s Appeal

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NSC-131 photo

The neo-Nazi group NSC-131 is pictured performing a Nazi salute in front of the Teatotaller Cafe in Concord on June 18.


BRENTWOOD – The judge who dismissed the Civil Rights Act case against two members of the neo-Nazi gang NSC-131 and the group on First Amendment grounds wants prosecutors to come to his courtroom and explain why they think he’s wrong.

Rockingham Superior Court Judge David Ruoff ordered a hearing be held after lawyers in the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office accused him of improperly throwing out their case. The state filed a motion to reconsider the dismissal last week, arguing Ruoff got the law wrong.

“The Court’s order misapprehends the law. The Court’s order collapses a host of statutorily prohibited conduct into a single act and adopts an interpretation of trespass that omits trespass’s most critical component: any entry must be unprivileged. From this misapprehension, the Court’s analysis devolves into accusations that the State has claimed the authority to regulate any conduct occurring lawfully in public spaces; something the State, in its objection, explicitly denied that it had the authority to do,” wrote Assistant Attorneys General Sean Locke and Brandon Chase.

Ruoff’s brief order seems to push back at the prosecutors, and calls into question the Attorney General’s use of the Civil Rights Act to prosecutor neo-Nazi’s Christopher Hood and Leo Cullinan. According to the order, the Civil Rights Act passed through the legislature after then-attorney General Gordon MacDonald promised it would be used with some discretion and the Department of Justice would respect civil rights.

“Among the items to be discussed at the hearing are 1) the precise part of this Court’s Order that ‘devolves into accusation,’ 2) an explanation for the apparent and significant departure the Attorney General takes in this case in arguing that any common law trespass can trigger a CRA, and the very conservative position the Attorney General took (during testimony of Attorney General [MacDonald] and AAG Ann Larney) before the Legislature that ensured only criminal trespass would be actionable, and 3) anything else the State wished to discuss,” Ruoff wrote.

Hood, Cullinan, and their group, NSC-131, were charged with violating the state’s Civil Rights Act for hanging a banner proclaiming “Keep New England White” on a Route 1 overpass in Portsmouth last summer.

Attorney General John Formella’s case hinged on the allegation that Hood, Cullinan and the Nazis trespassed on what is essentially public property when they hung the banner. Ruoff ruled in his dismissal that the attorney general’s argument does not pass constitutional muster.

“The conduct alleged in the Complaints, while reprehensible by most civilized standards, does not fit any definition of ‘trespass’ other than the one the Court has concluded is unconstitutional (at least as to public property,)” Ruoff wrote.

No date has been set for the hearing.

Cullinan died last week and the case against him is expected to be dropped, leaving just Hood and NSC-131 to possibly face charges for last summer’s bigoted demonstration in Portsmouth. Hood is the founder of NSC-131 and Cullinan was the head of the New Hampshire chapter.

Few details have been released except to say Cullinan’s death in Manchester wasn’t suspicious and the cause of death is pending toxicology test results.

NSC-131 is described as a terrorist gang that has engaged in a wave of intimidation and violence against minorities throughout New England.

Last week, the group tried to disrupt a Drag Queen Story Hour at Teatotaller Cafe in Concord, but failed to scare off drag performer Juicy Garland or the patrons. 

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