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NH Supreme Court Upholds Conviction of Kingston Woman Who Violated Mask Mandate

Kathy Bossi doesn’t think refusing to wear a face mask at a public meeting is a crime. But New Hampshire’s Supreme Court upheld her trespassing conviction anyway.

The Kingston grandmother and Sunday school teacher lost her appeal when the state Supreme Court ruled late last week that she was, in fact, guilty of trespass at a school board meeting when she protested a mask mandate.

Bossi was arrested at a May 2021 Timberlane Regional School Board meeting when she refused to put on a surgical face mask, which the school required as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic raging at the time.

Mask mandates became a cultural hot button as parents across the country responded with protests. The video of police officers pulling the handcuffed Bossi out of the Timberlane High School auditorium went viral.

In her appeal, Bossi argued refusing to wear a mask isn’t a crime, and she cannot be criminally charged for not being masked. The court ruled, however, that Bossi was convicted for entering a space without privilege or license and not for mask refusal.

“The defendant also argues that the case should have been dismissed because ‘[r]efusing to wear a surgical mask as a condition for attending a public meeting at Timberlane Regional School Board is not a crime.’ The school board did condition the license or privilege to enter the auditorium on wearing a mask, and it authorized the Plaistow Police Department to enforce the policy. Because the defendant entered the auditorium without license or privilege, she was arrested for criminal trespass,” the court ruled.

Bossi was part of a group of Timberlane parents protesting the district’s in-school masking policy. When she refused to put on a mask in order to get into the auditorium, she was arrested.

“You are violating my rights right now,” Bossi told police in the video. “Are you seriously doing this, you guys?”

School Board Chair Katie Knutsen did not respond to NHJournal’s request for comment.

The school district had enacted a policy that everyone entering school buildings was required to wear face masks, including the auditorium where board meetings were held. The school board posted signs outside the meeting that said face masks were required, and the face mask requirement was noticed in the meeting agenda. 

Bossi and a few other protesters pushed past police officers with signs to get into the auditorium before they were stopped. According to court records, officers had spoken to Bossi and the mask requirement and told her she could not enter the meeting without a mask. 

Bossi reportedly told police she was going to get into the auditorium without a mask, and they could not stop her. While she did manage to get into the meeting, she was soon arrested. Bossi reportedly refused to give police her name when she was first taken into custody.

The in-person meeting was canceled shortly after Bossi’s arrest, and the board met via Zoom.

Bossi was convicted on the misdemeanor criminal trespassing charge in Salem District Court. One count of disorderly conduct was conditionally dismissed until Bossi’s appeal was heard and decided. 

Bossi represented herself in the appeal and argued that refusing to comply with a mask mandate does not rise to the level of being a crime and that she had every right to be in the public building during a public meeting.

Bossi did not respond to NHJournal’s request for comment.

Part of Bossi’s argument rests on her theory that police officers did not have the right to enforce a mask mandate. However, the court found police were at the meeting by request of the school board. The board was concerned about anti-mask protesters causing a disturbance and asked officers to keep the peace.

Public health authorities, including former White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, have since acknowledged a lack of data supporting mask mandates as an effective response to the pandemic. 

Earlier this month, Fauci admitted the six-foot rule used to keep classrooms closed during the pandemic was not based on science or data but rather “sort of just appeared.”

NH Taxpayers Now Spending $20k per Pupil on K-12 Education

Granite State taxpayers have broken the $20,000 barrier on school spending, even as K-12 academic performance remains flat and school enrollment declines.

“Last week, the New Hampshire Department of Education released its newest cost per pupil data for the 2022-2023 school year,” the department said in a press release. “The new statewide average operating cost per pupil of $20,323 is a 4.8 percent increase from last year’s average cost per pupil of $19,400. Total expenditures for the 2022-2023 school year were more than $3.8 billion in New Hampshire.”

To put the $20,323 in perspective, tuition to attend Bishop Guertin High School, a highly-ranked private Catholic school in Nashua, is $16,400. Mount Royal Academy is the highest-ranked Catholic school in the state. High school tuition is $10,700.

New Hampshire also spends far more per pupil than most of the nation. Across the U.S., the average cost per pupil is shy of $14,295, putting New Hampshire in the top 10 nationally for education spending. And as state Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut told NHJournal, taxpayer spending on public schools has been soaring for more than a decade.

“The statewide average for New Hampshire’s cost per pupil has increased by nearly 87 percent since 2000 when it cost less than $11,000 per student. During this same time frame, public school enrollment has dropped by about 20 percent statewide,” Edelblut said.

According to Edelblut, student enrollment numbers in the Granite State have dropped from 207,684 in 2002 to 165,095 in 2023. That’s a decrease of 42,589 public school students, or about a 20.5 percent decline during the past 21 years.

Despite the massive increase in spending, Granite State students are struggling on achievement tests like the SAT. House Education Committee vice chair Rep. Glenn Cordelli (R-Tuftonboro) said it’s time to pay attention to the poor return on investment.

“It’s pretty evident that over probably a couple of decades, spending is going up, and achievement scores are pretty much flat,” Cordelli said.

New Hampshire’s 2023 SAT scores dropped off slightly again. The junior class scored 35 percent proficient in math compared to 37 percent in 2022 and 42 percent in 2021. Students also lost ground on reading proficiency in 2023, with 60 percent proficiency compared to 61 percent proficiency in 2022 and 63 percent proficiency in 2021.

Edelblut said the increasing cost per pupil is partly due to increasing costs, and partly due to the steady drop in the number of students. 

“While we have and will continue to work to expand resources for all students, it is clear that we are in a challenging environment of escalating costs and decreasing student enrollment,” Edelblut said. 

Some school districts manage to come in under the new average, with Manchester at $16,636, Nashua spending $18,107, and Bedford at $17,418. Concord is spending $22,190 per pupil, and New Hampshire’s highest cost per pupil is New Castle at $41,754, a little more than the $41,650 tuition at The Derryfield School, an exclusive private day school in Manchester.

The record spending for public school students comes as the legislature is being pressed to find a way to change the way public education is funded. New Hampshire relies largely on local property taxes to fund public education, with the state sending an adequacy grant to districts that average $4,100 per pupil.

The district responsible for New Hampshire’s current school funding scheme thanks to lawsuits in the 1980s and 1990s, Claremont, is spending almost $22,000 per pupil. The Contoocook Valley Regional School District, behind a lawsuit that could change New Hampshire’s funding system again, is spending more than $25,000 per pupil.

The recent decision in the ConVal lawsuit has the state under court order to increase the adequacy aid grant to at least $7,300. Cordelli said that increase puts New Hampshire on the path to an income tax. The ConVal decision is stayed as the state appeals to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, giving the legislature time to find another funding plan.

Parents and homeowners frustrated with high property taxes and poor achievement are going to demand changes, Cordelli said.

“At some point, the public is going to become aware, and something is going to happen,” Cordelli said.

Parents are already finding lower cost, and sometimes better quality, opportunities outside the public school system. Kate Baker Demers, executive director of Children’s Scholarship Fund New Hampshire, said the average Education Freedom Account grant in New Hampshire is $5,255, about a quarter of the new cost per pupil for public school students.

“So, if a parent taxpayer is concerned about the high spending and cost, they could choose an EFA and save the state $14,745 per child. Which is, what, the amount that other states spend in total?” Baker Demers said.

This school year, EFA enrollment went up 20 percent to 4,211 students in New Hampshire. Of that total, 1,577 are new to the program. Taxpayers are now paying a little more than $22 million for EFA grants.

Judge Blocks Woodburn’s Request for ‘Blame the Victim’ Defense in Domestic Violence Case

Disgraced former State Sen. Jeffrey Woodburn is not being allowed to introduce evidence that he claims shows the alleged victim had a history of causing the kind of fights that led to his alleged crimes.

Woodburn, once one of the highest-ranking elected Democrats in state government, continues to fight hard against the domestic violence charges that have hung over him since his 2018 arrest. He is heading for a new trial on one count of domestic violence and one count of simple assault after the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled he was denied the ability to argue self-defense.

On Friday, Coos Superior Court Judge Peter Bornstein denied Woodburn’s request to introduce evidence of prior instances that “physically interfered with his attempts to avoid conflict.”

Woodburn’s attorney, Mark Sisti, filed a motion to allow this evidence, even though it detailed incidents that predate the alleged violence for which he had originally been convicted. 

“Testimony concerning Jeff Woodburn’s prior attempts to avoid conflict and the alleged victim’s behavior about those attempts are admissible and relevant to his mental state at the time of this alleged offense,” Sisti wrote.

Assistant Attorney General Zachary Wolfe’s objection pointed out Sisti and Woodburn supply no details about this “vague, amorphous” evidence, making it impossible to counter in court or even prove they actually happened.

“The defendant’s motion fails to identify not only the specific instances of conduct he wishes to introduce, but also any specific legal grounds justifying his request,” Wolfe wrote.

While the Supreme Court ruled Woodburn can use evidence demonstrating his claim of self-defense for the actions covered in the trial, Bornstein wrote in his order that it does not open the door for what is essentially the unspecified evidence Woodburn is claiming.

“Among other things, the defendant has not identified any of the alleged victim’s prior acts as to which he seeks to introduce evidence or the approximate date(s) on which he alleges occurred,” Bornstein wrote. 

The simple assault and domestic violence convictions stem from Woodburn’s violent actions related to three separate incidents, according to court records. In the first instance, Woodburn and the woman arrived in separate vehicles at a Dec. 15, 2017, Christmas party, and the woman agreed to drive him home so that Woodburn could drink at the party. During an argument on the drive home, Woodburn had the woman pull over, and during a struggle over his phone, he bit her hand, according to court records.

On Christmas Eve that same year, Woodburn kicked the door to the woman’s house when she refused to let him inside. In August 2017, he reportedly kicked her clothes dryer earlier that year, breaking the appliance, according to court records.

The woman went on record telling Bornstein that at one point during one of her struggles with Woodburn, she tried to grab his phone without permission. Bornstein stated in court that it did not rise to the level of behavior allowing Woodburn’s self-defense claims.

Woodburn’s new trial on the two charges is slated for next year. The North Country Democrat has already been convicted on two counts of criminal mischief and is facing 30 days in jail. He is also free while he appeals Bornstein’s August ruling denying a new trial on these charges.

Woodburn is just one of several Granite State Democrats embroiled in legal scandals. Strafford County Sheriff Mark Brave is on paid leave and facing charges of stealing tax dollars to pay for trysts with a series of paramours. Former state Rep. Stacie Laughton (D-Nashua) is in jail awaiting trial on child pornography charges. And two-time Democratic candidate for governor, former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, has just been called out for a second time by the state attorney general over illegal campaign tactics he used in local political races.

In addition, both U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) and the state Democratic Party are still holding on to cash donated to them by notorious fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried after he allegedly stole it from clients. Hassan and the NHDP were two of the top recipients of the more than $100 million in political campaign contributions federal prosecutors say Bankman-Fried made before the 2022 midterm elections.

Defamation Lawsuit Against NHDem Chair Buckley Back on Docket

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley could go to trial soon for allegedly defaming state Rep. Dan Hynes (R-Bedford).

The case was revived this week when a New Hampshire Supreme Court ruling found Hynes could sue after the state Democratic Party published incorrect information about his criminal record during his 2018 Senate run. 

Hynes, who is representing himself, appeared in Hillsborough Superior Court — North in Manchester on Wednesday along with the Democratic Party’s attorney, Tim McLaughlin, to discuss the next steps in bringing the lawsuit before a jury.

Both Hynes and McLaughlin agreed with Judge David Anderson to submit a new case ordering structure — essentially a schedule — by Sept. 1. Hynes suggested the Democratic Party may want to refile its answer to his complaint in light of this summer’s Supreme Court decision.

“I think it’s possible for a new answer in the case,” Hynes said.

Hynes sued Buckley and the party after Democrats released election fliers during the 2018 campaign that Haynes said portrayed him falsely. He went on to lose that election.

The flier in question alerted voters to parts of Hynes’s criminal history, though it got some key facts wrong. Hynes got in trouble in 2009 for reportedly sending legal threats to hair salons. 

According to court records, Hynes sent a “Cease and Desist/Demand Letter” to Claudia Lambert, Claudia’s Signature Salon owner in Concord. Hynes claimed that because Lambert’s salon charged women more money for haircuts than men or children, she was engaging in gender discrimination. 

Hynes’ letter demanded that she stop charging women more and pay him $1,000. Lambert’s husband contacted the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, and during a sting operation, an investigator witnessed Hynes taking $500 to settle his claim of unfair trade practices. During that meeting, Hynes reportedly said he had sent other letters to other hair salons and was currently in negotiations with those businesses and their attorneys.

“Dan Hynes targeted woman-owned businesses for extortion. Hynes was charged by Republican Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, convicted by the state of New Hampshire for ‘theft by extortion and disbarred,” the Democrats flier stated.

Hynes initially lost the first round in court when the case was dismissed based on the fact that he had, in fact, been convicted of extortion.

However, that conviction had been annulled before the 2018 election, and New Hampshire law treats annulled convictions as though they do not exist. In addition, while Hynes was, in fact, disciplined and his law license suspended, he was not disbarred.

As a result, the Supreme Court ruled Buckley and the NHPD sent voters mailers that contained factual untruths.

“The fact that the plaintiff was convicted undeniably exists, but as a matter of New Hampshire law, upon annulment, it is false and misleading to fail to state that the conviction was annulled,” the Supreme Court ruled. “In the context of this case, to conclude otherwise could discourage those with annulled criminal records from seeking elective office, a constitutionally protected right.”

There is an exemption if the reporting party was unaware that a conviction had been annulled, but the NHDP flier included an internet link to the relevant court documents, inducing Hynes’ annulment. There was also a link on the flier to documents concerning Hynes’ law license suspension, meaning the NHPD and Buckley knew Hynes had not been disbarred.

Facing Jail Time, Dem Woodburn Fighting Convictions “Tooth and Nail”

Former Democratic State Sen. Jeff Woodburn is filing another appeal after he was sentenced Thursday to a month in jail on criminal mischief charges connected to the domestic violence case that ended his political career.

“We will defend this tooth and nail,” said Mark Sisti, Woodburn’s attorney.

This week, Coos Superior Court Judge Peter Bornstein denied Woodburn’s motion for a new trial on the two criminal mischief convictions and sentenced him to 12 months in jail on each count, with all but 30 days suspended. That sentence is stayed, meaning he will not have to report to jail until after his appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court is heard.

The state Supreme Court ruled earlier this year Woodburn is entitled to a new trial on the convictions for one count of domestic violence and one count of simple assault. The Supreme Court found Woodburn did not get a fair trial in 2021 since he was not allowed to use a self-defense argument.

According to court records, the convictions stem from Woodburn’s violent actions related to three separate incidents. In the first instance, Woodburn and the woman arrived in separate vehicles at a Dec. 15, 2017, Christmas party, and the woman agreed to drive him home so that Woodburn would be able to drink at the party. During an argument on the drive home, Woodburn had the woman pull over. During a struggle over his phone, he bit her hand, according to court records.

On Christmas Eve of that same year, Woodburn kicked the door to the woman’s house after she refused to let him inside. Earlier that year, in August 2017, he reportedly kicked her clothes dryer, breaking the appliance, according to court records.

The woman went on record telling Bornstein that she tried to grab his phone without permission at one point during her many struggles with Woodburn. Bornstein stated in court that did not rise to the level of behavior allowing Woodburn’s self-defense claims.

But the Supreme Court found there was just enough evidence on record for Woodburn to make a self-defense case.

“Because the record contains ‘some evidence’ supporting a rational finding that the defendant acted in self-defense, the trial court’s refusal to instruct the jury on that theory of defense was unreasonable,” Supreme Court Judge James Bassett wrote.

However, in the same ruling, the New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld the criminal mischief convictions. 

Woodburn and Sisti continue to aggressively pursue appeals. They have been arguing Woodburn should get a new trial on all counts because Woodburn’s prior attorney erred by not seeking separate trials on all the charges, which ended up prejudicing the jury.

Sisti has further argued against the 30 days in jail, saying the sentences for the criminal mischief convictions might have been different if Woodburn had originally been found not guilty of domestic violence and assault.

Sisti said Woodburn will keep fighting the case as long as the state continues to push it. He’s open to a resolution, though.

“If they want to push it, they can push it,” Sisti said. “Jeff’s been open to a resolution to this for the past five years. For some reason, there’s this need to go forward with this.”

Woodburn was formally charged in August of 2018, and, ignoring calls for his resignation, ran for reelection to his Senate seat. Woodburn won the Democratic primary but lost in the general election in 2018.

He was originally tried on nine counts, but the jury found him not guilty of five of the alleged criminal acts.

Rulings in Two Education Funding Lawsuits Coming Soon

Could the next 60 days see an end to New Hampshire’s school funding system as we know it?

Rockingham Superior Court Judge David Ruoff told lawyers Wednesday he is set to rule sometime in the next 60 days on either the final decision in the Contoocook Valley Regional School District adequacy grant lawsuit or the summary judgment for the Grafton County lawsuit seeking to cancel the Statewide Education Property Tax or SWEPT.

“Time is of the essence here for everyone involved,” Ruoff said.

New Hampshire lawmakers, education leaders, and local school boards have been tussling for decades over how to fund a constitutionally-mandated adequate education. Despite hundreds of millions in new funds going to education this year alone, there is still no agreement on how to pay for public schools.

Ruoff is now the one man in the state who could change everything thanks to the lawsuits which landed before him in court. 

The original judge on the Grafton County case, Grafton Superior Court Judge Lawrence MacLeod, recused himself last year, citing a potential conflict of interest. MacLeod is a property owner in one of the property-rich towns pushing to keep the current SWEPT system in place.

MacLeod’s recusal sent the case to Ruoff. Ruoff is also under orders from the New Hampshire Supreme Court to decide in the ConVal case exactly how much the state should pay per pupil.

In both cases, the school districts claim the way the state is currently funding education, using an unevenly enforced SWEPT to pay for adequacy grants that do not cover all necessary expenses, is unconstitutional.

Ruoff initially ruled in ConVal’s favor, agreeing the state is not paying enough per pupil, but he left setting a particular amount to legislators. On appeal, the Supreme Court ruled Ruoff needed to hold a trial and set a specific dollar amount.

New Hampshire upped its per pupil adequacy grant this year to $4,100. But the plaintiffs in the ConVal case are looking for just short of $10,000 per pupil. Ruoff listened to weeks of testimony this year; his highly anticipated ruling is pending.

With approximately 160,000 students in the state’s K-12 public schools, a $10,000 adequacy payment would cost state taxpayers $1.6 billion yearly.

Meanwhile, lawyers representing the state and the Grafton County plaintiffs argued in court Wednesday over an injunction to set the SWEPT rate at 0, as the plaintiff wants. Ruoff indicated he would issue a judgment in the case without need for a trial since neither side disputes the facts about how schools are funded.

SWEPT accounts for 30 percent of education funding in New Hampshire. Under a law change in 2011, a loophole was created. Now as many as 30 wealthier communities in New Hampshire are keeping a portion of the money raised through SWEPT, essentially getting to set a negative property tax rate, while poorer communities end up with higher SWEPT rates to make up for their low property values.

Michael Jaoude, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said the uneven SWEPT burden violates the Claremont decision from the 1990s, which ruled there is a constitutional right to adequate education and that the cost needs to be shared equally.

“No resident should have a greater burden of funding that constitutional right than another,” Jaoude said.

SWEPT started in 1999 as a response to the Claremont decision, which found the state has a constitutional obligation to fund adequate education. The money raised, more than $360 million estimated in the coming year, is used to fund state adequacy grants. 

Senior Assistant Attorney General Sam Garland said ruling for the Grafton County plaintiffs would have disastrous impacts on local town and school budgets. Garland said the plaintiffs have not shown that the SWEPT system is unconstitutional, and their arguments don’t hold up.

“We don’t think they’ve made that showing, and we don’t think they can make that showing as a matter of law,” Garland said.

Garland said even if the 2011 law creating the SWEPT exemptions might be unconstitutional, the tax itself is not, and Ruoff should allow the rate to be set.

Ruoff indicated the whole SWEPT issue might be moot depending on his eventual ruling in the ConVal case.

Dem Woodburn Wants All Convictions Tossed in Domestic Violence Case

Former Democratic state Sen. Jeff Woodburn wants a do-over.

Woodburn and his attorney, Mark Sisti, are asking Coos Superior Court Judge Peter Bornstein to toss out the two criminal mischief convictions in his domestic violence case and give him a new trial. It is a request opposed by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office.

Woodburn is already getting a new trial on the domestic violence and assault charges after the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled the former Senate Minority Leader didn’t get a fair trial his first time around. He was convicted in 2021 on two counts of criminal mischief, one count of domestic violence, and one count of simple assault.

He was originally tried on nine counts. The jury found him not guilty of five charges.

The state Supreme Court ruled Woodburn should have been able to claim self-defense on the domestic violence and simple assault charges. At the same time, the state Court upheld the criminal mischief convictions. Facing 30 days in jail after the Supreme Court ruling, Woodburn now wants those charges tossed out instead.

The new domestic violence and assault trial is set for March of next year.

Sisti filed a motion seeking a new trial on the grounds that Woodburn’s prior attorney erred by not seeking separate trials on all the charges, which resulted in prejudicing the jury.

Assistant Attorney General Zachary Wolf called the arguments “nonsensical” in his motion opposing the request.

“Indeed, it is hard to see how the defendant can claim he suffered any type of prejudice in this matter when the jury chose to take him at his word, finding him guilty of only the offenses that he admitted and not guilty of the offenses he denied,” Wolf wrote.

Woodburn allegedly bit his then-girlfriend during an argument after a Christmas party in 2017. Days later, he allegedly kicked the door to the woman’s house when she refused to let him inside. Earlier that year, in August 2017, he reportedly kicked her clothes dryer, breaking the appliance, according to court records.

Sisti also wants to delay any sentencing imposed for the criminal mischief convictions, arguing his sentence might have been different if he had originally been found not guilty of domestic violence and assault. Wolf wrote that line of argument is unconvincing.

“There is simply no indication in the record that the Court would have sentenced the defendant differently had he been acquitted of the domestic violence and simple assault charges. As a result, there is nothing for the Court to reconsider at this juncture, and resentencing would be an exercise in futility,” Wolf wrote.

Woodburn has been fighting the charges for years, and he is running out of room to keep his case alive — and himself out of jail.

Patricia LaFrance, the former attorney for the victim in the case, told NHJournal there’s nothing to appeal for the criminal mischief convictions after the state Supreme Court upheld those counts.

“The next step would be the United States Supreme Court, but there would have to be some controversy that splits the states,” LaFrance said.

Criminal cases that raise questions for the United States Supreme Court usually center on legal discrepancies between states, where particular laws or standards vary. Woodburn and Sisti are not currently arguing anything that could go to the highest federal court. She said that even if they were, it is unlikely they would get that far. New Hampshire criminal cases rarely go to the High Court.

“I had a case in 2011 that went to the (United States) Supreme Court, and that was the first criminal case from New Hampshire in 40 years to go there,” LaFrance said.

Woodburn was formally charged in August 2018 and ran for reelection to the state Senate, despite calls for his resignation. Woodburn won the Democratic primary and lost in the general election in 2018.

Sununu COVID Policy Protestor Taking Case to State Supreme Court

The only protestor convicted for protesting COVID-19 lockdowns in front of Gov. Chris Sununu’s home is taking his case to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

Frank Negus Staples, aka Foot Loose, is appealing his conviction on one count of disorderly conduct for his role in the protests outside the homes of Sununu and Chief Justice Gordon MacDonald. He was among nine people arrested during the protests, and the only one convicted.

“We were all found not guilty of ‘picketing,’” Staples said. “I was found guilty of ‘disorderly conduct.’”

NHJournal reporter Chris Maidment was arrested during the protests and charged with picketing, despite identifying himself to authorities as a journalist on assignment. NHJournal earned a First Amendment award from the New Hampshire Press Association for its work on the story, and the charges were dismissed before the case went to trial.

MacDonald, who was New Hampshire’s Attorney General at the time of the protests, has recused himself from the case according to Staples. MacDonald’s Department of Justice was instrumental in creating the picketing ordinance used to charge the protestors.

“Gordon MacDonald has recused himself from the case due to his direct involvement in the creation of the town ‘picketing’ ordinance and how to enforce it,” Staples said.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court accepted Staples’ appeal as part of the dozens of cases accepted in November. A hearing date has not been set.

After Sununu started conducting government business from his home due to the pandemic, opponents of the governor’s COVID-19 policies started protesting in the street outside. Sununu and his neighbors expressed their unhappiness with the crowds of sign-waving demonstrators in their cul-de-sac, but the protestors were on public property.

In response, the town Board of Selectmen, including Sununu’s brother Michael, drafted an anti-picketing ordinance designed to discourage — if not prevent — the protests. Three members of the Sununu administration, including Department of Safety Commissioner Robert Quinn, testified on behalf of the protest ban at a December 8 select board meeting.

The language for the ordinance came directly from the Attorney General’s Office, according to emails obtained by NHJournal.

Concord attorney Seth Hipple, who represented several of the protesters, including Maidment, told NH Journal last year that the government is holding a losing hand.

“The prosecution’s case was a dumpster fire,” Hipple said.

None of the arresting officers were able to individually identify any of the protesters who were charged, and they were unable to specify what actions the protestors took that violated the law, according to Hipple.

Staples, who told NHJournal people do not like it when he gets loud, was a fixture at anti-COVID lockdown protests throughout the pandemic. He was among several people arrested at an Executive Council Meeting last year who were protesting a federal contract to pay for COVID vaccines.

Staples was also the lead protestor at the September 2021 Executive Council meeting that was shut down because of safety concerns.

Staples made statements to New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services employees that they deemed threatening.The employees were unnerved and subsequently escorted to their cars by New Hampshire State Police Troopers. Staples, who was shouting and acting in an aggressive manner through the meeting denies he meant a threat when he shouted “we know where you live” to the DHHS employees.

Staples and several other protestors at the September 2021 Executive Council meeting were investigated by Attorney General John Formella’s office, but no charges were ever brought.