Decision a victory for community
Wednesday’s Superior Court ruling that the Exculpatory Evidence Schedule – formerly known as the Laurie List – should not be considered part of a confidential personnel file is not only a victory for the press and journalists throughout the state, it – more importantly – is a win for the entire community.
Judge Charles Temple denied the state’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by The Telegraph and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire, in addition to other media outlets.
“In the context of his order, the judge agreed the EES is public, and the document belongs to the public,” said the ACLU’s Gilles Bissonnette, adding that Temple issued “an incredibly strong opinion … for accountability and transparency.”
In light of Temple’s ruling, Bissonnette said, the unredacted EES “should be produced … released” by the state in timely fashion.
State Solicitor General Daniel E. Will said, “The court’s order is not a final order in the case, and therefore not subject to immediate appeal” to the state Supreme Court.”
Will and other attorneys for the state are reviewing the order, he wrote, and will determine their next course of action.
He also noted that the court, “did not order the immediate production of an unredacted EES.”
Originally called the Laurie List after the 1995 first-degree murder conviction of New Hampshire resident Carl Laurie was overturned because prosecutors allowed a police officer with credibility issues to testify against Laurie, the list became the EES in 2017 under then-Attorney General Joseph Foster.
Legal wrangling aside, the list must ultimately be release. Withholding names and information only erodes the public trust and gives the impression officials are trying to hide something. The sooner the list is released, the better.