Largy asks court to drop charges

Eric Largy has asked a judge to immediately dismiss newly re-filed criminal charges against him that allege he beat his father, retired Nashua Police Chief Clifton Largy, seven years ago.

Public Defender Michael Davidow said Eric Largy’s constitutional rights were violated when prosecutors recently re-indicted him in connection with the April 22, 2009, incident. Largy is still considered not competent to stand trial and remains involuntarily committed to the New Hampshire Hospital, Davidow said.

Prosecutors originally dropped two counts of first-degree assault and one count of kidnapping against Largy in connection with the beating. He was involuntarily committed to the Secure Psychiatric Unit at state prison for five and a half years.

Prosecutors arraigned Eric Largy last week on those same charges in Hillsborough County Superior Court South in Nashua. Bail was set at $100,000 cash only.

"Once an individual has been adjudicated not competent to stand trial, due process requires ‘suspension of the criminal trial until such time, if any, that the defendant regains the capacity to participate in his defense and understand the proceedings against him,’" Davidow wrote in his motion to dismiss the criminal charges against Eric.

The expedited motion was filed Thursday. An individual is considered not competent until adjudicated otherwise, which has not happened in Largy’s case.

"The finding of non-competency still holds," Davidow wrote. "It is the state’s burden to prove otherwise, which it has not done."

Largy, 49, has been locked up for more than seven years, most of that time on involuntary civil commitments at the Secure Psychiatric Unit at state prison. He was not tried in connection with the incident because prosecutors sought instead to have Largy deemed incompetent to stand trial.

"Their request was based, (among other things), on the
nature of the offenses charged, the defendant’s alleged claims of having a close personal relationship to the professional wrestling promoter Vince McMahon, and to the defendant’s alleged belief that his father wished to see him dead," Davidow wrote.

Eric Largy claims he was defending himself that day from an abusive father. Eric also believes his father used his political clout to interfere with his case. Clifton Largy adamantly denies those allegations, insisting instead that Eric lured him to his home in Nashua and attacked him from behind.

Clifton Largy suffered broken eye sockets and a broken jaw, according to news reports at the time. At Largy’s May 27 arraignment and bail hearing, Prosecutor Leslie Gill said Eric tortured his father for 12 hours and restrained him in an antique barber’s chair.

Eric Largy was recently transferred to the New Hampshire Hospital, the state’s public psychiatric facility. Last month, Probate Court Judge David King denied the state’s motion to extend Largy’s civil commitment for another five years.

King instead ordered Largy to be discharged in the next two months. King said that should be enough time for the hospital staff to make sure "that (Largy) has a safe and appropriate place to live upon discharge, and that necessary financial arrangements have been made for him to be able to have a roof over his head."

On May 27, Largy was arraigned in front of Judge Charles S. Temple on the re-filed criminal charges. Temple set bail at $100,000 cash, but said he wanted Largy returned to the New Hampshire Hospital rather than Valley Street Jail. Temple made it clear he has no control over where Largy is held until trial.

Davidow said in cases like Largy’s, the court may order a further competency evaluation on a motion by the attorney general or county attorney, but only if the "court finds that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the person’s condition has changed such that competency to stand trial may have been affected."

Davidow added, "To counsel’s knowledge, however, not only has no such motion been made by our county attorney; but also, no such motion can be made, because there is no proof available in any form whatsoever that the defendant has been restored to competency, thereby inviting re-indictment."

Prosecutors were aware at the recent bail hearing that Largy’s physicians say he has resisted treatment and still suffers from delusional disorder, Davidow said.

"If the State wants to keep Mr. Largy under its care, it can appeal or otherwise try to modify the orders in his civil commitment, which encompass his mental health situation in full," Davidow wrote.

But the state cannot have Largy "re-examined for competency on the circumstances that presently pertain to this case, much less re-indict him," Davidow said.

Davidow asked that the motion be decided as quickly as possible as "Mr. Largy’s health hangs in the balance."

If Largy is transferred to the Valley Street Jail to await trial, "any pretense of a therapeutic approach will cease," he said.

"Whatever progress he has made in the mental health system will be imperiled. Whatever future progress he could make with it, will be sacrificed," Davidow wrote.

InDepthNH.org is a statewide nonprofit news site published by New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism. You can find it online at http://indepthnh.org. Editor Nancy West can be reached at nancywest news@gmail.com.