Archives for January 2012

Bill Would Eliminate Sobriety Checkpoints

Sobriety checkpoints used to catch drunk drivers, organized by NH police departments would be eliminated by NH House Bill 1452.  A hearing is scheduled for Thursday, February 2 at 11 am., as reported by Matthew Spolar of the Concord Monitor.

“My concern is we’re giving up our right to travel freely,” said Republican Rep. George Lambert of Litchfield, a co-sponsor of the bill. “It allows (the police) to do all kinds of investigations for which they did not have original probable cause.”

Lambert and Rep. Seth Cohn of Canterbury, also a freshman Republican, see the checkpoints as running counter to the Fourth Amendment’s barring of unreasonable search and seizures. Cohn said the checkpoints give law enforcement “carte blanche to stop people ostensibly for sobriety.”

Read the full story.

Whether you are arrested at a check point or you’re pulled over on the road, you should not face a DUI on your own.  A lawyer can make a difference!  Call the Lawyer Referral Service of the NH Bar Association for a referral to a competent attorney who specifically handles DUI cases.  603-229-0002 or request an online referral

Mysterious Illness Afflicting Teenagers in Le Roy, NY

15 teenagers in Le Roy, NY have been afflicted with Tourette-like symptoms, causing some to wonder if it is linked to possible groundwater contamination from a 1970 train derailment, just three miles from the high school attended by the teens.   Environmental activist, Erin Brockovich has launched her own investigation, as reported by ABC News.

Most of the teens have been diagnosed with conversion disorder — a psychological condition that causes physical symptoms like jerky tics, convulsions and even paralysis. But Brockovich suspects groundwater contamination from a chemical spill from more than 40 years ago may be behind the Tourette-like symptoms.

“They have not ruled everything out yet,” Brockovich told USA Today. “The community asked us to help, and this is what we do.”

Don Miller, whose 16-year-old daughter, Katie, still suffers from debilitating tics, said his sister contacted Brockovich for help.

“We’re just trying to eliminate everything, and she wants to eliminate that it’s the environment,” said Miller. “It’s a possibility and she wants to either prove it is or it isn’t something in the environment.”

Read the entire story at ABC News.

If you believe you or members of your family have been injured by environmental hazards near your home or school, the Lawyer Referral Service of the NH Bar Association can refer you to environmental law attorneys in New Hampshire.  Call 603-229-0002 or request an online referral.

Supreme Court Rules on GPS Tracking By Police

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that police need a warrant if they wish to use a GPS tracking device on a suspect’s vehicle.

National Public Radio’s Nina Totenberg explained to Paul Brown:

“At issue here is the case of Antoine Jones, a Washington, D.C. night club owner. Police put a GPS tracking device on his car for 30 days. That helped authorities find a stash of money and drugs.”

“The Supreme Court decided today that placing a GPS device on a vehicle constitutes a search, so they need a warrant. The AP reports that Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the court’s main opinion.”

 
Read the complete story.

If you believe your civil rights have been violated, call the NH Lawyer Referral Service at 603-229-0002 for a referral to an attorney who specifically handles constitutional law.  You may also request a referral online.

Can I Be Fired While On Maternity Leave in NH?

According to the NH Commission for Human Rights, you cannot be fired or laid off while on maternity leave if it’s related to your temporary disability; however, you may be fired or laid off from a general and legitimate lay-off for performance requirements.

What else does the Commission say about the rights of pregnant employees?

1. Is a pregnant woman entitled to maternity leave?

Yes, an employer must grant a female employee leave for the period of time she is physically disabled due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.

2. Is there a set period of time for maternity leave?

No, there is no set period of time for maternity leave. It is based on the period she is disabled as determined by a physician, usually the employee’s personal doctor.

3. Is the employee entitled to full pay while on maternity leave?

The general rule is that pregnancy must be treated in the same manner that the employer treats other temporary physical disabilities. Therefore, if the employer continues to pay other temporarily disabled employees, it must pay pregnant women. If the employer requires use of vacation and/or sick leave for temporary disabilities, then it may require the same for pregnancy.

4. Is the employee entitled to her job back after she recovers from childbirth?

When the employee is physically able to return to work, her original job or a comparable position must be made available to her by the employer unless business necessity makes this impossible or unreasonable.

5. If the position is filled by another employee while the original employee is on maternity leave and the employer prefers the temporary replacement, can the employer refuse to provide the original job for the returning employee?

No, any change in position for the returning employee must be made for reasons of business necessity. An employer’s preference for one employee over the other cannot be a factor in this decision.

6. Can an employee be laid off or fired while pregnant or on maternity leave?

No, an employee cannot be laid off or fired while pregnant or on leave for reasons related to her temporary disability. However, an employee while pregnant or on maternity leave is not immune from a general and legitimate lay off of employees for performance requirements.

To find out more about rights for pregnant employees, go to the NH Commission for Human Rights.

If you believe you have been discriminated against by your employer because of your age, sex, sexual orientation, race,  physical or mental disability,  religion or pregnancy status, contact the Lawyer Referral Service.  LRS can refer you to competent attorneys who specifically handle discrimination matters in New Hampshire.  Call 603-229-0002 or request an online referral.

Is a Drug Dog’s Sniff a Warrantless Search?

The United States Supreme Court agreed to hear a Florida case challenging the constitutionality of using a drug-sniffing dog in a warrantless search outside a home suspected of being a marijuana grow house.

As reported in the Huffington Post:

“The case, Florida v. Jardines, comes up from the state Supreme Court, which ruled that Franky the narcotics dog’s outside odor detection was “a substantial government intrusion into the sanctity of the home and constitutes a ‘search’ within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.” Florida’s high court pointed to a 2001 U.S. Supreme Court opinion, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, that found police use of a thermo-imaging device to detect tell-tale heat emanating from a suspected grow house violated the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches.”

Click to read the entire article .

If you believe your constitutional rights have been violated, the Lawyer Referral Service of the NH Bar Association can refer you to competent attorneys who have experience handling constitutional law issues.  Call 603-229-0002 for a referral or submit the online request form.

24 DUI Arrests Over the New Year’s Holiday in NH

New Hampshire State Police said that troopers arrested 24 people for driving while intoxicated over the New Year’s holiday weekend, as reported by WMUR.  11 drivers were also arrested for driving after suspension and 45 other criminal arrests were made.

Read more: http://www.wmur.com/news/30122394/detail.html#ixzz1iPRwiUb7

If you are arrested for DUI or any other criminal offense, call the NH Lawyer Referral Service for a referral to a competent attorney who handles DUI’s and other criminal matters at 603-229-0002, or request an online referral.   Losing your license or being convicted of a crime can have a devastating effect on your employment and other aspects of your life.  Having an attorney represent you can make a big difference.   Contact LRS today!