A prosecutor’s office’s greatest assets are its community partners. Whether providing help to combat the opioid crisis, treat the mentally ill, or providing survivors of domestic and sexual violence a safe haven, our community partners are key to our success as prosecutors. Without them, we could not engage in alternative sentencing or protect those who have suffered at the hands of abusers. We can do more to integrate with those services, especially those which provide help to survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
When I first learned that survivors of domestic violence were having their testimony in civil protective hearings used against them in the criminal proceedings, I initiated a roundtable with my local provider of services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence, local law enforcement, and the Grafton County Attorney’s Office. As a consequence of that roundtable, I asked my three agencies to change their procedures so that we ensure that survivors are provided better services. I would like to bring that change county-wide.
On the campaign trail, I learned that the recent loss of a high-profile campus sexual assault case by the Grafton County Attorney’s Office had a depressive effect on the reporting of campus sexual assaults. Students are more afraid than ever to come forward. They’re afraid that the Grafton County Attorney’s Office won’t win their cases. That’s a huge problem. That’s why I’ve already begun outreach to organizations to coordinate a response, to earn back the trust of those we are sworn to protect. We can do better and we must.
Most members of the New Hampshire Legislature are not lawyers. The few who are lawyers are, generally, not practicing criminal lawyers. That means that the legislature does not have the legal background to find the loopholes criminals exploit to go free on technicalities. They need outside help.
As a prosecutor already, my job is to do justice and work for the improvement of the laws. Therefore, I’m already a resource to my legislators on both sides of the aisle. In 2017, I helped Rep. Linda Massimilla close some loopholes in the Human Trafficking law, loopholes that would have allowed individuals who paid for sex with children to argue that they should only be subject to misdemeanor penalties, not felony penalties.
As Grafton County Attorney, I would like to work with more legislators to identify issues and address them in a bipartisan manner. One of the issues that I would like to address is the law surrounding surveillance cameras in convenience stores. That law stems from the 1970s, before surveillance cameras were widespread. Now, they’re in every convenience store. And, they’re pretty easy to spot. Yet, the law still requires those stores to post very specific language in order to make audio recordings. If that language is not posted, the police can’t use those recordings when the store is robbed. In a state full of small towns where we all know one another, that just doesn’t make sense. Everyone knows those cameras are recording and, many times, the voices of the robbers are easily recognizable by members of the community.
Simple changes like this can greatly improve not only law enforcement’s ability to solve crimes, but also increase the public’s confidence in the justice system.
As a local prosecutor, I’ve been on the front line of the opioid epidemic and the mental health crisis. Over the last few years, I’ve seen the number of drug-related crimes – thefts, assaults, DWIs, etc. – swell to unprecedented levels. Estimates from my agencies are that well over half of our crimes are now drug-related. We need to get serious about dealing with this crisis.
When I worked for the National Center for State Courts while in law school at William & Mary, the focus of my job was on Red Hook Community Justice Center, one of the first alternative sentencing courts in the nation, and other alternative sentencing courts across the country. We were learning what those courts did effectively and ineffectively so that we could help guide courts across the nation. The main lesson that we learned was that courts need to be able to adapt to changing circumstances.
Here in Grafton County, we have a drug court, but it was only designed to take in those who commit felony-level offenses. When it was designed – before the opioid epidemic – that was a great design. Now, local prosecutors like me frequently encounter addicts who are so desperate for help that they commit crimes just to try to get into drug court. Because, most of the time, the crimes that they choose to commit are only misdemeanors, they aren’t eligible for our drug court. It’s time to adapt that court.
Alternative sentencing programs save money and save lives. The mental health courts, for instance, have saved Grafton County taxpayers more than $500,000 in incarceration and medication costs alone. Not to mention the mental health court’s ability to transform someone from a persistent problem for his or her neighbors into a good neighbor who actively contributes to the community.
We can do more to help more people for less money. Partners like the VA are standing by, ready to help if we ask, but we have to ask. That’s all it took for the VA to join the mental health court up in Littleton. That’s all I had to do. We need to do that countywide. Those who have been battling addiction and mental illness have waited long enough. Veterans have waited long enough. It’s time we do something for them.
Law Enforcement and Educational Credentials
I’ve been a prosecutor in Northern Grafton County since mid-2014 and am proud to represent the Towns of Littleton, Franconia, and Sugar Hill. My responsibilities include reviewing every case (felony, misdemeanor, or violation) brought by those police departments and representing the State in the Littleton Circuit Court. I routinely work with the Grafton County Attorney’s Office to assist their attorneys to get justice for victims at the Grafton Superior Court.
New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office
I worked as a Fellow at the Attorney General’s Office for a year where I was privileged to represent the State in two matters before the New Hampshire Supreme Court. I also appeared on behalf of the State in Superior and Circuit Courts throughout New Hampshire.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
I was honored to work at the Federal Bureau of Investigation during my last year of law school. There, I worked on matters of national security as well as a number of gang and drug investigations.
William & Mary School of Law
I graduated from the William & Mary School of Law in Williamsburg, Virginia.
I have been a passionate supporter of Democrats throughout the country since I was old enough to vote. While at college at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, I was privileged to serve Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA-03) and, later, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) in Washington, D.C.
During my time in D.C., I was honored to work for now-Congressman Gerry Connolly’s (D-VA-11) campaign. Later, shortly after graduating college, I stayed with my mom in Enfield while working for the Paul Hodes for Senate Campaign here in New Hampshire.
My commitment to Democratic causes has garnered me the support of some fantastic candidates and elected officials across Grafton County.
State Employee's Association (SEA/SEIU)
Rep. Linda Massimilla (D) Grafton County District 1 (Bethlehem, Littleton)
Josh Adjutant (D) Candidate Grafton County District 17 (Ashland, Alexandria, Bridgewater, Bristol, Grafton, Enfield)
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I am running for Grafton County Attorney because I believe that we can do more to pursue justice and promote the safety and security of the County’s citizens. For the past four years, I’ve served the citizens of northern Grafton County as the prosecutor for Littleton, Sugar Hill, and, now, Franconia. In that time, I’ve learned how the justice system works and where it needs to be improved. Not every case ends with a lengthy jail sentence. Not every case should. But every case should give the victims of crimes the justice they deserve. That’s the vision that I want to bring to the County Attorney’s Office.
Over the past four years, I've worked tirelessly to improve our justice system in various ways, while keeping focus on our treatment of victims by:
- expanding local law enforcement outreach to organizations which provide services to victims of domestic and sexual violence in order to reach better outcomes;
- testifying in front of the New Hampshire Legislature in support of bills which became laws that now give law enforcement better tools to combat human traffickers;
- supporting efforts to allow addicts to get the help they need before they commit more serious crimes by expanding drug courts to the misdemeanor level; and
- fighting to allow veterans suffering from PTSD and other service-related ailments to connect to VA services and incorporate those services into the local court structure.
As County Attorney, I could do more to improve the outcomes for those involved in the justice system. I could help more people, promote fairer laws, and work for better justice. That’s why I am running for Grafton County Attorney.