Blackden to get new trial on charge of impersonating emergency responder
Brian Blackden will get a new trial, this time before a jury, on charges he impersonated an emergency responder when photographing a 2010 car crash in Canterbury, the state’s Supreme Court has decided.
Blackden, owner of a North State Street gun shop, has been fighting for a jury trial since last year when he appealed his conviction in Concord’s district court to the Merrimack County Superior Court.
Blackden was originally charged and convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, but when the case was appealed to the superior court prosecutors downgraded it to a Class B misdemeanor, a level of charge that does not require a jury trial because it does not carry possible prison time.
Blackden asked for a jury trial in superior court, but Judge Richard McNamara denied the request. After a bench trial, Blackden was again found guilty of the charges.
Blackden then appealed to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, saying he should have been given a jury trial.
In a Dec. 19 order, the state Supreme Court agreed, saying the court wrongfully “deprived” Blackden of his right by a jury trial by changing the charge to a Class B misdemeanor after he had appealed to superior court.
“We note that in the superior court the defendant is entitled only to a jury trial; if, for any reason, the defendant waives his right to a jury trial, the case must be remanded to the circuit court for imposition of the original sentence,” the order reads.
Blackden was originally fined $1,000. A new trial is not yet scheduled.