Judge: Discipline hearing should not be automatically closed for NH officers

Published: 6/20/2021 10:59:49 PM

CONCORD, N.H. — Disciplinary hearings for New Hampshire police officers accused of misconduct serious enough for decertification should not be automatically held behind closed doors, a judge ruled.

The judge’s decision came as the Legislature voted to make disciplinary proceedings public. A Sununu spokesman told New Hampshire Public Radio that the governor supports the bill.

The Union Leader newspaper sued over the disciplinary proceedings of a detective and an officer in Manchester.

The newspaper argued that the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council’s practice of shielding hearings and certain records from public view, if requested by the officer, was a violation of the state’s Right to Know law.

Judge Andrew Schulman agreed that the council should no longer automatically exempt the public from reading materials or viewing disciplinary proceedings.

However, the order does not create a blanket requirement that all disciplinary proceedings be made public.

The attorney general’s office is still reviewing the decision, and hasn’t said if it will appeal.

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