State of New Hampshire Tries to Take Nathaniel Kibby's Home to Keep It Safe

The State of New Hampshire today is arguing to take Nathaniel Kibby's home.  It is not because they want to build a highway or a railroad where his home stands, which is the more common reason the government takes peoples' land and homes.  It is because Mr. Kibby is the suspect in the Abigail Hernandez kidnapping case.  Because he is locked up due to high cash bail, there is no one in his home or on his property.  So the state argues, there is no one on the property and there is a lot of media attention and visitors to the property. Therefore, the state has to guard the property, so their argument goes.  An interesting argument since the state generates most media attention in criminal cases.  Now it seems, the home has become a burden for the state to guard.

So the state wants to remove Mr. Kibby's home.  Like many government initiatives, it has been made for Mr. Kibby's own good, so they say.  The state's argument was based the "preservation of evidence" cases of California v. Trombetta and Arizona v. Youngblood that they have to move the home to preserve evidence because the case will take so long to prosecute.  The Supreme Court in Trombetta though, ruled that the state of California's failure to preserve samples of his breath in a DUI prosecution did not violate Trombetta's rights.  And the Youngblood case involved a pair of pants that the state had in its custody that they didn't store properly.  The issue was not that the state of Arizona failed to pick up Youngblood's house and move it.

This, if successful, could spawn a new level of intrusion into the Constitutional rights of people who have been accused of crimes, and who, like Mr. Kibby, maintain their innocence.  The government sought and got such high bail that the accused couldn't make it, then succeeded in keeping most of the alleged evidence against him sealed so that his lawyers can't see it.  Now the government wants Court approval to take the accused's home while he is in jail for his own good.  Oh, and the government's rationale for taking the house relies in part on the sealed information that Mr. Kibby can't see.  Seem fair?

What would James Madison think?

Have a safe night!

Attorney Mark Stevens
Law Offices of Mark Stevens
5 Manor Parkway
Salem, NH 03079

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