County attorney says following Laurie list 'not worth it'
Hillsborough County Attorney Patricia LaFrance has decided against notifying defendants in cases in which John Seusing testified years before he became Nashua's police chief, unlike state prosecutors who recently disclosed his decades-old discipline to three convicted murderers.
"I can't do it. To expend the man-hours to try to even attempt it to me is not worth the taxpayers' money. It would take several attorneys to go through thousands of files," LaFrance said.
Prosecutors have a constitutional obligation to notify defendants of all evidence favorable to them, including police discipline involving dishonesty, according to the state Attorney General.
An August review cleared Seusing of allegations that he was disciplined in the mid-1980s for fabricating a report and providing false testimony. In a news release, the AG's office said its investigation found that Seusing was suspended for 15 days for lying to his superiors in that same case, then corrected himself on his own.
Associate Attorney General Jane Young said it was up to LaFrance to determine whether to disclose the discipline in prior cases prosecuted by the county.
Concord attorney Jim Moir said defendants in cases in which Seusing testified have the right to know even after trial, and even after many years. He suggested she make a public statement telling the defendants that Seusing had a Laurie issue dating back to the mid-1980s that wasn't disclosed as required.
LaFrance countered: "Easy for Jim Moir to say."
Issuing such a statement would likely bring work at her office to a standstill, she said.
But Moir said the defendants have a constitutional right to the information.
"I appreciate her problem. It's a massive task and the reason she is faced with the task is there doesn't seem to be a procedure in place," Moir said.
Moir said if defendants have more than just mere speculation that a particular officer testifying against them had a Laurie issue that wasn't disclosed before trial, they can send a letter asking the prosecutor to investigate, and follow up by filing a motion in court.
LaFrance said police chiefs refer the names of police officers out "of an abundance of caution."
"The Laurie list is not a list of untrustworthy officers," LaFrance said.