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NH Supreme Court reject's Addison appeal to remove AG's prosecuting team

New Hampshire Union Leader

March 07. 2014 9:42AM

CONCORD - The New Hampshire Supreme Court rejected a defense motion to disqualify the Attorney General's Office from handling the appeal of Michael Addison, the state's only death row convict, because the office hired an attorney who previously worked on his appeal.

In a nine-page, unanimous decision the state's top court denied the request for the removal of all prosecutors with the Attorney General's Office and the appointment of a special prosecutor.

Addison's lawyers maintained former public defender Lisa Wolford - who worked on Addison's appeal in 2009 - took a confidential document with her when she became an appellate lawyer with the Attorney General's Office in 2012.

According to the decision, Wolford brought electronic files related to the Addison case with her when she joined the Attorney General's Office on July 6, 2012. She downloaded those files to her "H:/drive," a personal network file not accessible by anyone other than Wolford and system administrators. She later removed the files from the network, transferring them to a thumb drive which was secured.

Affidavits from prosecutors working on the appeal, as well as from employees of the Office of Information Technology, all attested that none of the limited number of people with the authority to access Wolford's "H:/drive" did so, according to the decision.

The five prosecutors working on the appeal, as well as other employees in the Attorney General's Office, also signed affidavits indicating they had not discussed the Addison case with Wolford.

Addison was convicted of capital murder for shooting Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs in the head in October 2006, killing him. Briggs was attempted to arrest Addison who was wanted for a string of robberies.

The Supreme Court upheld his capital murder conviction last November.

Defense attorneys, in asking that a special prosecutor be assigned, contended the state may have accessed key defense strategies and privileged documents when it recruited Wolford to work in the office in July 2012.

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