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Correctional officer claims duress in face of drug charges

People commit crimes for various reasons. Some may seek personal gain, and others may know no other way of life. However, sometimes a person engages in an illegal act because he or she believes there is no choice, especially if the accused feels the threat of bodily harm. One New Hampshire correctional officer who is facing drug charges says his conduct was due to duress.

If someone accused of a crime can prove that another party used threats to force him or her to commit the crime, a court might excuse the acts. While no details of the defense strategy have been released, the accused correctional officer is claiming such duress occurred during the nearly two years he worked at the jail. Within that time, prison officials became aware that drugs were allegedly being smuggled to inmates. Although one officer has been arrested, officials say they believe the problem is more wide spread.

More motorcycle accidents occur in the summer

Summer in New Hampshire is breathtaking. After long, often brutal winters, the rising temperatures and clearing skies bring people outdoors ready to shed their winter coats and enjoy the warmth of the sun. For motorcycle enthusiasts, summer often means tuning up the bike and hitting the road. However, despite all its beauty and allure, summer is also the time for an alarming increase in motorcycle accidents.

Auto insurance companies keep records of accident statistics and use the data to promote safe driving. Years of study show that summer brings a steep rise in motorcycle accidents due to a variety of factors. In some cases, the roads are in poor condition following extreme weather conditions of the past winter. Ice and salt create potholes and crumbling asphalt, which can be disastrous to a biker.

Felonies: Man charged with attempted murder in alleged attack

In New Hampshire and all other states, it is basic in our system of criminal law that an accused is protected by the presumption of innocence until and unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This applies to misdemeanors as well as felonies, and it is mandatory even where guilt may appear to be overwhelming. This is necessary to assure that everyone is treated fairly and not deprived of their freedom without substantial proof presented in a court of law.

These rules apply to all criminal arrests in the state, including the recent arrest of a 54-year-old man for two counts of attempted murder arising from an alleged attack on two women at a Fitzwilliam address. The New Hampshire State Police had issued the attempted murder warrants against the accused after the two women reportedly suffered serious injuries and were taken to hospitals for treatment. The details of what happened are sketchy, and it is not known if the accused knew the women or if they were strangers.

Liability in car accidents is determined by who was negligent

Negligence in New Hampshire and other jurisdictions usually consists of actions that represent a breach of a legal duty owed to others under the circumstances. The duty exists and evolves through the statutory and case law in each state. The negligence, and the breach of the duty owed, is created by engaging in actions that fall below a recognized minimum required standard of care under the circumstances. With respect to car accidents, each new incident must be evaluated by its own facts to determine whether there is a duty owed, and if so, whether a participant's activities were in fact negligent.

In car accidents, whether a legal duty is owed is not usually an issue. Operators of vehicles on the roads and highways owe a duty of due care to each other. The real analysis occurs when determining the existence of negligence and to what extent, if any, that each driver was at fault in causing the accident.

Motorcycle accidents often include chain-reaction outcomes

The general rule in New Hampshire and elsewhere is that the tortfeasor, i.e., the wrongdoer, is monetarily liable for all damages that flow directly from his or her negligence. Motorcycle accidents often include bizarre or unforeseen events that may cloud the picture of which participants are in fact partly or fully at fault. That does not mean that the motorcyclist is always part of the cause of such accidents: sometimes the motorcycle operator is a totally innocent victim.

That kind of an accident occurred recently in Manchester at Granite and Elm Streets in the middle of the afternoon. A resident jumped on the hood of a car that was stopped at a traffic light. The driver intentionally or inadvertently hit the gas pedal and rammed into a stopped motorcycle in front of him.

Fault in chain-reaction car accidents depends on circumstances

Chain-reaction crashes can sometimes present difficult problems of determining liability, or the percentage of liability, owed by each operator under New Hampshire law. In some car accidents involving chain-reactions, the first operator that causes the chain-reaction will be solely responsible for all ensuing injuries. Each mishap will depend on the facts of negligence occurring in the circumstances.

A chain-reaction occurred on Interstate 93 recently in the southbound lanes between exits 14 and 13. A small car hit a deer on at about 1:15 p.m. and then was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer, per the New Hampshire State Police. A vehicle behind the tractor-trailer was also struck by another vehicle.

Common causes of motorcycle accidents

When you look at causes of motorcycle-car accidents, you see some commonalities with car-car accident causes. That is, factors such as speeding and driver inexperience can cause a crash no matter the vehicle being driven.

However, there are some factors that cause motorcycle accidents way more heavily than they do car accidents. Here is a glance at some.

Drivers owe a duty to their passengers to prevent car accidents

New Hampshire law provides that one who suffers personal injury due to the negligence of another deserves to be compensated for those injuries by the careless tortfeasor. There must generally first be a legal duty owed by the careless person to the injured person to get the benefit of the rule. The rules of negligence generally govern the award of personal injury compensation to victims of car accidents.

For example, the operator of a motor vehicle owes a duty not only to other vehicle operators, passengers and pedestrians who are on the roadways but also to any passengers in that operator's own vehicle. In a recent incident, an 18-year-old woman died when the car in which she was riding as a passenger went off the road and crashed in Ossipee. It hit multiple trees and rolled over before coming to a stop.

Motorcycle accidents: More unpredictable than other vehicles

In New Hampshire and elsewhere, it may be said that motorcycle mishaps are just a bit more unpredictable and varied than other vehicular accidents. That may be due to the versatility and extra maneuverability of these smaller vehicles, which may allow for a greater variety of outcomes. Generally, the operator is in greater peril on the highway due to being fully exposed, which accounts for serious injuries and deaths in many motorcycle accidents.

One operator of a motorcycle was fortunate to survie an accident on Route 101 near exit 3 westbound, according to New Hampshire State Police. The cyclist  was driving behind an SUV that had a mattress tied to the roof. The mattress came loose and flew off the roof, striking the motorcycle.

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