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True facts will frame criminal defense in reckless conduct case

Defense counsel will often have to contend with two or more different versions of the events surrounding an alleged crime. The correct version of the facts must always be an object of criminal defense counsel's investigation due to the importance of the facts in fashioning a strong defense. The facts are also important in a guilty plea because they may assist the court in determining an appropriate sentence pursuant to New Hampshire law.

For example, in the recent arrest of a 19-year-old man by the Nashua police, it appears that at least three different factual scenarios were provided to the authorities. The arrest concerned the suspect's alleged shooting of a 15-year-old boy in the forearm. Apparently, the shooter and the victim were friends and while handling a gun, the accused may have shot the victim.

The police charged him with felony reckless conduct and falsifying physical evidence. The victim received hospital treatment but is released and recovering. He first told police that a man who was trying to steal his backpack shot him. The victim changed that story while at the hospital, saying that the gun went off while the defendant was handing it to the him.

The defendant allegedly told police that a group of teens were smoking marijuana at the victim's apartment and that they were playing with the guns. He allegedly reported that he had an argument with the victim and that the victim tried to cut him with a knife. He stated that the gun went off during a struggle with the victim, per police records.

Criminal defense counsel will first try to obtain an accurate version of the facts. A police report indicates that this was a "negligent discharge" due to "reckless handling" of the weapon. It appears that the defendant's version of events is likely the most accurate, but that conclusion will depend on counsel's further investigation.  Pursuant to New Hampshire law, it appears likely that the defendant did not act with criminal intent, which may be the main factual point to be stressed by the defense in negotiating a just resolution.

Source: unionleader.com, "Man arrested in shooting of 15-year-old in Nashua", Kimberly Houghton, Nov. 14, 2016

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