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A criminal defense may be viable for accused former principal

Elderly persons in New Hampshire and elsewhere can commonly become embroiled in fighting the demons of depression and depressive disorder. It may happen to a distinguished public servant or to a homeless person with an affliction of chronic depression. Recently, police in Windham responded to a woman who called to say that her husband was depressed. Before police left the residence, they had arrested the man, who must now determine whether he has a criminal defense to the charges.  

As it turns out, the arrested defendant had been a prominent teacher and former principal. He had served as principal at two New Hampshire high schools from 1994 until his retirement in 2014. He was also the executive director of the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association until 2014. 

Police arrested him for reckless conduct and criminal threatening. They say that he had allegedly discharged a gun in his home before they arrived. It is not presently known if he had been threatening toward his wife or himself, or if in fact he did discharge a gun. The 70-year-old accused former educator was reportedly intoxicated at the time of the events, according to police.

Of course, intoxication is not a defense, but it may, in some instances, be a useful factor to prove the inability to form specific criminal intent. Because the commotion all occurred before the police arrived, their ability to make the charges stick may depend on whether the wife or other eyewitnesses will testify. Based on the sketchy reports now available, he may or may not have fired a shot before police arrived, and if he did, it may have been directed toward no one, toward himself, a third party or perhaps toward his wife. When those facts, and the man's motive, are fleshed out, criminal defense counsel and the accused can discuss what is the most optimal and realistic resolution to the matter.

Source:, "Longtime educator arrested after allegedly firing gun in Windham home", Breanna Edelstein, April 18, 2017

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