2004 Spring, 67. $1,326.82 - $431,369.23 - $798,641.17 - $45,842,627 What's This Got To Do With Justice.

AuthorBy Mark Thompson, Director of Administration

New Hampshire Bar Journal


2004 Spring, 67.

$1,326.82 - $431,369.23 - $798,641.17 - $45,842,627 What's This Got To Do With Justice

New Hampshire Bar JournalSpring 2004, Volume 45, Number 1$1,326.82 - $431,369.23 - $798,641.17 - $45,842,627 What's This Got To Do With Justice?By Mark Thompson, Director of AdministrationSince the creation of the Department of Justice in 1986, the Department has continued to be assigned a variety of tasks as a public service to the citizens of New Hampshire. Each of the sums above represents programs that benefit our citizens. These are all part of the Department of Justice that few people know.


In 2000, the Legislature enacted an Address Confidentiality Program that allowed individuals, who feared for their safety due to domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault, to apply to the Department for a mailing address to be used by them essentially as a "cover" address to hide their true location from all individuals who present a threat to them. All correspondence, notices, or bills would be mailed to this address. As the address only exists in cooperation with postal authorities and is picked up by this office, a person who intercepts these mailings would not be able to physically locate the person to whom the letter was sent. We currently have 23 families (55 total people) who have applied for, been accepted, and currently use this program. On a daily basis, all first class mail forwarded to this fictitious address is collected and remailed to the correct address. Since the beginning of the program, the Department has forwarded over 3,500 individual pieces of mail at a cost of over $1,326.


Each day in New Hampshire, someone will become the victim of a violent crime. As a result of that victimization, they will be faced with paying for something - a medical bill, prescription, mental health therapy, for example. Sometime they just don't have the money for these services. That's when the Victim Compensation Program at the Department of Justice comes in. Created in 1990, this program assists innocent victims of violent crime with these unexpected, out of pocket, costs. To be eligible for consideration, the person must sustain personal injury from either a felony or misdemeanor, including driving under the influence, and have at least $100 in out-of-pocket costs.

There is no typical victim. They can be young or old; male or female; rich or poor. Unfortunately, the single largest class of victims served by this program are children who have been victims of sexual assaults and who need mental health counseling. In addition to the small administrative staff who process these claims, each claim is reviewed on a monthly basis by a volunteer board, the Victims Assistance Commission. This Board consists of an emergency room physician, a dentist, a mental health counselor, a lawyer, and a person who has been a victim. These individuals are nominated by the Attorney General and approved by the Governor and Executive Council. This program is supported by the Penalty Assessment Fund - the 20% addition to violations and criminal fines - and by federal funds. No state general funds are used. In the last fiscal year, 310 victims were supported by this program with reimbursement awards totaling $431,369.23.

There is a limit of $10,000 to award for each victim. Some victims can reach this amount very quickly with lost wages or funeral expenses. Other victims are supported for several years with co-pays on mental health therapy or prescription medications. Regardless of the cost, victimization is a tragic event for any individual. This program is aimed at making a difference as a victim pulls their life back together.


Each time a witness appears for the State of New Hampshire in any criminal case in any state court, that witness is afforded a witness...

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