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This document is a copy of a decision by the Supreme Court of New Hampshire in the matter of The State of New Hampshire vs. Joel Hungerford (M423) that was rendered on 1 Jul 1997.

The Plaintiff state of New Hampshire sought review of a ruling from a trial court of Hillsborough Northern Judicial District (New Hampshire), which held that the testimonies of two different alleged sexual assault victims were not admissible in criminal prosecutions against two different defendants, one of whom was Joel Hungerford.

The trial court had issued a ruling that the testimonies of two different alleged sexual assault victims (one of whom was Joel Hungerford's daughter, Laura Hungerford (M423c)), were not admissible in the criminal prosecutions. The two cases were consolidated for purposes of addressing the admissibility of the victims' repressed memory testimonies.

On appeal, the court agreed with the trial court that plaintiff state had not shown that the phenomenon of recovering repressed memories had the indicia of reliability as required by N.H. R. Evid. 702. Further, the offered testimony of the victims, even if admitted, could not be understood by the average juror without the assistance of expert testimony. The trial court properly ordered plaintiff to present expert testimony supporting the reliability of the recovered memories.

The court affirmed the trial court's ruling, which held that the testimonies of two different alleged sexual assault victims were not admissible, because the phenomenon of recovering repressed memories was not shown to be reliable. The court remanded for plaintiff state to present expert testimony supporting the reliability of the recovered memories.

Another Supreme Court of New Hampshire decision was rendered on 18 Dec 1998 in a law suit brought by Joel Hungerford against the therapist who had treated his daughter Laura. A copy of that court opinion also has been placed here in the Library.

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