This week the NH State Supreme Court issued a ruling in a case involving a registered sex offender who created an online account using his real name. The State brought charges that he had not reported, “any changes to an existing online identifier, or the creation of any new online identifier,” but he had used his real name as he had in the past. The Supreme Court reversed his conviction based on the definition of the word “user.”
Here is the relevant part of the ruling:
We agree with the State that a Myspace account constitutes an “online
identifier” under RSA 651-B:4-a. As noted, we first turn to the statute’s plain language. The relevant definition of “user” is “[o]ne who uses a computer, computer program, or online service.” American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language 1908 (5th ed. 2011); see Webster’s Third New International Dictionary 2524 (unabridged ed. 2002) (“one that uses”).
If one looks up the uncomplicated and ancient term “DOMICILE” in the same dictionary the NH State Supreme Court used in reversing this conviction, American Heritage Dictionary, in this case, here is the relevant definition of “domicile”:
1. A residence; a home.
2. One's legal residence.
And again in, Webster’s Third New International Dictionary:
1: a dwelling place : place of residence : home
2 a: a person's fixed, permanent, and principal home for legal purposes, b: residence 2b
Black’s Law Dictionary has a spot on definition of “domicile” as well:
That place in which a man has voluntarily fixed the habitation of himself and family, not for a mere special or temporary purpose, but with the present intention of making a permanent home, until some unexpected event shall occur to induce him to adopt some other permanent home. In re Garneau, 127 Fed. G77, 02 C. C. A. 403.In its ordinary acceptation, a person’s domicile is the place where he lives or has his home. In a strict and legal sense, that is properly the domicile of a person where he has his true, fixed, permanent home and principal establishment, and to which, whenever he is absent, he has the intention of returning. Anderson v. Anderson, 42 Vt. 350, 1Am. Rep. 334.Domicile is but the established, fixed, permanent, or ordinary dwelling-place or place of residence of a person, as distinguished from his temporary and transient, though actual, place of residence. It is his legal residence, as distinguished from his temporary place of abode; or his home, as distinguished from a place to which business or pleasure may temporarily call him. Salem v. Lyme, 29 Conn. 74.Domicile is the place where a person has fixed his habitation and has a permanent residence, without any present intention of removing there from. Crawford v. Wilson, 4 Barb. (N. Y.) 504, 520. _One’s domicile is the place where one’s family permanently resides. Daniel v. Sullivan, 40 Ga. 277.
NH’s Constitution is quite clear:
[Art.] 11. [Elections and Elective Franchises.] All elections are to be free, and every inhabitant of the state of 18 years of age and upwards shall have an equal right to vote in any election. Every person shall be considered an inhabitant for the purposes of voting in the town, ward, or unincorporated place where he has his domicile.
This past election saw thousands upon thousands of voters using a recent Superior Court re-interpretation of “domicile” to create a new type of voter called a “mobile domiciliary” or one who resides in another state but is domiciled in NH simply for voting purposes.
Soon, the NH State Supreme Court will have to hear the case of mobile domiciled – non-resident voters who are subject to income taxes in their home state but get to vote on a Constitutional Amendment to ban an income tax in NH.
What do you think they will do?