It's A Civil Matter!

by Tom Suteliffe

I don't know if you have experienced this or not, but likely you will.  When you ask your local police to enforce a civil law of some sort, for trespass or such, and they advise you that "It's a civil matter, you''ll have to get a court order!" Does this ring a bell?  Have you heard this before?  It seems that this is the way to pass the buck of inaction.  It seems that this virus has infected the entire municiple police forces statewide.  Not only that, but the Sheriff's departments as well don't enforce civil law .  In fact you can't get any civil laws enforced in New Hampshire by anyone.  Why, because they only enforce criminal law!  

But wait, now you go to court and get an order..... but they still won't enforce the order..... why, because the order doesn't state specifially how they are to enforce the court's order!  I guess this is their way  of looking out for the public by keeping down your tax rate for their services.  Can you believe it?  Well, that's the way it is.  There are no laws on the books presently, that specifically state who is to enforce any of the civil laws!  Most citizens think that the police are there to enforce the laws, but they aren't.  They are there to enforce criminal law only.  Same goes for the Sheriff's Department. 

Now, is your chance to help change this.  The Criminal Justice & Public Safety Committe is conducting hearings to rectify this.  If you have had any of the aforementioned experiences with enforcement of civil law in New Hampshire, they want to hear from you.  HB 187 is an act establishing a study committee to determine which law enforcement agencies are responsible for enforcing civil judgements.  The hearing will be in Room #204 in the Legislators' Office Building in Concord January 30th, 2007 @ 1:00pm.  Your input will help to correct this untenable condition.  Remember, be civil!