SW Legal studies in Business

Lying About Presence of Person Sought by Police Not Grounds for Conviction
Description

New Hampshire high court held that to lie to police about the presence of a person they are seeking is not sufficient to convict that person for the crime of harboring or concealing another. There must be an active act, such as physically hiding the person sought by police, for a conviction to hold.

Topic Criminal Law
Key Words

Harboring or Concealing; Conviction

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Gladys Durgin was convicted for hindering apprehension or prosecution by harboring or concealing another. When police went to her house with a warrant for her daughter, Durgin denied that she was there when in fact she was. The police left. The daughter was arrested an hour later and Durgin was prosecuted. She appealed her conviction.

Decision

Reversed. Convicting a defendant of harboring or concealing another requires proof of a physical act of assistance beyond merely lying in response to police inquiries about the whereabouts of another person. The lies Durgin told the police in response to their questions about her daughter were not sufficient to convict Durgin of harboring or concealing her daughter despite the existence of an arrest warrant that Durgin was shown. Conviction under federal statute requires an affirmative physical action by the defendant, such as hiding the person sought by police.

Citation

State v. Durgin, 959 A.2d 196 (Sup. Ct., NH, 2008)

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