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State v. Michaud

Supreme Court of New Hampshire

January 16, 2007

State of New Hampshire
v.
Chelsea Michaud

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

The State appeals an order of the trial court dismissing the resisting arrest and simple assault charges filed against the defendant, Chelsea Michaud. We reverse and remand.

On appeal, the State does not contest that the arresting officer's warrantless entry into the defendant's home and warrantless arrest of the defendant for driving offenses were unlawful. The only issue presented by the State is whether the trial court erroneously suppressed evidence relevant to the resisting arrest and simple assault charges, offenses committed after the arresting officer's entry, and then dismissed those charges.

Even if we assume that the exclusionary rule would apply in this case, it would bar only evidence recovered from an illegal search or seizure. See State v. Beauchesne , 151 N.H. 803, 817 (2005). The exclusionary rule does not bar the admission of evidence if the police had an independent source for the evidence that is untainted by their conduct. Id.

RSA 642:2 (1996) provides that a person is guilty of a misdemeanor when he or she knowingly or purposely physically interferes with a law enforcement officer seeking to arrest that person regardless of whether there is a legal basis for the arrest. See also RSA 594:5 (2001).

The defendant argues that because the arresting officer unlawfully entered her home, she was entitled to exercise her common law right to resist an unlawful arrest. As a preliminary matter, we note that the record contains no evidence that the defendant resisted arrest or committed simple assault because she knew the officer's entry was unlawful. More importantly, as we have previously noted, the legislature has enacted statutes which bar this action. See State v. Haas , 134 N.H. 480, 484-85 (1991) (if person believes arrest is unlawful proper forum to resolve issue is court). Those statutes make no distinction as to the situs of the illegal arrest. Because the defendant's actions were not derivative from illegal conduct by the arresting officer, it was error to suppress evidence of her resisting arrest and assault and to dismiss the charges.

See State v. Holler , 123 N.H. 195, 199-200 (1983) (explaining independent source rule).

Reversed and remanded.

DUGGAN, GALWAY and HICKS, JJ., ...


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