Argued: September 14, 2016
A. Foster, attorney general (Peter Hinckley, senior assistant
attorney general, on the brief and orally), for the State.
Christopher M. Johnson, chief appellate defender, of Concord,
on the brief and orally, for the defendant.
defendant, William Edic, appeals his conviction, following a
jury trial in Superior Court (McNamara, J.), on one
count of second degree murder and one count of falsifying
physical evidence. See RSA 630:1-b, I(b) (2016); RSA
641:6, I (2016). On appeal, the defendant challenges various
evidentiary rulings made at trial. We affirm.
record supports the following facts. The charges against the
defendant stem from events occurring on July 26, 2010, at the
New Hampshire State Prison where the defendant and the victim
were then incarcerated. The second degree murder indictment
alleged that the defendant, acting in concert with and aided
by another inmate, Thomas Milton, "recklessly cause[d]
the death of [the victim] under circumstances manifesting an
extreme indifference to the value of human life by striking
[the victim] repeatedly in the head and face areas." The
falsifying physical evidence indictment alleged that the
defendant, acting in concert with and aided by Milton and/or
others, "believing that an official law enforcement
investigation into the . . . attack on [the victim] was about
to be instituted, destroyed, concealed, and/or removed items,
to wit, blood evidence and cleaning materials, including
towels and similar cloths, with a purpose to impair their
availability in such investigation." After a trial, the
jury found the defendant guilty on both counts.
appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred in
prohibiting him from: (1) introducing three audio recordings
of telephone calls made by other inmates at the New Hampshire
State Prison; (2) questioning another inmate about that
inmate's prison disciplinary history; and (3) calling
certain correctional officers to testify at trial. The
defendant asserts that the trial court erroneously relied
upon New Hampshire Rule of Evidence 608(b) in excluding the
three audio recordings, and that the exclusion of the
recordings violated his state and federal constitutional
rights to due process, confrontation, and to present all
proofs favorable. See N.H. CONST. pt. I, art. 15;
U.S. CONST. amends. V, VI, XIV. As to the other inmate's
prison disciplinary history, the defendant challenges the
trial court's rulings that the inmate's disciplinary
history was beyond the scope of redirect examination, and
that the inmate did not open the door to his disciplinary
record. With respect to the correctional officers'
testimony, the defendant contends that the trial court
misapplied Rule 608(b) in excluding the officers'
testimony, and, alternatively, that the State opened the door
initial matter, the State asserts that a number of the
defendant's arguments are not preserved. Specifically,
the State argues that: (1) the defendant's Rule 608(b)
argument is not preserved as it relates to the first two
audio recordings; (2) the defendant's constitutional
arguments relating to the recordings are not preserved; and
(3) the defendant's Rule 608(b) argument is not preserved
as it relates to the correctional officers' testimony.
general rule in this jurisdiction is that a contemporaneous
and specific objection is required to preserve an issue for
appellate review." State v. Blackmer, 149 N.H.
47, 48 (2003) (quotation omitted). "This rule, which is
based on common sense and judicial economy, recognizes that
trial forums should have an opportunity to rule on issues and
to correct errors before they are presented to the appellate
court." Id. (quotation omitted).
upon our review of the record, we conclude that the defendant
failed to preserve the following arguments: (1) his argument
that the trial court erroneously applied Rule 608(b) to
preclude him from introducing the second recording; (2) his
constitutional arguments relating to the first and second
recordings; and (3) his due process argument relating to the
third recording. Because the record demonstrates that the
defendant did not raise these arguments in the trial court,
they are not preserved for our review. We, accordingly,
decline to consider these arguments in the first instance on
appeal. See id.; see also State v.
Alexander, 143 N.H. 216, 220 (1998) (determining that
defendant's constitutional argument not preserved for
appellate review where defendant did not specifically assert
constitutional challenge before trial court).
conclude that the defendant's remaining arguments are
preserved, and consider the following issues in turn: (1) the
defendant's evidentiary arguments relating to the third
audio recording; (2) the defendant's argument that
exclusion of the third recording violated his state and
federal constitutional rights to confrontation and to present
all proofs favorable; and (3) collectively, the
defendant's evidentiary arguments relating to the
exclusion of the first recording, the limitation of
cross-examination of an inmate about his prison disciplinary
history, and the exclusion of the correctional officers'
Exclusion of Third Recording - Evidentiary Argument
third audio recording is of a conversation between State
witness William Morel, an inmate at the New Hampshire State
Prison whose testimony implicated the defendant in the July
26, 2010 incident, and an investigator. The defendant sought
to admit this recording at trial to demonstrate that Morel
received a benefit-specifically, a reduction in his inmate
classification-in exchange for providing ...