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State v. Salimullah

Supreme Court of New Hampshire

January 10, 2020

THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
v.
MOHAMMAD SALIMULLAH

          Argued: October 10, 2019

         Hillsborough-southern judicial district

          Gordon J. MacDonald, attorney general (Susan P. McGinnis, senior assistant attorney general, on the brief and orally), for the State.

          Thomas Barnard, senior assistant appellate defender, of Concord, on the brief and orally, for the defendant.

          HANTZ MARCONI, J.

         A jury convicted the defendant, Mohammad Salimullah, on one count of attempted murder, see RSA 629:1 (2016), two counts of first degree assault, see RSA 631:1, I (2016), one count of second degree assault, see RSA 631:2, I (2016), and one count of reckless conduct, see RSA 631:3, I (2016). He appeals: (1) an order of the Superior Court (Ignatius, J.) denying his motion to dismiss on the grounds that the State failed to comply with RSA 135:17-a (2015) (amended 2019) in bringing indictments against him in 2016; (2) an order of the Superior Court (Smukler, J.) denying his motion for a competency determination prior to sentencing; and (3) an order of the Superior Court (Smukler, J.) imposing a no-contact condition on a stand-committed sentence. We reverse the imposition of the no-contact condition, but otherwise affirm.

         I

         A

         The jury could have found the following facts. The defendant and the victim, S.S., were married in 2007. On the evening of August 12, 2013, the defendant and S.S. discussed S.S.'s desire for a divorce. Later that night or early the next morning, while S.S. was asleep, the defendant attacked her with a knife. After S.S. managed to escape, the defendant sat down on the floor and stabbed himself in the stomach. Both S.S. and the defendant survived, but not without sustaining injuries.

         B

         The defendant was originally indicted in October 2013. Two doctors evaluated his competency to stand trial; both concluded he was not competent. In September 2014, the Superior Court (McGuire, J.) found, by agreement of the parties, that "[t]he defendant is not presently competent," but that his "competency [was] potentially restorable." The court ordered the defendant to undergo treatment for the restoration of competency "at a secure facility," and stated that the defendant "shall be held at the secured facility." In addition, the court stated that "the State shall commence with the procedures set forth in RSA 135-C:34 to have the defendant civilly committed."

         The defendant was civilly committed by the Probate Division of the Circuit Court in October 2014. The civil commitment was to last for a period of up to three years. He was committed to the Secure Psychiatric Unit (SPU) of the New Hampshire State Prison, where he received treatment to restore competency.

         In September 2015, twelve months after the defendant was found incompetent, the Superior Court (Colburn, J.) found that the defendant had not been restored to competency. Accordingly, the court dismissed the defendant's case "without prejudice." Then, in November 2015, the defendant was transferred from the SPU to the New Hampshire State Hospital. Hospital staff began working with him on a discharge plan, which involved housing, medication, and other conditions. Prior to his eventual release from the hospital at the conclusion of his civil commitment, the Hospital planned to grant the defendant increasingly greater privileges, such as the ability to leave the hospital building.

         In January 2016, the State obtained new indictments bringing the same charges that had been dismissed without prejudice four months earlier. The defendant's arraignment on the new indictments was scheduled to take place in February 2016. At the February hearing, the defendant orally moved to dismiss the indictments before arraignment, arguing that the State could not reinitiate criminal proceedings against him unless it demonstrated "that there's reason to believe that he has been restored to competency." The trial court ...


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