NH Supreme Court upholds convictions in 2 fatals
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- New Hampshire's Supreme Court on Friday upheld the convictions of a motorist who ran a red light on a mission to buy heroin and killed two men in Dover.
The U.S. Supreme Court last year vacated the manslaughter and reckless homicide convictions of Anthony Dilboy, of Rochester, on constitutional grounds and sent the case back to the state Supreme Court.
The state court, which upheld Dilboy's convictions during a prior challenge, did not change its mind Friday, citing a lack of a sufficient record to review the case.
Appellate defender Stephanie Hausman, who argued Dilboy's case before the state Supreme Court, said her office could file a motion with the state court to reconsider.
"It could go up to the U.S. Supreme Court again," she said. "There's another route of federal appeals to go to the district court in New Hampshire." But she said a decision hasn't been reached yet. "It would be something we would see Mr. Dilboy's input on and be guided by that."
Dilboy was convicted in the March 2006 crash that killed 34-year-old Marc Vachon and his 17-year-old nephew, Alexander Bean. He was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison and remains incarcerated.
Dilboy, 53, told officers at the scene that he was a heroin addict and had taken drugs that morning to ease withdrawal symptoms. He was en route to Portsmouth to buy heroin when the accident happened, prosecutors said. After the accident, Dilboy gave blood and urine samples.
In appealing the convictions, Dilboy's lawyer argued his client's constitutional rights were violated because lab evidence of drugs in his system was presented at trial by someone other than the forensic analyst who performed the tests.
In vacating Dilboy's convictions, the U.S. Supreme Court cited a ruling it had issued in a New Mexico case that mirrored Dilboy's claim. In that case, the court vacated a man's aggravated drunken driving conviction because he was denied his right at trial to confront and cross-examine the lab analyst who tested his blood. New Mexico prosecutors called a different analyst to testify about the report on the test results.
When Dilboy went to trial, Michael Wagner, a toxicology lab supervisor, testified that trace amounts of multiple drugs were detected in Dilboy's blood and urine. Wagner was not the analyst who performed the tests, however.
In its ruling Friday, the state court studied the New Mexico case ruling and looked at previous rulings by the judge who presided over Dilboy's trial.
The state court said no formal forensic report regarding Dilboy was admitted during trial, just Wagner's testimony about "blood test results." The justices also said that while they know Wagner had his data file with him, they don't know whether his testimony was based upon his own understanding of the tests or whether he was reading or conveying the findings of others.
"If Wagner's statements at trial about the `results' of the tests were based upon his own review of raw data, such as graphic or numerical computer printouts, his statements may not have been a violation" of the constitution, the state court said.
"However, if at trial Wagner was merely repeating a non-testifying analyst's statement of the `results,' his testimony at trial might have been" a violation. But there is no factual record to support Dilboy's case, the state court said.
The court would be forced to speculate about what documents Wagner's testimony was based on or assume he conveyed someone else's findings. It would then have to speculate about whether Wagner's opinion was independent.
"Under the circumstances, we see no way to resolve the issue based upon such speculation," the justices wrote.