NH Judges Discuss Criminal Justice Hot Topics With PSU Students

June, 2009

A distinguished panel of judges from across New Hampshire gathered at PSU in February for a discussion of issues facing the state and federal judicial systems. Steven McAuliffe, chief judge of the federal district court of New Hampshire, spoke to a standing-room-only audience in Heritage Hall about the federal system of sentencing guidelines, leading into a discussion with panelists William Batchelder, retired New Hampshire Supreme Court justice; Timothy Vaughan, New Hampshire superior court judge; and Edwin Kelly, head administrative judge in New Hampshire district court.

Discussing the number of citizens currently in jail in the United States—recent figures show one in 100 adults is incarcerated—the judges called for creativity and balance in the penal system. Batchelder raised the stakes even higher, citing the famous judicial standard that “the harm to be perceived defines the duty to be obeyed.” According to the retired justice, “We have a lot of people in prison—too many—and we need to decide why people should really be there.”

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