fay

Christina Fay is seen in Carroll County Superior Court in 2018. (DAYMOND STEER PHOTO)

CONCORD — The New Hampshire Attorney General has filed a legal brief in the appeal of Christina Fay, the former Wolfeboro woman convicted last year in Carroll County Superior Court of 17 counts of animal cruelty.

Fay, 61, was convicted of neglecting roughly 75 Great Danes she owned. Charges said she withheld water and allowed giardia to fester in an atmosphere rife with feces. Most of the charges pertained to specific dogs or groups of dogs. The Great Danes had been kept in and on the property of her Wolfeboro mansion.

After her sentencing on June 14, 2018, in Carroll Superior, Fay, through attorney Kent Barker of Winer and Bennett of Nashua, told Judge Amy Ignatius she would be appealing to the state Supreme Court. Most of the sentence was stayed until that appeal winds its way through the court system.

Fay was given a 12-month jail sentence that was suspended for five years, fined about $50,000 and ordered to pay almost $2 million in restitution to The Humane Society of the United States and about $18,700 to the town of Wolfeboro. She also was required to participate in counseling.

During her trials, dogs seized by Wolfeboro police were held in a secret location by the HSUS for 451 days.

On June 3, Fay's attorney for the appeal, Theodore M. Lothstein of Lothstein and Guerriero of Concord, filed a 49-page brief.

The gist of Lothstein's argument is that Fay's rights to privacy were violated by the seizure. Lothstein said evidence from that seizure should be thrown out because the police allowed the HSUS to participate in the execution of the warrant without judicial approval and that the HSUS used evidence from the scene for its own fundraising purposes.

He asked the high court to vacate Fay's convictions, reverse the Superior Court's ruling on the motion to suppress and send the case back down to Superior.

Lothstein asked the Supreme Court for 15 minutes of oral arguments.

The Attorney General's Office had an Aug. 2 deadline in which to file its brief but was granted extensions that brought the deadline to Tuesday.

The 48-page brief for the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office was written by Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan P. McInnis. She also asked the Supreme Court for 15 minutes of oral arguments and to affirm Fay's convictions.

In the brief, she responds to Lothstein's arguments.

Among her points are:

• Part I, Article 19 (of the state constitution) does not require the police to get the magistrate’s authorization to bring civilians into a private home or to allow them to use the evidence for their own purposes because doing so is unnecessary to protect a defendant’s rights.

• The State’s agreement to allow the HSUS to use the evidence for publicity and fundraising did not violate the defendant’s right to privacy because she had no such right.

A state Supreme Court flow chart for criminal cases provided by the New Hampshire Judicial Branch says the appellant (Fay) would have a chance to issue a reply brief due 20 days after the response is filed.

The court will then review the briefs and determine whether oral arguments are needed or if the court can decide on briefs alone.

If oral arguments are held, an opinion or order would be issued two to six months later.

Documents related to the Fay case, including the briefs, can be found on the New  Hampshire Judicial Branch's website. To view them go to tinyurl.com/Fay-case.

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