CONCORD — The legal brief in the appeal of Christina Fay, the woman convicted last year of 17 counts of animal cruelty, was filed Monday in New Hampshire's Supreme Court.
Fay, 61, was convicted of neglecting roughly 75 Great Danes she owned. Charges said she withheld water and allowed medical conditions to fester in an atmosphere rife with urine and 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 came down 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.
Fay was given a 12-month jail sentence that was suspended for five years, was 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. Dogs that were seized by Wolfeboro police were held in a secret location by the HSUS for 451 days.
On Monday, Fay's attorney for the appeal, Theodore M. Lothstein of Lothstein and Guerriero of Concord filed a 49-page brief that asks the Supreme Court to vacate Fay's convictions, reverse the Superior Court ruling to deny a motion to suppress evidence from the search warrant and remand for further proceedings.
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.
Lothstein asked the Supreme Court for 15 minutes of oral arguments.
On April 3, Supreme Court Clerk Eileen Fox imposed Monday as the deadline for Fay's brief, which was limited to 9,500 words. Fox ordered that the state's brief or memorandum of law be due Aug. 3.
A state Supreme Court flow chart for criminal cases provided by the New Hampshire Judicial Branch says that the appellant (Fay) would have a chance issue a reply brief due 20 days after the response is due. Then the court will review the briefs and determine if 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.