By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — A felon who was recently found with two guns in his possession has agreed to plead guilty to one count of felon in possession of a deadly weapon, and has accepted a suspended sentence of 3 ½ to 7 years in prison.
Steven Moy, 29, of or formerly of 398 Elm St. in Laconia, also agreed to two years probation in lieu of going to trial.
In exchange, Belknap County Prosecutor Melissa Guldbrandsen agreed to drop a second charge of being a felon in possession of a deadly weapon and one charge of receiving stolen property, which was for one of the handguns.
Moy was recently charged with the crimes after his parole officer looked into his cell phone and found a picture of a handgun. The parole officer looked into the phone because Moy had admitted to using methamphetamine and was being sent back to jail for seven days as punishment.
Instead of jail, Moy was supposed to go to an in-house program for the seven days, but when he failed to report to his parole officer before entering the program, the parole officer went looking for him.
After finding a picture of the gun, the parole officer, in the course of two successive interviews, was able to learn the locations of the guns from Moy, which were confiscated.
The problem came when the parole officer and the county attorney learned that because of a clerical error within the Department of Correction, Moy was not on parole any longer, even though both he and his parole officer thought he was.
Moy's attorney's argued that because he wasn't on parole, the officer had no right to examine his phone without probable cause and a warrant, and that during the subsequent interview Moy was not given his Miranda warning against self-incrimination.
Guldbransen argued that the parole officer and the Belknap County sheriff's deputy who accompanied him to Moy's home for safety reasons to recover the guns were acting in good faith because, at the time, everyone involved believed he was on parole.
She said Friday that in her research, she found a federal clause allowing parole and police officers to act in good faith for some matters regarding interviews and seizures. She said in New Hampshire the good-faith exception is sometimes applied and in other instances not applied, so she said an agreement is in the best interests of the parties involved and would spare the state some valuable time in hearings and a possible trial.
Moy has two weeks to decide if he wants to stick to the agreement or take his chances at trial.
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