Attorney General steps into Laconia methampetamine case


CONCORD — After all of the evidence in a case against a Laconia man who allegedly had a half of a pound of methamphetamine in his possession was disallowed by a Belknap County Superior Court judge, the state Attorney General has asked the state's highest court for a review.

Attorney General Joseph Foster is challenging the court's determination that the inventory search of the car Peter Dauphin, 42, of Appleton Street was driving in late April of 2015 was not justified, so the evidence found and subsequent statements made could not be used against him.

Foster has asked the Supreme Court to determine Judge Peter Fauver erred when he found Laconia Police conducted a warrantless search of the car. That's because the car never was going to be in police custody, but instead was towed to Dauphin's home about 200 feet away.

Foster is also challenging the court's determination that the search violated Dauphin's constitutional rights because it didn't serve "any important non-investigative government interests."

The Laconia Police towing policy, which is similar to, if not exactly like, other police departments' towing policies, says that vehicles being taken into police custody or that are towed at the request of the police are subject to a non-investigative search so as to protect the police against false claims of theft and to protect the car's driver against theft or damage by either the police or the tow company.

In this case, the court suppressed the discovery of methamphetamine in the car because Dauphin arranged the tow directly with the tow company and paid them to take the car to his home.

The Attorney General is also asking the high court to review the court's exclusion of Dauphin's statements to the police that he had additional methamphetamine in his home. These statements were made to the police after his arrest and Fauver suppressed them under the "fruits of the poisonous tree doctrine," which means that if he had not been arrested he never would have made the statements.
Foster argues that police obtained a warrant for the search of his home.

The case is currently on hold at the Belknap County Superior Court until the Supreme Court rules on the suppression issues.

At the time Dauphin was arrested, police determined the plates to his car belongs to a man who had sold the car to Dauphin and confiscated them, leading to the tow. Dauphin asked police if he could tow the car to his house and police agreed that they didn't need to impound it. After speaking with a duty sergeant, the officers did an inventory search and found about half ounce of methamphetamine in a sunglass holder-type bag under the front seat. After he was read his Miranda Rights and arrested, Dauphin allegedly told police there was more methamphetamine in his home and where they could find it.

Gilmanton crash on Route 106 sends one man to hospital

GILMANTON — An older man was taken to Concord Hospital by ambulance Friday after he crashed into a car that was in the breakdown lane on Route 106.

Police said there were two vehicles in the breakdown lane. One had broken down earlier in the morning and the people in second car stopped behind it were relatives of the driver of the first car who had come to help.

The crash happened around 3:30 p.m.

"Fortunately, all of the people who were out of their cars were near the first car and not in the second one," said Sgt. Casey Brennan.

He said the man continued to drive several hundred feet before he went off the road again.

Traffic was slowed through the area, which is very busy with the NASCAR race weekend at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but he said it kept moving because of the assistance of Gilford, Belmont and the New Hampshire State Police.

Brennan said the crash is still under investigation but said it is likely medical issues were the primary cause. No one else was injured.

– Gail Ober

Laconia Country Club’s Chris Houston playing for NH Amateur title


LACONIA — Gilford's Chris Houston will play for the 113th State Amateur Golf Championship trophy Saturday at his home course, the Laconia Country Club. Houston will face off against Matt Paradis in a 36-hole match that will tee-off at 7 a.m.
Houston, 22, played his way into the final with a come-from-behind 2-up win over Ryan Kohler, who plays out of the Hooper Golf Club in Walpole.
Earlier in the day, Houston won his quarterfinal round match against Damon Salo of the Brentwood Golf Club, 4 and 2.
Tilton's Jim Cilley, the 20111 State Amateur champion, also earned a spot in the semi-finals with a 4 and 3 morning win over Jamie Ferullo of the Rochester Country Club. Cilley, who plays out of the Ridgewood Country Club in Moultonborough, did not fare as well in the afternoon, however, falling to Concord Country Club's Paradis, 3 and 2.
Houston fell into a two-down hole against Kohler after the same number of holes. Kohler birdied the first and then Houston three-putted the par 5 second for a bogey.
Houston finally caught up on the driveable par 4 15th hole, chipping within inches from just off the green for a kick-in birdie. The two young men halved the par 3 16th with pars, with Houston's coming on a downhill 10-foot putt.
Both players were just off the green in two on the par 5 17th but Houston was able to get up and down for a birdie and Kohler was not.
Needing to win the 18th to extend the match, Kohler was long with his approach shot and conceded the hole and the match when his mile-long putt ran well past the hole.
"I was two down most of the day. It was a tough match. But knowing how the greens play was a big help in getting to a tie and winning the last two holes," Houston said.
Houston will play golf at the University of Rhode Island, where he will be a graduate student. He has already graduated from Penn State, but has a year of NCAA eligibility left.
Paradis lives in Hooksett and is a member of the Southern New Hampshire University golf team.
Houston has played Laconia Country Club since he was 13 years old and played in the State Amateur "eight or nine times" by his own count. In 2009 he was honored by the New Hampshire Golf Association as Junior Player of the Year. He has also qualified for the U.S. Amateur in 2013.
He says that he was first introduced to golf by his father, Kurt, and grandfather, Everett, at Oak Hill in Meredith.
He enjoyed a stellar high school career at Gilford High School, where he won the individual championship in state tournament play four years in a row and was a member of the Gilford High School golf team which took second place in state play four years in a row.
He says that his high school coach, Jim Swarthout, the pro at Pheasant Ridge Country Club in Gilford, was a big help in improving his golf game and that Todd Rollins, head pro at LCC, "helped me a lot."

07-15 Chris Houston
Chris Houston will play for the New Hampshire Amateur Golf Championship Saturday at Laconia Country Club, where he has been playing golf since he was 13. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)