New Hampshire v. GuildAnnotate this Case
Defendant Joshua Guild appealed his conviction on one count of felonious assault and one count of aggravated felonious assault (ASFA) involving the same minor victim. He contended that the superior court erred by: (1) violating New Hampshire Rule of Evidence 615 and RSA 632-A:6, IV (2007) by failing to sequester the minor victim’s mother; (2) erroneously denied his motion to disqualify a juror without first conducting a voir dire of the juror; and (3) erroneously denied his motion to dismiss the AFSA charge. Upon review of the trial record, the Supreme Court held that when, in a criminal trial, a trial court has violated Rule 615 and RSA 626:6, IV by failing to sequester a witness, a new trial is in order unless the State proves that any error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Applying that rule to this case, the Court concluded that any presumption of prejudice was rebutted. Furthermore, because Defendant's conviction was supported by other substantial evidence, and because the evidence did not support a conclusion that the victim’s mother tailored her testimony to the victim’s testimony, the Court held that any error in failing to sequester the victim's mother was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. With regard to the denial of Defendant's motion to dismiss the AFSA charge, the Court found Defendant did not preserve the argument for the Supreme Court’s review. Defendant’s convictions were upheld.