Appeal of Erica BlizzardAnnotate this Case
Respondent Erica Blizzard appealed a decision of the New Hampshire Department of Safety (DOS) that suspended her boating privileges. Carrying two passengers, Respondent piloted a motorboat on Lake Winnipesaukee. There was almost no visibility due to dark and inclement weather conditions. As the respondent later told investigators, she was unable to see the bow of her boat. She was operating the boat at eighteen to twenty miles per hour, unsure of her location or depth, when the boat collided with an island. The collision killed one passenger and seriously injured the respondent and the second passenger. As a result of the collision, the respondent was charged with boating while intoxicated and negligent homicide. A jury found her guilty of negligent homicide, but not guilty of boating while intoxicated. Respondent argued on appeal: (1) whether DOS lacked the authority to suspend boat-operation privileges because it has failed to promulgate associated regulations; (2) whether RSA 270-E:17 delegated legislative authority in violation of Part I, Article 37 of the State Constitution; and (3) whether the hearing notice complied with Part I, Article 15 of the State Constitution. Finding the DOS had the requisite authority to suspend Respondent's boating privileges, the Supreme Court affirmed the Department's decision.