It’s not a taser!

October 23, 2013 12:45 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

In State v. Tabaldi the NH Supreme Court ruled that the State had produced insufficient evidence that Mr. Tabaldi was a felon in possession of an electronic defense weapon commonly referred to as a “taser.”

RSA 159:21 defines an electronic defense weapon as “an electronically activated non-lethal device which is designed for or capable of producing an electrical charge of sufficient magnitude to immobilize or incapacitate a person temporarily.” In this case the State’s only evidence that the alleged taser fit this description was the testimony of a police officer who said that when he pushed a button on the alleged taser “there were blue sparks that arched between the two electrodes” and that it made a crackling noise. However, the State did not call any expert to testify about how much electricity would be required to immobilize or incapacitate a person and the Court ruled, as a matter of law, that there was simply not enough evidence for a jury to conclude that this alleged taser was an electronic defense weapon.

It should be noted that both the trial judge and the jury found Mr. Tabaldi guilty of this crime so they apparently did not share the Supreme Court’s view. The Supreme Court ruled that because there was insufficient evidence of this charge presented at trial that the double jeopardy clause of the NH Constitution precluded the State from asking for a second trial on this charge.

 

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This post was written by Jonathan Cohen

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