Legal Briefs: News From Around NH

Sokul on Southeast Habitat for Humanity board, judicial branch issues domestic violence case recommendations
Sokul John Headshot

John Sokul Jr.

Portsmouth-based Southeast NH Habitat for Humanity has named John H. Sokul Jr., a partner at Hinckley Allen and a member of the firm’s executive committee, to its board of directors.

Sokul’s 35 years of practice have focused on commercial real estate transactions, zoning and land use matters. “I look forward to contributing my real estate expertise and efforts in furthering their important mission of providing affordable housing in a special way that allows people to work on constructing the home they will eventually own,” Sokul said.

Judiciary issues 41 recommendations to address domestic violence

A judicial branch task force has issued 41 recommendations aimed at improving the handling of domestic violence cases. Associate Some of the recommendations can be put in place by the judicial branch, while others will have to be addressed by the Legislature, said Justice Anna Barbara Hantz Marconi, who chaired the task force. Among the recommendations are:

  • Forming a Domestic Violence Committee of the Judiciary to recommend ongoing improvements, to be headed by Dianne Martin, director of the Administrative Office of the Courts
  • Referring anyone who files a domestic violence petition to a crisis center to develop a safety plan
  • Revising the state wiretapping law to allow an exception for victims. Some task force members said a victim should be able to record the abuse and have the recording entered into a court proceeding.
  • Providing more funding to trained court staff on domestic violence issues and trauma-informed practices
  • Increasing funding for mediation in family court to improve safety and accountability for parties in family law cases.
  • Improving accessibility to forms on the court system website.
  • Encouraging law school students to help victims complete domestic violence petitions.
  • Creating a “what you need to know” fact sheet for victims.

Encouraging police departments to hire victim witness advocates.

  • Reconvening the Governor’s Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence.
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