NH Supreme Court says letters from Nathaniel Kibby to lawyer can be made public
CONCORD — The New Hampshire Supreme Court has ruled that letters written by a man who kidnapped and repeatedly raped a 14-year-old girl while holding her captive for nine months can be made public.
In the opinion issued on Tuesday, the court agreed with the ruling of Judge Larry Smuckler and said letters Nathaniel Kibby wrote to his court-appointed attorney should be unsealed.
Kibby's counsel objected to the unsealing of the documents and Kibby and his lawyers had argued in front of the NH Supreme Court in April that the five letters remained sealed.
Kibby's attorney, David M. Rothstein, argued at the time that there were either legal or policy reasons, or both, that would support their position to keep the documents sealed.
NH Assistant Attorney General Geoffrey Ward argued that there is no "privileged" information to merit the documents stay under seal. If in fact there is privileged information, that's different.
Kibby, 35, kidnapped the 14-year-old girl in 2013 after she accepted his offer of a ride home from school. Kibby pleaded guilty in May 2016 to several charges and was sentenced to 45 to 90 years in prison.
"Nonetheless, because the defendant concedes that unsealing the documents will not compromise his defense and that he seeks a ruling on this issue only for 'future cases,' we hold that he has failed, as a matter of law, to meet his burden of demonstrating with specificity a compelling interest in this case to justify maintaining the motions under seal," Chief Justice Linda Dalianis wrote in the opinion.