CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire’s secret list of roughly 270 police officers with credibility issues would be made public under a bill passed Thursday by the state Senate.
The so-called “Laurie list” tracks officers whose credibility may be called into question during a trial because of something in their personnel records. Prosecutors are required to turn the information over to defendants before trial, but public access has been limited to heavily redacted versions of the list.
While the attorney general’s office and law enforcement unions traditionally have opposed the list’s release, both back the compromise legislation. Its provisions match a recommendation by the Commission on Law Enforcement Accountability, Community and Transparency that was established last summer in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Under the bill, the list would become public after a six-month period during which officers could contest their placement on the list.
“The language of the bill is the culmination of work by media outlets, law enforcement and various other stakeholders that is consistent with the hard work done by the LEAC commission,” said Sen. Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry. “This is an important piece of legislation that finds a delicate balance between the rights of officers and the transparency that is vital for our democracy.”
The bill, which also requires police disciplinary hearings to be open to the public, now goes back to the House. It passed the Senate 24-0.
“Making information about police misconduct and hearings public is an important step, and I believe the appeals process there is here for holding information confidential ... is also a valuable part of this bill,” said Sen. Jay Kahn, D-Keene.
Several media outlets and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire sued, seeking access to the list in 2018. Most of the parties, however, recently asked the court to delay its ruling until July, pending the outcome of the proposed legislation.
The list’s official title is the “exculpatory evidence schedule.” It is often called the “Laurie List” after Carl Laurie, whose murder conviction was overturned in 1995.