New Hampshire lawmakers are working to clarify the state’s Rape Shield Law in order to ensure it applies throughout the entire legal process.
Under current law, information regarding the victim’s sexual past is excluded from trial. But whether this privacy protection extends to the appeal process was thrown into question this summer by the state Supreme Court.
The case involved the 2012 rape and murder of 19-year-old UNH student Lizzi Marriott. The state Supreme Court ultimately decided to keep information about Marriott's sexual history private.
Lynn Schollett of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence told lawmakers Tuesday that if protection isn't extended to the appeal process, victims will hesitate to report sexual assault.
“There’s no other privilege that disappears on appeal. If we remove this Rape Shield protection on an appeal it would render it entirely useless,” Schollett testified.
According to Schollett, no other state has tried to release this private information post-conviction.