N.H. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Owen Labrie’s appeal of felony conviction

Concord Monitor

November 28, 2018

By Alyssa Dandrea

On the heels of a failed appeal, St. Paul’s School graduate Owen Labrie returned to the state’s highest court Wednesday to argue his high-profile defense team provided poor legal representation at his 2015 sexual assault trial.

Labrie, now 23, was acquitted of felony rape charges, but convicted of using a computer to lure a 15-year-old girl for sex as part of the “Senior Salute,” a now-infamous tradition at St. Paul’s where upperclassmen competed for intimate encounters with younger pupils. Labrie maintains his trial attorneys misunderstood the statute governing the computer-use crime and did not defend him against the charge.

A state prosecutor challenged that argument Wednesday, telling New Hampshire Supreme Court justices that Labrie’s trial team did a good job. Assistant Attorney General Sean Locke said Labrie was found not guilty of the most serious crimes – three counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault – that could have landed him in prison for 30 to 60 years.

“You have to look at the ineffective assistance claim in terms of what’s going on in the entire trial,” Assistant Attorney General Sean Locke said, advising the justices to view Labrie’s legal representation more broadly and not in reference to a single conviction.

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