HJR 13: "A RESOLUTION requiring the payment of certain money to Joseph Haas"

additional commentary by Rep. Timothy Horrigan; January 14, 2014

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A RESOLUTION requiring the payment of certain money to Joseph Haas.

SPONSORS: Rep. Itse, Rock 10



This house joint resolution requires the payment of money to Joseph Haas.




In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Fourteen

A RESOLUTION requiring the payment of certain money to Joseph Haas.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

Whereas, in 2012 Joseph Haas filed a petition against Attorney General Michael Delaney and Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Agati for dismissing criminal complaint case number 2010-CR-02343 in Laconia District Court without authority or consent to dismiss such case, resulting in Mr. Haas being denied the protections afforded the citizens of New Hampshire under Part 1, Article 12 of the New Hampshire Constitution; and

Whereas, the redress of grievances committee found that the attorney general had not acted appropriately in Mr. Haas's case; and

Whereas, at the time of filing his petition, Joseph Haas asked for damages in the amount of $250; and

Whereas, Joseph Haas has not received such damages; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

That the general court hereby requires payment, upon warrant of the governor, from the general fund to Joseph Haas the sum of $250 in damages.



AN ACT requiring the payment of certain money to Joseph Haas.


The Office of Legislative Budget Assistant has determined that this legislation, as introduced, will increase state general fund expenditures by $250 in FY 2014. There will be no impact on state revenues, or county and local revenues or expenditures.This bill appropriates $250 from the state general fund for the purposes of this resolution.


This resolution requires the payment of $250, upon a warrant of the governor, from the general fund to Joseph Haas for damages related to the Attorney General dismissing a criminal complaint without authority or consent.

I annoyed my friends on the Finance committee on January 14, 2014 by testifying in favor of this resolution, which has virtually no support from anyone other than Rep. Itse:

Testimony in Favor of HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 13-FN

A RESOLUTION requiring the payment of certain money to Joseph Haas

Rep. Timothy Horrigan (Strafford 6); January 14, 2014

I served on the Petitions & Redress of Grievances Committee in 2011-2012. This was a controversial committee, and we took up some unusual petitions— such as Petition 22, filed by Joseph S. Haas, Jr.

Petition 22 was inspired by what happened in 2010 when Mr. Haas exercised his common-law right of private prosecution by filing a criminal complaint for trespass against a Census Bureau employee named Robert Mills. The charges against Mr. Mills did not rise to the level of a class A misdemeanor or a felony, and were tried in the Laconia District Court. Normally, the prosecution would be handled by the Belknap County Attorney's office. But in this case, Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Agati took over the prosecution: he nol-prossed the charges, contrary to Mr. Haas's wishes. Mr. Haas asked the New Hampshire House for $250 to compensate him for his case-related expenses. His petition was eventually deemed to be "Founded" by a majority of the Petitions & Redress Committee, but no effort was ever made to pay him the money— until now.

Some of the committee's hearings devolved into theatre of the absurd, but Mr. Haas's hearings went relatively smoothly. Many of Mr. Haas's legal theories were unorthodox. He referred in great detail to certain topics which were of no obvious relevance to the basic issues behind his petition. But he always cooperated with the committee and he presented his case in a coherent and respectful manner. The Attorney General's office was also cooperative, coherent and respectful.

I think this resolution is long overdue. It could have been filed in 2012. Mr. Haas filed his petition on October 11, 2011, and to the best of my knowledge both Mr. Haas and the Attorney General were ready to argue their respective sides of the case in the fall of 2011. The proceedings dragged on until May 23, 2012, but even then it would have been possible to try to suspend the rules to introduce a resolution identical to HJR-13.

I support HJR-13 with some reservations.

My primary reservation stems from the fact that Mr. Haas's private prosecution was totally meritless.

By Mr Haas's own admission, Mr. Mills never entered Mr. Haas's property, so the most basic element of the crime of trespass was missing. Mr. Hill's only connection to the case was that Mr. Haas showed up at a temporary Census office in Concord one day to present some baffling and non-binding paperwork to the first employee he met, who turned out to be Robert Mills. One or more census enumerators did come to Mr. Haas's home, but they were not trespassing either, because they were licensed and privileged to be there. On May 7, 2010, an enumerator named Lyssa Nielson came to Mr. Haas's house when he was there, and he actually invited her to sit with him on his porch. Ms. Nielson was not charged with trespass, nor were any other enumerators who may have stopped by Mr. Haas's house.

Mr. Haas tried to tie Mr. Mills to the enumerators by claiming that they worked for the same corporation, but Mr. Mills was not in any way their supervisor, and he had no power to prevent Ms. Nielson (or any other enumerator) from visiting Mr Haas's home while canvassing her assigned area. (Also, the Census Bureau is not a corporation.) As far as I can tell, all the Census employees involved in Mr. Haas case did their jobs with the utmost courtesy and professionalism. Even if there had been malfeasance on their part, they would have been in violation of federal law rather than state law.

A secondary reservation stems from the fact that (as Mr. Haas himself admitted during the petition hearings) the Belknap County Attorney never objected to Assistant Attorney General Agati's involvement in the case. It is not illegal or improper for a county attorney's office to turn to the attorney general's office for help with unusual District/Circuit Court cases and State (Haas Complainant) vs. Mills was an extremely unusual case.

See Also:


The Forgotten Liars