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Legal Questions

Q. Can the United States Attorney's Office provide legal advice to private individuals or entities?
Q. Does a person have to be convicted of a crime to have his/her property seized in a forfeiture case?

Q. Can the proceeds of property which is forfeited be placed in a state or local law enforcement agency's general budget?
Q. Where can a citizen refer a case involving a suspected violation of access guarantees under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

Q. Where can I obtain a Standard Form 95, Administrative Claim for Damages?
Q. How do I serve the United States of America with a complaint?
Q. How do I obtain the testimony of a federal employee or the records of a federal agency?

General Questions

Q. What is the difference between the New Hampshire Attorney General and the United States Attorney?
Q. Does the United States Attorney's Office have a consumer protection division?
Q. How do I obtain a copy of an indictment, date of next hearing, information on a case in federal court?
Q. How do I contact the District Court Federal Defender's Office?

ANSWERS

Q. Can the United States Attorney's Office provide legal advice to private individuals or entities?

A. No. The U.S. Attorney's Office is not authorized to provide legal assistance or representation to private citizens.

     The New Hampshire Bar Association has a Lawyer Referral Service which can help you find appropriate representation. The Service can be reached at 603-229-0002. Alternatively, you may wish to contact your local office of New Hampshire Legal Assistance.

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Q. Does a person have to be convicted of a crime to have his/her property seized in a forfeiture case?

A. No, under federal law a civil forfeiture action is commenced against the property, not the person. In addition, the Government has to prove only by a preponderance of the evidence that the property was connected to criminal activity, not beyond a reasonable doubt which is the standard in criminal cases. Thus, property may be forfeited even in the absence of a conviction; although in most forfeiture cases, a criminal prosecution is also pursued at either the state or federal level.

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Q. Can the proceeds of property which is forfeited be placed in a state or local law enforcement agency's general budget?

A. No, the Attorney General of the United States has promulgated strict guidelines under which proceeds of forfeited property may be used by participating law enforcement agencies. Permissible uses include such items as undercover investigation costs, investigative equipment costs, and salaries for officers working in joint task force situations. Seized vehicles may be put into official use for undercover operations. United States Attorney personnel are not permitted to participate in the sharing of assets.

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Q. Where can a citizen refer a case involving a suspected violation of access guarantees under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

A. Anyone who becomes aware of an issue involving access potentially falling within the ambit of the ADA may write to the United States Attorney's Office for the District of New Hampshire [address, phone and fax listed on the Home Page] or to the United States Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section - NYAV Washington, D.C. 20530 [800-514-0301 (voice)][ (202) 307-1198 (fax)].

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Q. Where can I obtain a Standard Form 95, Administrative Claim for Damages?

A. Every federal agency should have a supply of SF-95s, which are the forms used to file administrative tort claims, available for distribution. Alternatively, you can download the SF-95 form in PDF format
: SF-95

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Q. How do I serve the United States of America with a complaint?

A. An answer to this question would constitute giving legal advice, which this office is prohibited from doing. Please see Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

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Q. How do I obtain the testimony of a federal employee or the records of a federal agency?

A. Every federal agency has what are called Touhy regulations. They set forth the procedure which a third party must follow in requesting the testimony of a federal employee or the records of a federal agency. Be sure to follow those instructions. A simple subpoena for the testimony or records will be met with a motion to quash filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office. Federal employees are prohibited from providing testimony or records without the authority of their superiors. If you only seek records, consider making a Freedom of Information Act request.

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Q. What is the difference between the New Hampshire Attorney General and the United States Attorney?

A. The New Hampshire Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer for violations of state law. The NH Attorney General's office, in a civil context, represents the interests of the State of New Hampshire in lawsuits brought against it and enforces the laws of the State.

In contrast, the United States Attorney's Office has responsibility for the prosecution of federal crimes in the District of New Hampshire. The Civil Division prosecutes violation of civil laws, collects on defaulted federal loans, institutes forfeiture proceedings, and defends the United States' interests in cases brought against it.

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Q. Does the United States Attorney's Office have a consumer protection division?

A. No, it does not. Complaints of a consumer nature should be directed to the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office. That Office's Consumer Protection Division may be reached at 33 Capitol Street, Concord, NH 03301 (603) 225-3641.

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Q. How do I obtain a copy of an indictment, date of next hearing, information on a case in federal court?

A. Any case-related information is available from:

      U.S. District Court Clerk's Office
     55 Pleasant Street
     Concord, NH 03301
     (603) 225-1423

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Q. How do I contact the District Court Federal Defender's Office?

A. Federal Public Defenders

     Federal Public Defenders
     Ralph Pill Building
     22 Bridge Street
     Concord, NH 03301
     (603) 226-7360

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53 Pleasant Street, 4th Floor
Concord, NH 03301
(603)225-1552

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