Lucien Vincent is an inmate in Concord Prison who filed a small claims action against Davina MacLean. Mr. Vincent filed motions requesting transportation from prison to the court in order to appear for the small claims hearing and to present written evidence. All requests were denied. Mr. Vincent conducted his hearing over telephone and without any means of submitting written evidence. The trial court ruled against him, citing that he had insufficient evidence.
Mr. Vincent appealed to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. The question before the Court is whether the procedures used by the trial court—specifically the trial court’s refusal to transport Mr. Vincent to the proceeding—violate due process. In its amicus brief, the ACLU-NH argues that Mr. Vincent’s due process rights were violated because inmates have a right to be physically present at a hearing when their absence would substantially impair their ability to introduce evidence and conduct an effective cross examination. The ACLU-NH’s amicus brief can be found here.
In a decision issued on March 7, 2014, the Supreme Court concluded that the trial court did not violate Mr. Vincent’s due process rights.