Police Commission again tries to close file on Amatucci case


April 28, 2011
WOLFEBORO — Josephine Amatucci's outrage at her arrest by Wolfeboro police officers in 2002 on a warrant for criminal mischief and simple assault and in 2003 for violating a stalking order, continues unabated to this day. In both instances, the neighbor filing the complaints and having her arrested twice failed to appear in court to press the charges and the cases against her were dismissed.

In 2005, the NH Attorney General's Office investigated her claims of unlawful arrest and determined the allegations to be unfounded.

Nevertheless, Amatucci took the matter that same year to the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire. In 2007, the Federal District Court awarded attorney's fees of $5,000 to Wolfeboro for having to defend against her case, which according to attorney Lisa Lee, who handled the litigation, were found to be "plainly frivolous."

In 2008, the First Circuit Court of Appeals, despite a bombardment of numerous briefs and addenda from Amatucci, affirmed that decision.

Undeterred, Amatucci filed a state-court lawsuit against Officers Charles Hamilton and James O'Brien, Chief Brian Black, the Town of Wolfeboro, the police department and Commissioners Joe Melanson and Jim Lowry. It was dismissed based on the statue of limitations and res judicata and/or collateral estoppel, which is tied to public policy developed to protect the legal system from the trouble and expense of relitigation.

Yet even so, Amatucci recently appeared at the March 10 Wolfeboro Police Commission meeting to revisit the matter. Turning away from the commissioners and toward the television cameras, she raised her voice and began reading from a prepared narrative declaring that she had been abducted, kidnapped and held against her will. Wolfeboro Police Chief Stuart Chase promised to look into the matter and report back to the Commission.

That report took place at the April 21 meeting in Town Hall. Commissioner Ron Goodgame read the timeline of Amatucci's legal actions into the public record, noted that the town has never received the $5,000 she was directed by the court to pay, adding, "We have again used resources of the Police department and a significant amount of the Chief's time which has been diverted from other important matters."

Speaking on behalf of the commissioners, he said, "While we empathize with Ms. Amatucci's distress over her arrests (charges underlying which were dismissed) and her losses in Court, with her continuing to barrage the Town with the same baseless complaints over and over, we can only conclude that there is an interest on her part to engage in vexatious and meritless harassment of the Town of Wolfeboro and its officials."

He then stated emphatically, "This concludes our Review and the Wolfeboro Police Commission deems this matter now closed. The chief is hereby directed to spend no more time on these complaints."

Amatucci was handed a copy of the report. Disallowed from further discussion of the matter, she sputtered, "You can't stop me! I can rebut everything."

She then stood, and as the commissioners sat in silence, turned to the television camera, and shouted, "I was kidnapped!" As Goodgame attempted to interject a warning that she should be careful about slandering individuals, she continued uninterrupted for nearly ten minutes before leaving the meeting room.

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