Retired NH Superior Court Justice Peter Smith dies

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New Hampshire court officials say that retired Superior Court Justice Peter Smith of Bethlehem has died. He was 69.

Smith died at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center on Tuesday.

Smith served primarily in the Grafton and Coos County Superior Courts.

In 2002, he presided over a high-profile case – two Vermont teens accused of murdering two Dartmouth College professors – that led to a clash over media access.

Shortly before Robert Tulloch and Jim Parker were sentenced in the deaths of Half and Susanne Zantop, the state Supreme Court ordered Smith to allow television and radio coverage. Smith had had a firm policy since 1995 of not allowing cameras in his courtroom in any case.

The high court followed up with a lengthy decision in December 2002 spelling out the right of television, radio and photo access to trials and other public court proceedings. New court-issued in 2004 favored TV, camera and radio access to courts.

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