CONCORD – The state Supreme Court has upheld the 2013 conviction of a Berlin woman for burglary.
Elizabeth Cloutier, 45, of Jericho Road appealed her conviction by jury, arguing Coos Superior Court Justice Peter Bornstein erred in denying her motion to suppress a confession she made to Berlin police. In a unanimous decision released Tuesday, the Supreme Court justices affirmed Bornstein's decision that Cloutier's statements were voluntary.
According to the written decision, Cloutier went to the Berlin police station on July 11, 2012 to take a polygraph test in connection with a burglary at a friend's house. She signed forms acknowledging she had been read her rights and agreed to take the polygraph test.
After the almost four hour test, Cloutier was given a short break. She was then questioned by a state police officer and two Berlin police officers. During two hours of questioning, Cloutier eventually admitted her involvement in the burglary and was later charged with the crime. Before her jury trial, Cloutier filed a motion, charging her confession was involuntary. Bornstein denied the motion. Upon conviction, Cloutier appealed to the N.H. Supreme Court.
The court noted Cloutier had signed a form indicating she had been read her rights and was reminded twice during questioning that those rights continued to apply.
While Cloutier argued she was alone without an attorney and a minimal experience with the police, the Supreme Court decision said she was not in custody and was reminded at least once that she was free to leave.