The New Hampshire Supreme Court issued an order on Thursday morning that will prevent a murder victim’s sexual history from being made public.
Lizzi Marriott, a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of New Hampshire, was killed in 2012. Seth Mazzaglia, 32, was convicted of the murder in 2014. Mazzaglia, who denied raping and murdering Marriott but admitted to helping cover up her death, filed an appeal, and his lawyers argued that Marriott’s sexual history was necessary to their appeal.
In June, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that the information, which had been sealed during the criminal trial, should be made public during Mazzaglia’s hearing. But the state’s attorney general then filed a stay, asking that they could make arguments about why the information should remain private in front of the court.
New Hampshire Attorney General Peter Hinckley argued last week that Marriott’s right to privacy is more important than keeping the court proceedings open, and asked the Supreme Court to hear Mazzaglia’s appeal in private and then release redacted transcripts.
The New Hampshire State Supreme Court agreed.
“Having considered the oral arguments, briefs, and the applicable law, we hereby order that the records sealed by the trial court shall remain sealed and that the parties’ unredacted appellate briefs and appendices shall remain confidential,” the court said in its Thursday ruling, obtained by Motto.
“I’m thrilled on behalf of the Marriott family that we were able to win on this issue, and that we were able to preserve Lizzi’s privacy,” Rus Rilee, an attorney representing the Marriott family, told Motto on Thursday. “I was surprised by how quickly it came out, but I wasn’t particularly surprised by the result. Our legal arguments were very strong.”
Rilee said the order says the information will remain sealed forever if Mazzaglia’s conviction is upheld.
“Unless someone…tries to go into the Supreme Court and challenge that, then I will again fight with them on Lizzi’s behalf,” he said.