Update: The NH Democratic Party finally issued a statement and urged Barry Laughton to resign. It does not appear that anyone picked him up to take him to the statehouse today.
Barry “Stacie” Laughton was first elected to the New Hampshire state legislature as a Democrat in 2012. However, he still needed to receive his final release from a felony conviction. So he resigned and was never sworn in.
Now Laughton has been re-elected again. The winners are supposed to be sworn in on December 7th, but he is behind bars.
Laughton has been charged with harassing a woman and making false 911 calls for years. He recently pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors as part of a plea bargain deal. However, he was re-arrested on November 12th for violating a court order. Ninth District Court Judge Kimberly Chabot is holding him without bail because she believes he is a danger to the woman he was stalking.
Under Article 21 of the New Hampshire state constitution, he can not be prevented from going to the statehouse on December 7th. The Democratic party will be allowed to drive him from Valley Street Jail to the capitol in Concord to be sworn in and cast votes on house positions. It appears they are planning to do just that. His party is refusing to disavow him. The NH Democratic Party chair, Ray Buckley, even publicly praised him last June for being a LGBTQP+ elected official.
Critics say that allowing Laughton to go to the state house is not in line with the spirit of Article 21. It was added to the 1784 constitution as a response to King Charles of England seizing five members of the British parliament in 1642 before they could cast votes against him. In other words, Article 21 was meant to protect members of the state legislature from politically motivated arrests. It was never intended to cover a habitual criminal who has committed crimes over and over for sixteen years.
Barry was first charged with a felony in 2006, when he made a fake 911 call to get out of paying a cab driver. This was reduced to a misdemeanor theft of service in a plea deal.
Also in 2006, he was convicted of misdemeanor criminal mischief.
In 2007, he was charged with felony identity theft. In 2008, he was convicted and sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. However, the sentence was reduced to only one year and he served less than five months.. The court classified Laughton as having “anti-social personality disorder” and “learning disabilities.” The court also declared him to be a “malingerer,” which is someone who exaggerates physical or mental illness to get out of work.
In 2012, he won an election for New Hampshire state rep, but then abandoned the position due to legal issues. He was still under supervised released for felony identity theft.
In 2015, he was charged with a felony for making a false bomb threat. This was reduced to a misdemeanor in a plea deal. He got no jail time.
In 2020, he ran for selectman in Nashua and won.
During 2021 and 2022, he was charged with fourteen counts of false 911 calls and two counts of harassment. He is accused of aggressively stalking and harassing an unnamed woman since 2019. Laughton has already agreed to another misdemeanor plea deal for these charges.
In the November 2022 election, he was elected as a member of the New Hampshire state house.
On November 12th, he was arrested for violating a court order against talking about the victim on social media. He was denied bail, because the judge believed he posed an ongoing threat to the victim.