Episode 3: “Frederick J. Murray v. Special Investigation Unit of the Division of State Police et al.

Episode 3 (on YouTube and iTunes) discusses the civil suit that Fred Murray filed against the “state” of NH after the police refused to release any of the documents they had in their possession pertaining to Maura’s disappearance. Ethan and I are joined by an attorney and a public defender in Brooklyn, NY, who began her career as a public defender in New Hampshire. I felt that she was the perfect person to help provide context and guide us through some of the legal language contained in the transcripts (part 1 and part 2) and the affidavits provided by Nancy Smith, Assistant Attorney General Jeff Strelzin, and Detective Todd Landry. You can view the appeal made to the state supreme court in three parts, (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3).

A little over halfway through the episode, we discuss the police dispatch logs that are being withheld from the public as part of the investigation, so I want to make one note about the “police conspiracy” theory. Some would have you believe that the “crazy convoluted cop theory” (as James Renner has referred to it) demands that you regard the police as either all perfectly helpful angels or all shady evil conspirators. “Good versus evil” is the stuff of fiction; it’s a false dichotomy that is overly simplistic and intellectually lazy. In reality, there is nothing logically inconsistent about suggesting it is possible for an officer to have been involved in Maura’s disappearance (perhaps by accident), while simultaneously believing it is possible for the Attorney General’s office (as well as other police in NH) to have been fully cooperative and ardent in their effort to pursue justice in this case. As I've stated previously, if there was a lone officer involved in her disappearance, then it's not a conspiracy at all. It's just one bad cop, which is hardly an extraordinary occurrence.

In the episode, we discuss how in the early days of the investigation, there did not appear to be any alarm or reason to believe a crime had been committed, nor any evidence of foul play. Police did not even begin a search until 36 hours later. Yet investigators have refused to release certain police dispatch logs because there is information about “police’s response to the scene” that would “pinpoint the subject of the investigation” or “provide valuable information to a suspect.” However you want to interpret that language, it simply does not not square with the fact that police clearly were not investigating her disappearance as a crime early on – certainly not the evening of February 9th (at least as far as we know). One need not hold a personal vendetta against police, or ascribe to some wide-ranging police conspiracy to pose the question as to what could be contained in those logs that would pinpoint the subject of their investigation.

Perhaps there is nothing in the logs that would be incriminating to any officer. Perhaps the "suspect" they are referring to is a civilian. I certainly believe that is possible. That said, I believe it would be a mistake to dismiss the possibility that the aforementioned "suspect" could be a police officer. And it is certainly a mistake to conclude that if a police officer was involved in her disappearance, it therefore means that there is a wide-ranging multi-level "police conspiracy." I do not believe that to be the case.