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NH pols, others seek release of imprisoned man

By Norma Love
Associated Press / December 17, 2010

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CONCORD, N.H.—New Hampshire House Speaker William O'Brien delivered a petition to Gov. John Lynch on Friday asking him to pardon a man who was imprisoned for waving a gun to warn away a trespasser who got lost and asked him for directions.

Ward Bird, of Moultonboro, is serving a three- to six-year prison sentence for threatening the woman. His supporters argue he did not threaten her and acted within his rights when she ignored no-trespassing signs.

Bird has filed a pardon application, which takes several weeks to process. His request isn't expected to be considered until the new Executive Council takes office next month.

O'Brien gave Lynch a petition signed by 117 state representatives. He called Bird's incarceration a miscarriage of justice.

"Any one of us has the right to tell a stranger to leave," said O'Brien. He said that includes showing a gun to emphasize the request. O'Brien said the law used to jail Bird needs to be revisited.

Lynch said Bird's request is going through the application process to the council, which must vote on pardon requests.

Lynch said he will wait to see the application to decide what to do. Lynch reiterated that he does not believe pardons should be granted unless there has been "either an exceptional circumstance or a gross miscarriage of justice."