New Hampshire Publisher Arrested for Missing Political Ad Labels, Faces Potential 6-Year Jail Sentence

“With multiple unsolved homicides over the past year, this seems a bit absurd,” the Londonderry Times’ Debra Paul said in response

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A New Hampshire publisher was arrested Wednesday for missing political ad labels and faces a potential jail sentence of up to six years, the New Hampshire DOJ reported.

Debra Paul, who publishes the Londonderry Times, was arrested on “six misdemeanor counts related to Penalties for Political Advertising for publishing political advertisements that did not comply with State election laws,” according to a news release from the New Hampshire DOJ.

Paul responded in a statement to the media, saying “I would like to think the attorney general’s office has more important matters to deal with than to send press releases out on misdemeanors such as this.”

“With multiple unsolved homicides over the past year, this seems a bit absurd,” Paul continued. “This is clearly a case of a small business needing to defend itself against (an) overreaching government. To threaten a small business owner with jail time over something this insignificant is very heavy-handed.”

According to the news release, the charges allege that Paul “failed to properly identify political advertisements” in the newspaper, without “appropriate language” at the beginning or end of the ad, which is required by New Hampshire state law.

The release notes that Paul was previously warned about defying these requirements twice, in 2019 and in 2021, and received formal notice of the instances. In Sept. 2021, the Election Law Unit reportedly issued a “final warning” letter to Paul warning that she must properly label advertising in her publication.

Paul faces a maximum penalty of up to one year of jail time and a fine of up to $2,000 per charge, as per the Election Law Unit, and could face up to six years at the county house of corrections.

Paul is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 19, 2022 at the Derry District Court.