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Alleged drunk boater case
in limbo as state border is argued
[Portsmouth, NH]

December 10, 2000
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Alleged drunk boater case
in limbo as state border is argued
[Portsmouth, NH]

PoliceOne Staff Report
(PORTSMOUTH, N.H.) - The BUI (Boating While Intoxicated) arrest of a part-time Stratham, N.H., police officer hinges not on his guilt or innocence, but on a border dispute between Maine and New Hampshire.

Michael Gobbi, 34, was arrested on July 3 by the New Hampshire Marine Patrol for driving his boat while intoxicated on the Piscataqua River.

The state of New Hampshire believes that its border extends to the shores of Maine on the river, Maine on the other hand claims the border runs directly down the middle of the river.

Gobbi maintains that the marine patrol was in Maine waters and therefore out of its jurisdiction when the arrest was made.

Although it's unlikely to escalate to the level of a border war, the disagreement between the two states will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Until that case is decided, Gobbi could be right.

Steven Keable, the New Hampshire Department of Public Safety prosecutor on the case said that the Gobbi's court date will probably be set before the Supreme Court schedules the hearing on the border dispute.

In that event the issue over jurisdiction will still be up in the are and "the judge will have to make whatever decision he or she thinks is best," Keable told PoliceOne.com.

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