Devon Chaffee : Executive Director

Devon Chaffee

Executive Director

Having worked in non-profit advocacy for over a decade, Devon comes to the ACLU of New Hampshire with a solid track record of effectively advocating on behalf of marginalized constituencies through innovative, strategic, and persistent lobbying and public education.

While with the ACLU Washington Office, Devon worked to stop bias policing, prisoner abuse, privacy violations and free speech infringement. Prior to joining the ACLU, Devon served as Advocacy Counsel at Human Rights First, fighting against U.S. counter-terrorism and national security policies that violate human rights.

Devon received her J.D. magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center where she was a Public Interest Law Scholar; she received her B.A. from Hampshire College.

Christina Gibson : Outreach and Communication Coordinator

Christina Gibson

Outreach and Communication Coordinator

Christina Gibson is a political operative and social justice activist with over ten years of experience in electoral and issue-specific outreach and advocacy campaigns. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Anthropology, Political Science, and Environmental Studies from the University of California, San Diego. Gibson has organized grassroots outreach strategies for state legislature and presidential campaigns. Most recently she coordinated legislative and community outreach efforts for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles and Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project Los Angeles County. She now serves as ACLU of NH’s Outreach & Communication Coordinator. She is working to increase the ACLU-NH’s public education and supporter engagement. Her issue areas of interest include reproductive rights; criminal justice; environmental justice; veterans' affairs; and voting rights. Gibson lives in Rye, NH with her boyfriend Jim and his daughters Madylin and Jayson.

Gilles Bissonnette : Legal Director

Gilles Bissonnette

Legal Director

Gilles comes to the ACLU with extensive civil litigation experience, which has included aggressive advocacy in both the freedom of speech and privacy arenas.  While at the ACLU, Gilles has achieved significant victories in the areas of voting rights, freedom of speech, access to justice for indigent defendants, and criminal justice reform, including in the following cases:

  • Guare, et al. v. New Hampshire, 167 N.H. 658 (2015) (striking down voter registration form language that would impose a chilling effect on the right to vote of those domiciled in New Hampshire).
  • Rideout, et al. v. New Hampshire, 123 F. Supp. 3d 218 (D.N.H. 2015), aff'd, 838 F.3d 65 (1st Cir. 2016) (striking down New Hampshire law banning certain forms of online speech  on grounds that it violates the First Amendment).
  • State v. Clay, No. 450-2015-cr-00414 (4th Cir., Dist. Div., Laconia June 9, 2015) (securing dismissal of disorderly conduct charge on First Amendment grounds where client was arrested during a public meeting simply for engaging in political, non-disruptive speech on matters of public concern).
  • Clay v. Town of Alton, No. 15-cv-00279-JL (D.N.H, filed July 14, 2014) (secured $42,500 settlement in lawsuit where, in violation of the First Amendment, client was arrested during a public meeting simply for engaging in political, non-disruptive speech on matters of public concern).
  • Pendleton v. Town of Hudson, No. 14-cv-00365-PB (D.N.H., filed Aug. 20, 2014) (secured $37,500 settlement and permanent consent order in lawsuit where Town detained, harassed, threatened, dispersed, and cited peaceful panhandlers in violation of the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments).
  • Pendleton v. City of Nashua (secured $15,000 settlement in a case where homeless client was arrested and spent 33 days in jail simply for walking along a public foot path in the park adjacent to the Nashua public library in violation of his First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights).
  • Albert v. City of Manchester (secured $17,500 settlement in a case where client was wrongly arrested for recording in public).
  • Kearns v. Town of Littleton (secured $17,500 settlement and further police training in case where client was arrested simply for allegedly swearing at a parking enforcement official in violation of the First Amendment).
  • State v. Bonacorsi, No. 218-2014-cr-01357 (Rockingham Cty. Super. Ct. May 18, 2016) (narrowing and striking down portions of online identifier statute on First Amendment grounds).
  • State v. Mazzaglia, No. 2014-0592 (N.H. Sept. 29, 2016) (NH Supreme Court order agreeing with the position of the victim, victims’ rights advocates, and the ACLU-NH that documents concerning a victim’s prior consensual sexual activity should be sealed pending appeal).
  • City of Keene v. James Cleaveland, 167 N.H. 731 (2015) (affirming, in part, dismissal of civil causes of action against speakers on the ground that "the First Amendment shields the respondents from tort liability for the challenged conduct"; as amicus).
  • New Hampshire v. Brouillette, 166 N.H. 487 (2014) (holding that indigent defendants who have secured private counsel — including on a pro bono basis — have the right to obtain state funds for experts and other ancillary defense services necessary for an adequate defense; as amicus).
  • Petition of State of New Hampshire166 N.H. 659 (2014) (applying retroactively U.S. Supreme Court decision holding that mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment; as amicus).
  • Appeal of Farmington School District, 168 N.H. 726 (2016) (holding that the Farmington School Board improperly declined to renew a guidance counselor's employment contract after the counselor sought independent legal counsel and successfully obtained a temporary restraining order before the Strafford County Superior Court to protect her student’s right to privacy that was going to be imminently violated by the Farmington High School Principal; as amicus).
  • In the Matter of Munson and Beal, 146 A.3d 153 (N.H. 2016) (in a case concerning the fair distribution of property in a divorce between two women who were in a 20+ year committed relationship, and joined in a civil union/married for four of those years, holding that premarital cohabitation can be considered when formulating an equitable distribution of the marital property; as amicus).
  • Doe v. New Hampshire, 167 N.H. 382 (2015) (New Hampshire's retroactive, lifetime registration requirements for certain offenders are “punitive in effect” and therefore unconstitutional as applied to client under New Hampshire Constitution's bar on retrospective laws).

Gilles has also taught multiple CLEs on the First Amendment.  Prior to joining the ACLU, Gilles was a civil litigator in Boston at the law firms of Choate Hall & Stewart LLP, Todd & Weld LLP, and Cooley LLP.

Gilles clerked for Judge Thomas M. Golden of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  Gilles received his J.D. from UCLA School of Law where he was the Chief Comments Editor of the UCLA Law Review.  He received his B.A. and M.A. in history from Washington University in St. Louis.  He is admitted to practice law in the state and federal courts in New Hampshire, as well as the First Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.  His publications and appearances include:

Paul Racioppi : Development Director

Paul Racioppi

Development Director

With a professional career that spans more than two decades, Paul brings a range of experience and expertise in many facets of nonprofit fundraising.  Prior to joining the ACLU, Paul was a planned giving officer at the University of New Hampshire and, before that, the development director at a major New York City community organization in Greenwich Village.  Paul brings enthusiasm and eagerness to his work at the ACLU.  His collaborative style and broad experience are valuable assets that will be critical to implementing the ACLU of New Hampshire’s fundraising objectives.

Karen Rose : Administration/Operations Mgr.

Karen Rose

Administration/Operations Mgr.

Karen brings decades of experience working in non-profit, small business and government administration and comes to the ACLU after eleven years at the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. She earned her Master’s Degree from Antioch of New England with a focus on Advocacy and Organizing. She has also served on several local commissions and volunteered at multiple agencies including Heifer International.  She is committed to non-profit work and to the ACLU’s mission.

 Posted by on December 23, 2014 at 10:51 am