HB 1499-FN – AS INTRODUCED
HOUSE BILL 1499-FN
This bill establishes the offense of criminal coercion.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [
in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twelve
AN ACT relative to criminal coercion.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 Statement of Purpose. The general court finds that both elected and non-elected public servants are unlawfully using their undelegated powers to compel inhabitants of this state to comply with their unconstitutional orders and acts.
2 New Section; Corrupt Practices; Criminal Coercion. Amend RSA 640 by inserting after section 7 the following new section:
640:8 Criminal Coercion.
I. A person is guilty of a class B felony if, with a purpose to restrict unlawfully another’s freedom of action to his or her detriment, he or she threatens to:
(a) Commit a criminal offense;
(b) Accuse anyone of a criminal offense;
(c) Expose any secret tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule, or to impair his or her credit or business repute; or
(d) Take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action.
II. Any person who violates the provisions of paragraph I shall be immediately ipso facto removed from office with no further appeal, and shall be ineligible for any future employment with the state or any of its political subdivisions. Such person shall forfeit all rights, privileges, and benefits which may have accrued while in office.
3 Effective Date. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
HB 1499-FN - FISCAL NOTE
AN ACT relative to criminal coercion.
The Judicial Branch, Judicial Council, Department of Justice, Department of Corrections, and New Hampshire Association of Counties state this bill may increase state and county expenditures by an indeterminable amount in FY 2012 and each year thereafter. There will be no fiscal impact on local expenditures, or state, county, and local revenue.
The Judicial Branch states this bill adds a new criminal offense by establishing the crime of criminal coercion with violations of this new offense punishable as a class B felony. The Branch has no information to estimate how many charges would be brought as a result of the changes contained in the bill to determine the fiscal impact on expenditures. The Branch states this class B felony would be treated as an average routine criminal case in the Superior Court. The Branch states an average routine criminal case will cost $389.84 per case in FY 2013 and $401.48 per case in FY 2014 and each year thereafter based on case weight information from the last needs assessment completed in 2005. The possibility of appeals increases the likelihood the fiscal impact on the Branch will exceed $10,000.
The Judicial Council states this bill may result in an indeterminable increase in general fund expenditures. The Council states if an individual is found to be indigent, the flat fee of $756.25 per felony is charged by a public defender or contract attorney. If an assigned counsel attorney is used the fee is $60 per hour with a cap of $4,100 for a felony charge. The Council also states additional costs could be incurred if an appeal is filed. The public defender, contract attorney, and assigned counsel rates for Supreme Court appeals is $2,000 per case, with many assigned counsel attorneys seeking permission to exceed the fee cap. Requests to exceed the fee cap are seldom granted. Finally, expenditures would increase if services other than counsel are requested and approved by the court during the defense of a case or during an appeal.
The Department of Justice states the criminal offense created by the bill may increase the Department’s expenditures by an indeterminable amount. The Department states to the extent this bill applies to public officials and increases the number of complaints, the Department will have increased costs associated with responding to, investigating, and prosecuting complaints.
The Department of Corrections states it is not able to determine the fiscal impact of this bill because it does not have sufficient detail to predict the number of individuals who would be subject to this legislation. The Department of Corrections states the average annual cost of incarcerating an individual in the general prison population for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010 was $32,492. The cost to supervise an individual by the Department’s division of field services for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010 was $659.
The New Hampshire Association of Counties states to the extent more individuals are charged, convicted, and sentenced to incarceration in a county correctional facility, the counties may have increased expenditures. The Association is unable to determine the number of individuals who might be charged, convicted or incarcerated as a result of this bill to determine an exact fiscal impact. The average annual cost to incarcerate an individual in a county correctional facility is approximately $35,000. There is no impact on county revenue.