HB1706 (2012) Detail

Expanding the applicability of the capital murder statute.


HB 1706-FN – AS INTRODUCED

2012 SESSION

12-2357

04/09

HOUSE BILL 1706-FN

AN ACT expanding the applicability of the capital murder statute.

SPONSORS: Rep. Terrio, Hills 14; Rep. Notter, Hills 19; Rep. LeBrun, Hills 26; Rep. Peterson, Hills 19

COMMITTEE: Criminal Justice and Public Safety

ANALYSIS

This bill expands the death penalty statute to additional circumstances involving homicide.

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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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

12-2357

04/09

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twelve

AN ACT expanding the applicability of the capital murder statute.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 Capital Murder. Amend RSA 630:1, I to read as follows:

I. A person is guilty of capital murder if he or she knowingly causes the death of:

(a) A law enforcement officer or a judicial officer acting in the line of duty or when the death is caused as a consequence of or in retaliation for such person’s actions in the line of duty;

(b) Another before, after, while engaged in the commission of, or while attempting to commit kidnapping as that offense is defined in RSA 633:1, or robbery as that offense is defined in RSA 636:1;

(c) Another by criminally soliciting a person to cause said death or after having been criminally solicited by another for his or her personal pecuniary gain;

(d) Another after being sentenced to life imprisonment without parole pursuant to RSA 630:1-a, III;

(e) Another before, after, while engaged in the commission of, or while attempting to commit aggravated felonious sexual assault as defined in RSA 632-A:2;

(f) Another before, after, while engaged in the commission of, or while attempting to commit an offense punishable under RSA 318-B:26, I(a) or (b); [or]

(g) Another, who is licensed or privileged to be within an occupied structure, or separately secured or occupied section thereof, before, after, or while in the commission of, or while attempting to commit, burglary as defined in RSA 635:1; or

(h) Another under circumstances that are especially heinous, cruel, or depraved or that involve torture or serious physical abuse to the victim; or

(i) More than one person while engaged in the commission of or attempting to commit any criminal act.

2 Effective Date. This act shall take effect January 1, 2013.

LBAO

12-2357

01/03/12

HB 1706-FN - FISCAL NOTE

AN ACT expanding the applicability of the capital murder statute.

FISCAL IMPACT:

      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 2013 and each year thereafter. There will be no fiscal impact on local expenditures, or state, county, and local revenue.

METHODOLOGY:

    The Judicial Branch states this bill will expand the crime of capital murder to include homicide committed during a robbery, homicide committed under circumstances that involve torture or serious physical abuse to the victim, and homicide of more than one person while committing or attempting to commit a criminal act. The Branch states the maximum penalty for these crimes under current law is first degree murder with this bill making them capital murder cases. Both first degree murder cases and capital murder cases are treated as complex felonies. The Branch states the average complex felony case costs $742.17 in FY 2013 and $765.31 in FY 2014 and each year thereafter. The Branch states that a capital murder case, though treated as an average complex felony case, is more expensive due to having more hearings because of more issues, the addition of a penalty phase to the trial, the need for increased security and the prospect of multiple appeals on the issues raised. The Branch is not able to determine the number of capital murder cases or cost of such cases to determine the fiscal impact of this bill.

    The Judicial Council states this bill may result in an indeterminable increase in general fund expenditures. The Council states this bill will potentially expand the number of capital murder cases, typically the most costly cases in the criminal justice system. If the public defender does not have a conflict of interest and is able to represent the case, they would be paid a flat fee of $20,000. If an assigned counsel attorney must be used, the hourly rate of $60 with a fee cap of $20,000 for homicide cases will apply. The fee cap is readily increased by the Court. 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 Council states the cost to defend a capital murder case can easily exceed $1 million, with the total costs associated with a capital murder case tried to conclusion, including other state agency costs, easily exceeding $3 million.

    The Department of Justice states this bill will increase state expenditures by an indeterminable amount in FY 2013 and each year thereafter. The Department states capital murder cases are more expensive to prosecute because of the potential death sentence. The Department cites two cases it has recently prosecuted where costs have exceeded $1.7 million for one case and $2.3 million for the other, not including the cost of appellate or post-conviction litigation. On average, there are 18 homicides per year. The Department states there were 5 homicides in 2009, 3 homicides in 2010 and 3 homicides in 2011 that would have likely been charged as capital murders.

    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.

Links

HB1706 at GenCourtMobile

Action Dates

Date Body Type

Bill Text Revisions

HB1706 Revision: 21983 Date: Jan. 9, 2012, midnight

Docket