Bill Text - HB1543 (2016)

Relative to prosecutorial misconduct.

Revision: March 8, 2016, midnight

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AN ACT\trelative to prosecutorial misconduct.


SPONSORS:\tRep. Abramson, Rock. 20; Rep. Itse, Rock. 10; Rep. McConnell, Ches. 12; Rep. Hull, Graf. 9


COMMITTEE:\tCriminal Justice and Public Safety






\tThis bill establishes a criminal penalty for prosecutorial misconduct.  


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Explanation:\tMatter added to current law appears in bold italics.

\t\tMatter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

\t\tMatter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.






In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Sixteen


AN ACT\trelative to prosecutorial misconduct.


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


\t1  New Section; Abuse of Office; Prosecutorial Misconduct.  Amend RSA 643 by inserting after section 2 the following new section:

\t643:3  Prosecutorial Misconduct.  Any prosecuting attorney employed by, or acting as an agent of, the state, a county, or a municipality, who knowingly prosecutes any individual who the prosecutor has reason to believe is innocent shall be guilty of a class B felony.  

\t2  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect January 1, 2017.








AN ACT\trelative to prosectorial misconduct.




The Judicial Branch, the Department of Justice and Corrections, and the New Hampshire Association of Counties state this bill, as introduced, will increase state and county expenditures by an indeterminable amount in FY 2017 and each year thereafter.  There will be no impact on state, county, and local revenue or on local expenditures.



The Judicial Branch states this bill would enact RSA 643:3 making it a class B felony for a prosecutor to knowingly prosecute an individual who the prosecutor has reason to believe is innocent.  The Branch has no information on how many prosecutorial misconduct cases would be prosecuted, but does have information on the average cost of prosecuting such cases in the trial court.  The estimated average cost of a routine criminal case in the superior court will be $448.84 in FY 2017 and $469.80 in FY 2018.  The Branch states these amounts do not consider the cost of any appeals that may be taken following trial.  The Branch indicates the cost figures for routine criminal cases are based on studies of judicial and clerical weighted caseload times for processing the average routine criminal case.  These studies are now more than 10 years old for judicial time and over eight years old for clerical time.  In addition, the Branch states there have been changes during that time span with respect to the processing of these types of cases.  


The Department of Justice states its Public Integrity Unit investigates and prosecutes crimes committed by public officials in their official capacity including this type of offense.  The Department cannot estimate the number of additional investigations or prosecutions that may result and cannot determine the fiscal impact of the bill.


The Department of Corrections states the fiscal impact of this bill cannot be determined since the number of individuals who may be found guilty of the offense and subsequently sentenced to incarceration in a Department facility cannot be predicted.   The Department indicates the average annual cost of incarcerating an individual in the general population for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015 was $34,336.  The average cost to supervise an individual by the Department’s Division of Field Services for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015 was $520.


The New Hampshire Association of Counties states it is not able to determine what affect this bill may have on county prosecuting costs.  The Association indicates if a person was found guilty and sentenced to a county house of correction, the cost per day would be between $80 and $110 depending on the facility.


The New Hampshire Municipal Association states it cannot identify any impact on municipal revenues or expenditures.