Bill Text - HB284 (2017)

Relative to jury instructions in sexual assault cases.

Revision: Jan. 30, 2017, 10:49 a.m.










AN ACT relative to jury instructions in sexual assault cases.


SPONSORS: Rep. P. Schmidt, Straf. 19; Rep. Patten, Merr. 17


COMMITTEE: Criminal Justice and Public Safety






This bill makes changes to the jury instruction procedures in sexual assault cases.


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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.






In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Seventeen


AN ACT relative to jury instructions in sexual assault cases.


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


1  Sexual Assault and Related Procedures.  Amend RSA 632-A:6 to read as follows:

632-A:6  Testimony and Evidence.

I.  The testimony of the [victim] complainant shall not be required to be corroborated in prosecutions under this chapter.  When the court instructs a jury that the complainant's testimony need not be corroborated, the court shall give a corresponding instruction that the defendant's testimony also need not be corroborated.

II.  Prior consensual sexual activity between the [victim] complainant and any person other than the [actor] defendant shall not be admitted into evidence in any prosecution under this chapter.

III.  Consent is no defense if, at the time of the sexual assault, the [victim]  complainant indicates by speech or conduct that there is not freely given consent to performance of the sexual act.  A jury is not required to infer consent from a [victim's]  complainant's failure to physically resist a sexual assault.

III-a.  The [victim's] complainant's manner of dress at the time of the sexual assault shall not be admitted as evidence in any prosecution under this chapter to infer consent.

IV.  At the request of a party the court shall, in cases under RSA 632-A, order witnesses excluded so that they cannot hear the testimony of other witnesses, and it may make the order of its own motion.  This does not authorize exclusion of a party who is a natural person or [a] an alleged victim of the crime, or a person whose presence is shown by a party to be essential to the presentation of the party's cause.

V.  In any sexual assault case under RSA 632-A where the [victim] complainant is 16 years of age or younger, and the defense has listed as a witness or subpoenaed a parent or parents to testify in the case and requested that the parent or parents be sequestered, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to determine the best interests of the minor [victim] complainant.  The guardian ad litem shall make a recommendation to the court, based on the preferences and best interests of the [victim] minor complainant, as to whether the parent or parents should be permitted to sit with the [victim] minor complainant in the court room during the duration of the trial.

2  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.