HB156 (2018) Detail

Including a fetus in the definition of "another" for purposes of certain criminal offenses.


HB 156-FN - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2017 SESSION

17-0085

04/03

 

HOUSE BILL 156-FN

 

AN ACT including a fetus in the definition of "another" for purposes of certain criminal offenses.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Notter, Hills. 21; Rep. Souza, Hills. 43; Rep. V. Sullivan, Hills. 16; Rep. Gould, Hills. 7; Rep. Katsakiores, Rock. 6; Rep. Murotake, Hills. 32; Rep. Baldasaro, Rock. 5; Rep. Hansen, Hills. 22; Sen. Avard, Dist 12; Sen. Daniels, Dist 11

 

COMMITTEE: Criminal Justice and Public Safety

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------

 

ANALYSIS

 

This bill provides that a fetus shall be included in the definition of “another” for the purpose of first and second degree murder, manslaughter, negligent homicide, and causing or aiding suicide.

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

17-0085

04/03

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Seventeen

 

AN ACT including a fetus in the definition of "another" for purposes of certain criminal offenses.

 

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

 

1  Short Title.  This act shall be known as Griffin's Law.

2  Homicide; Capital Murder.  Amend RSA 630:1, IV to read as follows:

IV.  As used in this section [and RSA 630:1-a, 1-b, 2, 3 and 4], the meaning of “another” [does] shall not include a [foetus] fetus.

3  New Paragraphs; First Degree Murder; Definition of Another; Exemption for Abortion.  Amend RSA 630:1-a by inserting after paragraph III the following new paragraphs:

IV.  For the purposes of this section and RSA 630:1-b, RSA 630:2, RSA 630:3, and RSA 630:4, the meaning of “another” shall mean another person, or a fetus as defined in subparagraph V(b).

V.(a)  Nothing in this section or RSA 630:1-b, RSA 630:2, RSA 630:3, or RSA 630:4 shall apply to any act committed by the woman pregnant with the fetus, to any medical procedure, including abortion, performed by a physician or other licensed medical professional at the request of the pregnant woman or her legal guardian, or to the lawful dispensation or administration of lawfully prescribed medication.  For the purposes of this section and RSA 630:1-b, RSA 630:2, RSA 630:3, or RSA 630:4, “abortion” means the act of using or prescribing any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance, device, or means with the intent to terminate the clinically diagnosable pregnancy of a woman with knowledge that the termination by those means will, with reasonable likelihood, cause the death of the fetus.  Such use, prescription, or means is not an abortion if done with the intent to save the life or preserve the health of a fetus, or to remove a dead fetus caused by spontaneous abortion, or to remove an ectopic pregnancy.

(b)  In this section, “fetus” means an unborn offspring, from the embryo stage which is the end of the eighth week after conception or, in the case of in vitro fertilization, the end of the eighth week after implantation, until birth.

4  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect January 1, 2018.

 

LBAO

17-0085

Revised 1/11/17

 

HB 156-FN- FISCAL NOTE

AS INTRODUCED

 

AN ACT including a fetus in the definition of "another" for purposes of certain criminal offenses.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:      [ X ] State              [    ] County               [    ] Local              [    ] None

 

 

 

Estimated Increase / (Decrease)

STATE:

FY 2018

FY 2019

FY 2020

FY 2021

   Appropriation

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Funding Source:

  [ X ] General            [    ] Education            [    ] Highway           [    ] Other

 

 

 

 

 

METHODOLOGY:

The proposed bill would amend RSA 630:1, IV and RSA 630:1-a, IV to include a fetus in the definition of "another" for the purpose of first and second degree murder, manslaughter, negligent homicide, and causing or aiding suicide, while maintaining the exclusion of a fetus from the definition of another in the capital murder statute.  Proposed RSA 630:1-a, V(a) excludes medical procedures from the proposed expansion of the definition of "another".  If enacted, the bill may result in an additional count in existing cases, or an additional criminal case in situations where the only victim is the fetus.  

 

An additional count added to a case that would have occurred anyway would increase the time needed to present evidence and consider appeals resulting from the additional count.  In addition, because of the presence of a charge relating to a fetus, the case would likely generate publicity adding to the potential cost.  An additional criminal case in situations where the only victim is the fetus would have a greater fiscal impact.  The potential sentences for offenses subject to the proposed statute almost always result in jury trials.  The cost of a full day jury trial in the superior court is estimated to be $2,142 in fiscal year 2018 and $2,157 in fiscal year 2019.  Additional costs for preliminary hearings, time to write a charge to the jury,  and clerical processing related to the jury would make the cost of a jury trial well in excess of the costs above.  If a decision was appealed, several thousand dollars of additional costs would be incurred in judge, law clerk and staff time at the Supreme Court.  The Judicial Branch has no way to estimate how many prosecutions may be brought pursuant to this bill and the costs would vary depending on the severity of the charges.  

 

Indigent defense in homicide cases is not covered by the state contract with the Public Defender, such cases are handled by assigned counsel.  Assigned counsel are reimbursed at a rate of $100 per hour up to $20,000 for homicide cases.  The additional time to prepare for a second victim would likely be significant.  In addition to the cost of an attorney, additional case specific costs may be incurred for medical experts and for non-counsel services which the court deems necessary for an adequate defense.  Due to the unpredictable nature of such cases, the  Judicial Council is not able to estimate the potential cost for indigent defense.

 

The Department of Justice prosecutes all murder cases and some manslaughter cases, but it is not able estimate how many new prosecutions would be brought as a result of this bill.  The fiscal impact on the Department of Justice is indeterminate.

 

While the number of individuals who would be subject to this legislation is not known, the Department of Correction's average annual cost of incarcerating an individual in the general population was $35,832 in fiscal year 2016.  The average annual cost to supervise an individual by the Department of Corrections, Division of Field Services was $520 in fiscal year 2016.  

 

The New Hampshire Association of Counties states this bill will have no fiscal impact on county expenditures or revenue.

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Judicial Branch, Judicial Council, Department of Justice, Department of Corrections, and New Hampshire Association of Counties

 

 

 

Links

HB156 at GenCourtMobile

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Jan. 19, 2017 House Hearing
Feb. 7, 2017 House Hearing
Feb. 8, 2017 House Exec Session
Nov. 14, 2017 House Exec Session
Jan. 3, 2018 House Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

HB156 Revision: 2486 Date: Jan. 30, 2017, 3:06 p.m.

Docket

Date Status
Jan. 4, 2017 Introduced 01/04/2017 and referred to Criminal Justice and Public Safety HJ 2 P. 18
Jan. 19, 2017 ==RECESSED== Public Hearing: 01/19/2017 10:00 AM LOB 204
Feb. 7, 2017 ==CONTINUED== Public Hearing: 02/07/2017 02:30 PM LOB 204
Feb. 8, 2017 Executive Session: 02/08/2017 LOB 204
Retained in Committee
May 23, 2017 Retained Bill Full Committee Work Session: 05/23/2017 11:30 AM LOB 204
Nov. 14, 2017 Retained Bill Subcommittee Work Session: 11/14/2017 09:30 AM LOB 204
Nov. 14, 2017 Executive Session: 11/14/2017 10:00 AM LOB 204
Jan. 3, 2018 Committee Report: Inexpedient to Legislate for 01/03/2018 (Vote 14-6; RC)
Jan. 3, 2018 Lay HB 156 on Table (Rep. Wuelper): MA VV 01/03/2018 HJ 1 P. 53
March 22, 2018 Remove from Table (Rep. Souza): MF RC 113-175 03/22/2018 HJ 10 P. 16