HB1671 (2018) Detail

Abolishing the death penalty.


HB 1671-FN - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2018 SESSION

18-2185

04/03

 

HOUSE BILL 1671-FN

 

AN ACT abolishing the death penalty.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Burridge, Ches. 16; Rep. Dyer, Hills. 37; Rep. Read, Rock. 17; Rep. Fenton, Ches. 8

 

COMMITTEE: Criminal Justice and Public Safety

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill abolishes the death penalty in New Hampshire.

 

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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

18-2185

04/03

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eighteen

 

AN ACT abolishing the death penalty.

 

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

 

1  Involuntary Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators; Definitions.  Amend RSA 135-E:2, XI to read as follows:

XI.  “Sexually violent offense” means:

(a)  [Capital murder in violation of RSA 630:1, I(e);

(b)]  First degree murder in violation of RSA 630:1-a, I(b)(1);

[(c)] (b)  Aggravated felonious sexual assault in violation of RSA 632-A:2;

[(d)] (c)  Felonious sexual assault in violation of RSA 632-A:3, III;

[(e)] (d)  Kidnapping in violation of RSA 633:1, I(d), where the offender confined the victim with the purpose to commit sexual assault against the victim;

[(f)] (e)  Burglary in violation of RSA 635:1, I, where the offender entered a building or occupied structure with the purpose to commit sexual assault;

[(g)] (f)  An attempt, criminal solicitation, or conspiracy, to commit any of the offenses listed above; or

[(h)] (g)  A violation of any other statute prohibiting the same conduct as the offenses listed above in another state, territory, or possession of the United States.

2  Access to Information by Victims of Violent Crime.  Amend RSA 169-B:35-a, I(c) to read as follows:

(c)  "Violent crime'' shall mean [capital,] first-degree or second-degree murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, aggravated felonious sexual assault, felonious sexual assault, first-degree assault, or negligent homicide committed in consequence of being under the influence of intoxicating liquor or controlled drugs, as these crimes are defined by statute.

3  School Employee and Volunteer Background Investigations.  Amend RSA 189:13-a, V to read as follows:

V.  Any person who has been charged pending disposition for or convicted of any violation or attempted violation of RSA [630:1;] 630:1-a; 630:1-b; 630:2; 632-A:2; 632-A:3; 632-A:4; 633:1; 639:2; 639:3; 645:1, II or III; 645:2; 649-A:3; 649-A:3-a; 649-A:3-b; 649-B:3; or 649-B:4; or any violation or any attempted violation of RSA 650:2 where the act involves a child in material deemed obscene; in this state, or under any statute prohibiting the same conduct in another state, territory, or possession of the United States, shall not be hired by a school administrative unit, school district, chartered public school, or public academy.  The superintendent of the school administrative unit or the chief executive officer of the chartered public school or public academy may deny a selected applicant a final offer of employment if such person has been convicted of any crime, misdemeanor or felony, in addition to those listed above.  The governing body of a school district, chartered public school, or public academy shall adopt a policy relative to hiring practices based on the results of the criminal history records check and report of misdemeanors and felonies received under paragraph II.  Such policy may include language stating that any person who has been convicted of any misdemeanor, or any of a list of misdemeanors, may not be hired.  Such policy may also include language stating that any person who has been convicted of any felony, or any of a list of felonies, shall not be hired.

4  Jurisdiction; Complaints.  Amend RSA 592-A:7, II to read as follows:

II.  The description of the accused may include an identifiable ridge skin impression or a DNA profile.  A complaint that contains only an identifiable ridge skin impression or DNA profile, and that alleges one or more of the following offenses shall, upon its filing, toll the applicable statute of limitations under RSA 625:8:

(a)  [Capital murder under RSA 630:1.

(b)]  First degree murder under RSA 630:1-a.

[(c)] (b)  Second degree murder under RSA 630:1-b.

[(d)] (c)  Manslaughter under RSA 630:2.

[(e)] (d)  Negligent homicide under RSA 630:3.

[(f)] (e)  First degree assault under RSA 631:1.

[(g)] (f)  Second degree assault under RSA 631:2.

[(h)] (g)  Aggravated felonious sexual assault under RSA 632-A:2.

[(i)] (h)  Felonious sexual assault under RSA 632-A:3.

[(j)]  (i)  Kidnapping under RSA 633:1.

[(k)] (j)  Arson under RSA 634:1, I-III.

[(l)] (k)  Robbery under RSA 636:1.

5  Bail and Recognizances.  Amend RSA 597:1-a, I to read as follows:

I.  After conviction for an offense punishable [by death or,] by a term of life imprisonment without possibility of parole, or for aggravated felonious sexual assault or felonious sexual assault, a defendant shall not be allowed bail.

6  Charging Manner of Death.  Amend RSA 601:6 to read as follows:

601:6  Charging Manner of Death.  In indictments charging any degree of murder[, including capital murder,] it is not necessary to set forth the manner in which or the means by which the death of the deceased was caused, but it is sufficient in an indictment for murder to charge the culpable mental state applicable and, where appropriate, the particular circumstances set forth in [RSA 630:1, I,] RSA 630:1-a, I[,] or RSA 630:1-b, I, constituting an element of the offense charged, and in an indictment for manslaughter to charge the culpable mental state applicable and, where appropriate, the particular circumstances set forth in RSA 630:2 constituting an element of the offense charged.

7  Rights of Accused.  Amend RSA 604:1 to read as follows:

604:1  [Capital Cases and] First Degree Murder.  Every person indicted [for an offense punishable by death or] for murder in the first degree shall be entitled to a copy of the indictment before he or she is arraigned thereon; to a list of the witnesses to be used and of the jurors returned to serve on the trial, with the place of abode of each, to be delivered to him or her 24 hours before the trial; and to process from court to compel witnesses to appear and testify at the trial; provided, however, the justice presiding at the trial may admit the testimony of any witness whose name and place of abode is not on the list hereinbefore provided for upon such notice to the respondent as [he,] the presiding justice[,] shall direct, whenever, in his or her discretion, [he] the presiding justice deems such action will promote justice.

8  Adequate Representation for Indigent Defendants; Appointment of Counsel.  Amend RSA 604-A:2, I to read as follows:

I.  In every criminal case in which the defendant is charged with a felony or a class A misdemeanor and appears without counsel, the court before which he or she appears shall advise the defendant that he or she has a right to be represented by counsel and that counsel will be appointed to represent him or her if he or she is financially unable to obtain counsel.  Unless the defendant waives the appointment of counsel, if the defendant indicates to the court that he or she is financially unable to obtain counsel, the court shall instruct the defendant to complete a financial affidavit in such form as designated by the unit of cost containment.  If after review of the financial affidavit and application of the rules established pursuant to RSA 604-A:10, IV the court is satisfied that the defendant is financially unable to obtain counsel, the court shall appoint counsel to represent him or her[; provided, however, that in any case in which the defendant is charged with a capital offense, the court may appoint 2 counsel to represent him or her]. Whenever defendants have such conflicting interests that they cannot be properly represented by the same counsel, or when other good cause is shown, the court shall appoint separate counsel for each of them.  In a post-conviction proceeding in which a defendant seeks to attack the validity of an underlying conviction, the court shall appoint counsel or approve a request for services other than counsel when the interests of justice or judicial economy require.

9  Challenges; Defendant.  Amend RSA 606:3 to read as follows:

606:3  Challenges; Defendant.  Every person arraigned and put on trial for an offense may, in addition to challenges for cause or unless he or she stands wilfully mute, peremptorily challenge:

I.  [20 jurors for capital murder.

II.]  15 jurors for murder in the first degree.

[III.] II.  3 jurors in any other case.

10  Challenges; State.  Amend RSA 606:4 to read as follows:

606:4  Challenges; State.  The state shall be entitled to the following number of peremptory challenges, in addition to challenges for cause, in the following cases:

I.  [Upon the trial for capital murder, 10 challenges.

II.]  Upon the trial for murder in the first degree, 15 challenges.

[III.] II.  Upon the trial for any other case, 3 challenges.

11  Waiver of Jury Trial in Certain Cases.  Amend RSA 606:7 to read as follows:

606:7  Waiver of Jury Trial in Certain Cases.  Any defendant in the superior court in a criminal case [other than a capital case] may, if [he] the defendant shall so elect, when called upon to plead, or later and before a jury has been impaneled to try [him] the defendant, waive [his] the defendant’s right to trial by jury by signing a written waiver thereof and filing the same with the clerk of the court, whereupon [he] the defendant shall be tried by the court instead of by a jury, but not, however, unless all the defendants, if there are 2 or more to be tried together for the same offense, shall have exercised such election before a jury has been impaneled to try any of the defendants.  In every such case the court shall have jurisdiction to hear and try the case and render judgment and sentence thereon.

12  Offer of Reward.  Amend RSA 610:1 to read as follows:

610:1  Offer of Reward.  The county commissioners of any county, the city council of a city, and the selectmen of a town are authorized, whenever in their opinion the public good requires it, to offer and pay from the treasury of such county, city, or town a suitable reward, not exceeding $300 in any one case, to any person who shall, in consequence of such offer, apprehend and secure any person or persons charged with having committed a [capital or other] high crime.

13  Uniform Criminal Extradition Law; Bail.  Amend RSA 612:16 to read as follows:

612:16  Bail; In What Cases; Conditions of Bond.  Unless the offense with which the prisoner is charged is shown to be an offense punishable by [death or] life imprisonment under the laws of the state in which it was committed, a judge or magistrate in this state may admit the person arrested to bail by bond, with sufficient sureties in such sum as he or she deems proper, conditioned for his or her appearance before the judge or magistrate at a time specified in such bond, and for his or her surrender, to be arrested upon the warrant of the governor of this state.

14  Taking a Firearm from a Law Enforcement Officer.  Amend RSA 642:3-a, V(b) to read as follows:

(b)  “Law enforcement officer” means [law enforcement officer as defined in RSA 630:1, II] a sheriff or deputy sheriff of any county, a state police officer, a constable or police officer of any city or town, an official or employee of any prison, jail, or corrections institution, a probation-parole officer, or a conservation officer.

15  Obstructing Governmental Operations; Bail Jumping.  Amend RSA 642:8, III(a)(1) to read as follows:

(1)  An offense punishable by [death,] life imprisonment[,] or imprisonment of a maximum term of 15 years or more, he or she shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than 15 years, or both;

16  Annulment of Criminal Records.  Amend RSA 651:5, XIII(a) to read as follows:

(a)  [Capital murder,] First or second degree murder, manslaughter, or class A felony negligent homicide under RSA 630;

17  Victims of Certain Violent Crimes Permitted to Speak.  Amend RSA 651:4-a to read as follows:

651:4-a  Right of Crime Victim to Address Judge; Defendant Required to Personally Appear.  Before a judge sentences or suspends or reduces the sentence of any person for [capital,] first degree or second degree murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, aggravated felonious sexual assault, felonious sexual assault, first degree assault, or negligent homicide committed in consequence of being under the influence of intoxicating liquor or controlled drugs, the victim of the offense, or the victim's next of kin if the victim has died, shall have the opportunity to address the judge.  The victim or victim's next of kin may appear personally or by counsel and may reasonably express his or her views concerning the offense, the person responsible, and the need for restitution.  The prosecutor and the attorney for the defendant may be present when the victim or victim's next of kin so addresses the judge.  The defendant shall personally appear in court when the victim or victim's next of kin addresses the judge, unless excused by the court.  The judge may consider the statements of the victim or next of kin made pursuant to this section when imposing sentence or making a decision regarding sentence reduction or sentence suspension.

18  Release From State Prison.  Amend RSA 651:25, VI(a) to read as follows:

(a)  The prisoner has been sentenced to the state prison for an offense other than [capital,] first degree or second degree murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, aggravated felonious sexual assault, felonious sexual assault, or first degree assault;

19  Registration of Criminal Offenders; Definitions.  Amend RSA 651-B:1, V(a) to read as follows:

(a)  [Capital murder, RSA 630:1, I(e);] First degree murder, RSA 630:1-a, I(b)(1); aggravated felonious sexual assault, RSA 632-A:2; felonious sexual assault, 632-A:3; sexual assault, 632-A:4, I(a) or RSA 632-A:4, III; violation of privacy, RSA 644:9, I(a) or RSA 644:9, III-a; or a second or subsequent offense within a 5-year period for indecent exposure and lewdness, RSA 645:1, I.

20  Registration of Criminal Offenders; Definitions.  Amend RSA 651-B:1, VII(a) to read as follows:

(a)  Any of the following offenses, where the victim was under the age of 18 at the time of the offense: [capital murder, RSA 630:1, I(e);] first degree murder, RSA 630:1-a, 1(b)(1); aggravated felonious sexual assault, RSA 632-A:2; felonious sexual assault, RSA 632-A:3; sexual assault, RSA 632-A:4, I(a) or RSA 632-A:4, III; kidnapping, RSA 633:1; criminal restraint, RSA 633:2; false imprisonment, RSA 633:3; incest, RSA 639:2; violation of privacy, RSA 644:9, I(a) or RSA 644:9, III-a; a second or subsequent offense within a 5-year period for indecent exposure and lewdness, RSA 645:1, I; indecent exposure and lewdness, RSA 645:1, II and RSA 645:1, III; or prostitution, RSA 645:2.

21  Registration of Criminal Offenders; Definitions.  Amend RSA 651-B:1, X(a) to read as follows:

(a)  [RSA 630:1, I(e),] RSA 630:1-a, I(b)(1), RSA 632-A:2, RSA 632-A:3, III, RSA 632-A:3, IV if the victim was under the age of 13, RSA 633:1; or RSA 639:2.

22  Repeal.  The following are repealed:

I.  RSA 592-B:3, II(a), relative to capital murder.

II.  RSA 606:6, relative to rebutting evidence in capital cases.

III.  RSA 630:1, relative to capital murder.

IV.  RSA 630:5, relative to sentencing procedures and the death penalty.

V.  RSA 630:6, relative to places of and witnesses to executions.

23  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect upon its passage.

 

LBAO

18-2185

11/8/17

 

HB 1671-FN- FISCAL NOTE

AS INTRODUCED

 

AN ACT abolishing the death penalty.

 

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

 

 

 

Estimated Increase / (Decrease)

STATE:

FY 2019

FY 2020

FY 2021

FY 2022

   Appropriation

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

Indeterminable Decrease

Indeterminable Decrease

Indeterminable Decrease

Indeterminable Decrease

Funding Source:

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

 

 

 

 

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill would repeal the offense of capital murder.  What currently constitutes capital murder would likely be charged as first degree murder and carry with it a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

 

The Judicial Branch states this bill could reduce expenditures for the Branch because there would be no penalty phase trial which is required in a death penalty case and because life in prison cases are less hard-fought, usually resulting in shorter trials than in cases in which the death penalty is a possible outcome.  The Branch indicates there have been only two death penalty cases prosecuted to conclusion in the past decade and, over the years, New Hampshire has seen so few capital murder indictments that potential savings would be unquantifiable and sporadic.  Currently, no capital murder cases are pending trial.

 

The Judicial Council indicates there have been two capital cases handled by the indigent defense delivery system in the last 20 years.  One case was handled by the Public Defender without the need for an additional appropriation because the defended pleaded guilty early in the case in order to avoid the death penalty.  The second case has lasted ten years and the State has spent over $2.8 million in defense costs to date.  The Council indicates if the death penalty is repealed, it would not face the extraordinary expenditures necessary to provide representation to an indigent defendant in a capital case.

 

The Department of Justice states, as a general matter, capital murder cases in which the death penalty is sought are more expensive to investigate and prosecute than non-death penalty cases. The Department has prosecuted two death penalty cases; State of N.H. vs Brooks and State of N.H. vs Addison.  The cost of the Brooks case was $1.3 million and, to date, the cost to prosecute the Addison case has been $2.5 million. The Addison case will continue for several more years resulting in additional costs.  The Department indicates the cost to prosecute a first or second degree murder, which would be the equivalent of a non-death penalty capital murder case, is wide ranging.  In the past three years, three homicide cases have gone through the trial and appellate process.  The cost of those cases ranged from $403,333 to $549,995.  In the same period 13 homicide cases have been resolved by plea agreement.  The costs for those cases ranged from $16,350 to $174,298.  The Department states State expenditures would decrease as a result the bill, but it is not possible to estimate the amount.

 

The Department of Corrections is not able to determine the fiscal impact of the bill because it has no information that could be used to predict the number of individuals that would be subject to this legislation.  The average annual cost of incarcerating an individual in the  general population was $36,960 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017 and the annual marginal cost of an additional prisoner in the general population is $4,555.  The average cost to supervise an individual by the Department's Division of Field Services for the year ending June 30, 2017 was $557.

 

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

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

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

 

Links

HB1671 at GenCourtMobile

Action Dates

Date Body Type

Bill Text Revisions

HB1671 Revision: 2278 Date: Nov. 13, 2017, 1:25 p.m.

Docket

Date Status
Jan. 3, 2018 To Be Introduced 01/03/2018 and referred to Criminal Justice and Public Safety