Bill Details - HB155 (2019)

HB 155 - AS AMENDED BY THE HOUSE

 

14Mar2019... 0746h

2019 SESSION

19-0097

04/06

 

HOUSE BILL 155

 

AN ACT relative to procedures for determining and disclosing exculpatory evidence in a police officer's personnel file.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Berch, Ches. 1; Rep. Bordenet, Ches. 5; Rep. Conley, Straf. 13; Rep. Keans, Straf. 23; Rep. Abbott, Ches. 1; Rep. K. Murray, Rock. 24; Rep. Janvrin, Rock. 37; Rep. Sylvia, Belk. 6; Rep. McLean, Hills. 44; Rep. Gagne, Hills. 13

 

COMMITTEE: Criminal Justice and Public Safety

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill requires a determination of whether information in a police officer's personnel file constitutes exculpatory evidence and allows a police officer who has information determined to be exculpatory evidence in his or her personnel file to have an opportunity to challenge the disciplinary finding.

 

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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

14Mar2019... 0746h 19-0097

04/06

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Nineteen

 

AN ACT relative to procedures for determining and disclosing exculpatory evidence in a police officer's personnel file.

 

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

 

1  New Subdivision; Disclosure of Exculpatory Evidence.  Amend RSA 105 by inserting after section 13-c the following new subdivision:

Disclosure of Exculpatory Evidence

105:13-d  Disclosure of Exculpatory Evidence.

I.  In this subdivision:

(a)  "Exculpatory evidence" means any information required to be disclosed to the defendant in a criminal case under the federal constitution or the state constitution.

(b)  "Personnel file" includes all employment records and any related internal affairs investigations.

II.  The prosecutor shall have access to the complete personnel file of any police officer who may be a witness for either party in any criminal case for the purpose of determining the existence of potentially exculpatory evidence.  If the prosecutor cannot determine whether such evidence is exculpatory, he or she shall petition the court for an in camera review of the evidence.  No prosecutor who reviews a police officer's personnel file shall disclose any information obtained as a result of the review, except as required in this paragraph or to the extent necessary to comply with the federal constitution or state constitution.  Only those portions of the file which the prosecutor or court determines to be relevant in the case as exculpatory evidence shall be released to a defendant in accordance with all applicable rules regarding evidence in criminal cases.  The remainder of the file shall be returned to the police department employing or that employed the officer.  The remainder of the file shall be, unless otherwise provided by law, subject to RSA 91-A and any applicable exemptions, including the exemption for personnel information whose disclosure would constitute an invasion of privacy under RSA 91-A:5, IV.  

III.(a)  When the head of a law enforcement agency determines that a police officer's personnel file may contain potentially exculpatory evidence, he or she shall notify the police officer of that determination.  The police officer shall have the opportunity to challenge the disciplinary finding or other administrative action resulting from the potentially exculpatory evidence through available contractual, administrative, and legal means.  However, the pendency of such challenge shall not prevent the disclosure of the potentially exculpatory evidence in a criminal proceeding in which an officer is a potential witness.  Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the due process protections provided to police officers concerning placement on the exculpatory evidence schedule, including:

(1)  The requirement that the head of the law enforcement agency provide notice to the officer concerning placement on the schedule;

(2)  The requirement that the head of the law enforcement agency afford the officer the opportunity to present evidence which the officer believes demonstrates why placement on the schedule is not warranted;

(3)  The requirement that placement on the schedule can only occur after a finding of sustained finding of misconduct by the head of the law enforcement agency after investigation; and

(4)  The protocol for removal of an officer’s name from the schedule where a sustained finding of misconduct has been overturned.  

(b)  Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting a police officer's ability to file a declaratory judgment action under RSA 491:22 seeking a court order removing the officer’s name from the exculpatory evidence schedule.

IV.  The duty to disclose exculpatory evidence that should have been disclosed prior to trial shall be an ongoing duty that extends beyond a finding of guilt.

V.  The exculpatory evidence schedule maintained by the department of justice shall be a public record for purpose of RSA 91-A.

105:13-e  Termination Prohibited.  No police officer shall have his or her employment terminated based solely on a determination that the officer has potentially exculpatory evidence in his or her personnel file which may need to be disclosed to a criminal defendant.  Nothing in this section shall prohibit the employing authority from terminating a police officer's employment based on conduct that is the subject of the exculpatory evidence.

2  Repeal.  RSA 105:13-b, relative to confidentiality of police personnel files, is repealed.

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

Docket

Date Status
Jan. 2, 2019 Introduced 01/02/2019 and referred to Criminal Justice and Public Safety HJ 2 P. 39
Jan. 31, 2019 Vacated and Referred to Judiciary (): MA VV 01/31/2019 HJ 4 P. 2
Feb. 26, 2019 ==TIME CHANGE== Public Hearing: 02/26/2019 01:30 pm LOB 208
March 15, 2019 Executive Session: 03/15/2019 11:00 am LOB 208
March 5, 2019 Executive Session: 03/05/2019 11:00 am LOB 208
March 14, 2019 Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2019-0746h for 03/14/2019 (Vote 19-0; CC) HC 15 P. 4
Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2019-0746h (Vote 19-0; CC)
March 14, 2019 Amendment # 2019-0746h: AA VV 03/14/2019
March 14, 2019 Ought to Pass with Amendment 2019-0746h: MA VV 03/14/2019

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Feb. 26, 2019 House Hearing
March 15, 2019 House Exec Session
March 5, 2019 House Exec Session
House Floor Vote
March 14, 2019 House Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

HB155 Revision: 4351 Date: Dec. 28, 2018, 10:49 a.m.
HB155 Revision: 5521 Date: March 14, 2019, 1:39 p.m.