HB603 (2021) Detail

Relative to manslaughter and the use of deadly force in circumstances involving the sale or use of a controlled drug or controlled drug analog.


HB 603-FN - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2021 SESSION

21-0472

04/05

 

HOUSE BILL 603-FN

 

AN ACT relative to manslaughter and the use of deadly force in circumstances involving the sale or use of a controlled drug or controlled drug analog.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Vincent, Straf. 17

 

COMMITTEE: Criminal Justice and Public Safety

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill expands the manslaughter statute to apply to circumstances where the conduct causing the death is directly or indirectly related to the sale, transfer, injection, or ingestion of any schedule I-IV controlled drug or controlled drug analog and provides that the use of deadly force is not justified in such circumstances.  The bill also renders a dealer liable for the conduct of another resulting from the ingestion or use of a controlled drug or controlled drug analog.

 

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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

21-0472

04/05

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty One

 

AN ACT relative to manslaughter and the use of deadly force in circumstances involving the sale or use of a controlled drug or controlled drug analog.

 

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

 

1  Controlled Drug Act; Penalties.  Amend RSA 318-B:26, IX to read as follows:

IX.  Any person who manufactures, sells, or dispenses methamphetamine, lysergic acid, diethylamide phencyclidine (PCP) or any other controlled drug classified in schedules I or II, or any controlled drug analog thereof, in violation of RSA 318-B:2, I or I-a, is strictly liable for a death, or any conduct of another as defined in RSA 626:8, which results from the injection, inhalation or ingestion of that substance, and may be sentenced to imprisonment for life or for such term as the court may order.  For purposes of this section, the person's act of manufacturing, dispensing, or selling a substance is the cause of a death when:

2  Homicide; Manslaughter.  Amend RSA 630:2, I to read as follows:

I.  A person is guilty of manslaughter when [he] such person causes the death of another:

(a)  Under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance caused by extreme provocation but which would otherwise constitute murder; or

(b)  Recklessly; or

(c)  Where the conduct causing the death is directly or indirectly related to the sale, transfer, injection, or ingestion of any schedule I-IV controlled drug or controlled drug analog, as those terms are defined in RSA 318-B:1.

3  New Paragraph; Physical Force in Defense of a Person; Use of Deadly Force Not Justified.  Amend RSA 627:4 by inserting after paragraph III the following new paragraph:

IV.  A person is not justified in using deadly force if the person was involved in the illegal sale, transfer, injection, or ingestion of a controlled drug or controlled drug analog, as those terms are defined in RSA 318-B:1,

4  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect January 1, 2022.

 

LBA

21-0472

1/13/21

 

HB 603-FN- FISCAL NOTE

AS INTRODUCED

 

AN ACT relative to manslaughter and the use of deadly force in circumstances involving the sale or use of a controlled drug or controlled drug analog.

 

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

 

 

 

Estimated Increase / (Decrease)

STATE:

FY 2021

FY 2022

FY 2023

FY 2024

   Appropriation

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

$0

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Funding Source:

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

 

 

 

 

 

COUNTY:

 

 

 

 

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

$0

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

 

 

 

 

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill expands the manslaughter statute to apply to circumstances where the conduct causing the death is directly or indirectly related to the sale, transfer, injection, or ingestion of any schedule I-IV controlled drug or controlled drug analog and provides that the use of deadly force is not justified in such circumstances.  The bill also renders a dealer liable for the conduct of another resulting from the ingestion or use of a controlled drug or controlled drug analog.  The bill contains penalties that may have an impact on the New Hampshire judicial and correctional systems.  There is no method to determine how many charges would be brought as a result of the changes contained in this bill to determine the fiscal impact on expenditures.  However, the entities impacted have provided the potential costs associated with these penalties below.

 

Judicial Branch

FY 2021

FY 2022

Routine Criminal Felony Case

$494

$494

Appeals

Varies

Varies

It should be noted that average case cost estimates for FY 2021 and FY 2022 are based on data that is more than ten years old and does not reflect changes to the courts over that same period of time or the impact these changes may have on processing the various case types.  

Department of Corrections

 

 

FY 2020 Average Cost of Incarcerating an Individual

$47,691

$47,691

FY 2020 Annual Marginal Cost of a General Population Inmate

$6,407

$6,407

FY 2020 Average Cost of Supervising an Individual on Parole/Probation

$584

$584

NH Association of Counties

 

 

County Prosecution Costs

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Estimated Average Daily Cost of Incarcerating an Individual

$105 to $120

$105 to $120

 

The Judicial Council assumes this bill would not increase the number of cases brought because the conduct causing the death would already be covered by the manslaughter statute and conduct causing death that is related to drug use would likely be covered by other statutes as well. The proposed language could be used to charge a dealer for a sale when the buyer commits a crime, but if police have sufficient evidence of the sale to bring charges, they could already charge the dealer under the existing statutes.  When considering whether to charge a person with a crime for conduct the defendant allegedly engaged in during a drug transaction, removing the availability of a self-defense justification would make the decision easier. While it is not possible to determine how often police do not bring charges because a person claims self-defense for an assault that occurred during a drug deal, the Council assumes it is not common. The Council does not expect this bill to result in a significant increase in the number of individuals being charged with a crime and estimates there will be no significant fiscal impact on indigent defense expenditures.

The Department of Justice prosecutes some drug-related offenses, including “death resulting” cases.  It also prosecutes all homicides in the State.  This legislation would reduce the potential sentence in “death resulting” cases and prevent criminal defendants involved in the drug trade from relying upon self-defense or defense of another defenses in homicide prosecutions.  Although this would change some of the process in those cases, it is unlikely to increase the number of investigations or prosecutions of the offenses prosecuted by the Department of Justice.  Any costs can likely be absorbed into the Department’s existing budget.

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

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

 

Links

HB603 at GenCourtMobile
HB603 Discussion

Action Dates

Date Body Type
March 1, 2021 House Hearing

Bill Text Revisions

HB603 Revision: 31953 Date: Jan. 13, 2021, 4:11 p.m.

Docket


March 1, 2021: Public Hearing: 03/01/2021 02:30 pm Members of the public may attend using the following link: To join the webinar: https://www.zoom.us/j/93127871930 / Executive session on pending legislation may be held throughout the day (time permitting) from the time the committee is initially convened.


Jan. 6, 2021: Introduced (in recess of) 01/06/2021 and referred to Criminal Justice and Public Safety HJ 2 P. 56