SB 200-FN - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2017 SESSION

17-0966

04/03

 

SENATE BILL 200-FN

 

AN ACT relative to incarceration for nonpayment of an assessment or nonperformance of community service.

 

SPONSORS: Sen. Feltes, Dist 15; Sen. Bradley, Dist 3; Sen. Carson, Dist 14; Rep. Rouillard, Hills. 6; Rep. Berch, Ches. 1; Rep. W. Pearson, Ches. 16

 

COMMITTEE: Judiciary

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill requires appointment of counsel for an indigent defendant in cases involving nonpayment of an assessment or nonperformance of community service.

 

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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

17-0966

04/03

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Seventeen

 

AN ACT relative to incarceration for nonpayment of an assessment or nonperformance of community service.

 

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

 

1  New Section; Appointment of Counsel in Cases of Nonpayment or Nonperformance.  Amend RSA 604-A by inserting after section 2-e the following new section:

604-A:2-f  Appointment of Counsel for Nonpayment or Nonperformance.  

I.  No defendant shall be incarcerated after a final hearing for nonpayment of an assessment or nonperformance of community service unless counsel has been appointed for a defendant who is indigent or such defendant has executed a valid waiver of counsel for the final hearing.  Incarceration of such defendant may occur only if the court, after having conducted an ability to pay or ability to perform final hearing at which the court has made a specific inquiry of the defendant concerning his or her financial circumstances and his or her reasons for nonpayment or nonperformance, finds that the defendant willfully failed to pay the assessment or perform the community service.

II.  Prior to conducting an ability to pay or ability to perform final hearing, the court shall:

(a)  Provide the defendant with a financial affidavit and direct the defendant to complete the affidavit;

(b)  Inform the defendant that he or she may be immediately incarcerated if the court finds that he or she has willfully failed to comply with the court's prior order to pay an assessment or perform community service;

(c)  Inform the defendant that he or she is entitled to counsel for the final hearing in which incarceration is a possible outcome and, if the defendant cannot afford one, the court will appoint one; and

(d)  Explain the issues to be decided at the final hearing as well as the process provided.

III.  The court shall appoint counsel to represent an indigent defendant at a final hearing on an ability to pay or perform held pursuant to this section if incarceration is a possible outcome of the final hearing.

IV.  When the court appoints counsel to represent a defendant in a proceeding under this paragraph, the court shall grant the defendant relief from the obligation to repay the state for appointed counsel fees under RSA 604-A:9, I-b, if the court determines that the defendant is financially unable to repay.

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

 

LBAO

17-0966

1/27/17

 

SB 200-FN- FISCAL NOTE

as introduced

 

AN ACT relative to incarceration for nonpayment of an assessment or nonperformance of community service.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:      [ X ] State              [ X ] 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

 

 

 

 

 

COUNTY:

 

 

 

 

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

 

The Judicial Branch was originally contacted on December 22, 2017, with followup on January 18, 2017 for a fiscal note worksheet, which the Branch has not provided as of January 27, 2017.

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill prohibits the incarceration of a defendant following a final hearing for non-payment of an assessment or nonperformance of community service unless counsel has been appointed or the defendant has waived the right to counsel.  Prior to conducting an ability to pay final hearing, the court will appoint counsel to indigent defendants.  

 

The Judicial Council states most cases resulting from this bill would be handled by the Public Defenders Office and could be absorbed with existing resources.  In the event contract attorneys or assigned counsel is needed, costs would still probably not exceed $4,000 annually.  Based on the anticipated number of cases, 35 to 50 each year, this bill will not have a significant fiscal impact the Judicial Council's expenditures.

 

The New Hampshire Association of Counties states to the extent this bill results in more individuals being incarcerated county expenditures will increase by an indeterminable amount.  Average county incarceration costs range from $85 to $110 per day.

 

The Department of Corrections and Department of Justice state this bill will have no impact on their respective operating budgets.

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

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