TITLE LIX
PROCEEDINGS IN CRIMINAL CASES

Chapter 592-B
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE IN SUPERIOR COURT

Section 592-B:1

    592-B:1 Jurisdiction. – The superior court shall have exclusive jurisdiction over felony complaints and misdemeanors and violation level charges that are directly related to those felonies. The superior court shall also have jurisdiction over de novo appeals of class A misdemeanors pursuant to RSA 599:1.

Source. 2015, 249:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2016, July 1, 2016 and Oct. 1, 2017.

Section 592-B:2

    592-B:2 Implementation Plan. –
I. Beginning January 1, 2016, the felonies first project shall become effective in the Cheshire county and Strafford county superior courts. Beginning July 1, 2016, the felonies first project shall become effective in Belknap county superior court.
II. This chapter shall take effect in the remaining superior courts as of the date set forth in an order issued by the supreme court. The remaining superior courts shall be added to the project in approximately the following order:
(a) Merrimack county superior court.
(b) Carroll county superior court.
(c) Hillsborough county superior court-northern district and Hillsborough county superior court-southern district. The municipalities included in each district shall be as listed in RSA 496:1.
(d) Grafton county superior court and Coos county superior court.
(e) Rockingham county superior court and Sullivan county superior court.
III. All felony and any directly related misdemeanor or violation level offenses alleged to have occurred on or after the effective date of this chapter in the county in which the offense allegedly occurred shall be filed in the superior court. All felony and any directly related misdemeanor or violation level offenses alleged to have occurred prior to the effective date of this chapter in the applicable county shall be filed under the law as it existed at the time of the alleged offense.
IV. The supreme court shall adopt rules and issue orders to effectuate the purposes of the felonies first project.
V. During the implementation of the felonies first project, this chapter shall supersede any statutory references to the filing of felony charges in circuit court district division or other statutes that are inconsistent with this chapter.
VI. Prior to the implementation of this chapter in counties other than Cheshire county, Strafford county, and Belknap county, the judicial council shall issue a report on the implementation of this chapter to the senate president, the speaker of the house of representatives, and the chairpersons of the senate and house judiciary committees. The judicial council shall survey the municipalities and counties affected by the felonies first project in order to obtain cost and effectiveness opinions. The judicial council shall evaluate the number of probable cause hearings requested, waived, denied, and held, and the final disposition of each probable cause hearing held. The judicial council shall also evaluate the number of discovery depositions requested, denied, and approved. Beginning July 1, 2017 and ending in January 2020, the judicial council shall issue an annual report on its recommendations and the implementation of this chapter to the senate president, the speaker of the house of representatives, and the chairpersons of the senate and house judiciary committees.

Source. 2015, 249:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2016, July 1, 2017 and Oct. 1, 2017.

Section 592-B:3

    592-B:3 Commencement of Criminal Proceeding. –
I. Criminal proceedings in superior court shall be commenced by the filing of a complaint by the attorney general, county attorney or the county attorney's designee, or by indictment by the grand jury. If a complaint is filed, the accused shall subsequently be indicted by a grand jury or waive grand jury indictment pursuant to RSA 601:2 for the case to proceed.
II. The complaint shall be addressed to the court and shall set forth by name or description the party accused and the offense charged. The description of an 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 for:
(a) Capital murder under RSA 630:1.
(b) First degree murder under RSA 630:1-a.
(c) Second degree murder under RSA 630:1-b.
(d) Manslaughter under RSA 630:2.
(e) Negligent homicide under RSA 630:3.
(f) First degree assault under RSA 631:1.
(g) Second degree assault under RSA 631:2.
(h) Aggravated felonious sexual assault under RSA 632-A:2.
(i) Felonious sexual assault under RSA 632-A:3.
(j) Kidnapping under RSA 633:1.
(k) Arson under RSA 634:1, I-III.
(l) Robbery under RSA 636:1.

Source. 2015, 249:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2016, July 1, 2016 and Oct. 1, 2017.

Section 592-B:4

    592-B:4 Warrants. – A justice of the peace or justice of the superior or circuit court, upon such complaint or indictment, may issue a warrant for the arrest of the person so charged with an offense committed or triable in the county, directed to the sheriff of any county or his deputy or to any constable or police officer of any town in the county.

Source. 2015, 249:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2016, July 1, 2016 and Oct. 1, 2017.

Section 592-B:5

    592-B:5 When Warrants Returnable to Superior Court. – If such warrant is issued, it shall be made returnable before the superior court having jurisdiction over the case and not elsewhere.

Source. 2015, 249:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2016, July 1, 2016 and Oct. 1, 2017.

Section 592-B:6

    592-B:6 Discovery. –
I. Prior to indictment, the accused shall have the same rights to discovery and deposition as the accused has subsequent to indictment, provided that all judicial proceedings with respect thereto shall be within the jurisdiction of the superior court, and notice of petition and hearing shall be given to the county attorney, or to the attorney general if the attorney general shall have entered the case.
II. For incarcerated defendants, the state shall provide or make available to defense counsel, or directly to the defendant if he or she is not represented by an attorney, copies of all discovery in its possession, no more than 10 calendar days after the arraignment of the defendant, unless otherwise ordered by the court. For non-incarcerated defendants, the state shall provide or make available to defense counsel, or directly to the defendant if he or she is not represented by an attorney, copies of all discovery in its possession, no more than 20 calendar days after the arraignment of the defendant, unless otherwise ordered by the court. The state may request an extension of the discovery deadlines for complex case types.
III. The court may, upon motion, authorize the delay of the provision of discovery materials to the defense. Under such circumstances, the court shall make findings in support of its order and shall set a new date for the provision of such materials to the defense.
IV. If the court has determined that discovery has not been provided pursuant to the timeline established in paragraph II or III, and the defendant has not been indicted, the court shall schedule a probable cause hearing without unreasonable delay as a matter of right.
V. The state shall have a continuing obligation to provide discovery to defendants as it becomes available.

Source. 2015, 249:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2016, July 1, 2016 and Oct. 1, 2017.

Section 592-B:7

    592-B:7 Probable Cause. –
I. A defendant may challenge probable cause during the period from arrest to indictment by motion requesting a probable cause hearing under the following conditions:
(a) A complaint has been filed in superior court;
(b) The defendant has not been indicted by the grand jury; and
(c) The defendant asserts a claim that a material element of the charge is without factual basis or that the charge is legally insufficient to constitute a felony offense.
II. Upon review of the motion, the court shall determine whether a hearing is necessary to assist the court in its determination of probable cause. The court shall not unreasonably deny a request for a hearing. If a hearing is scheduled, it shall be held as soon as the court docket permits, but in any event within 10 days of the filing of the motion if the defendant is incarcerated and within 20 days of the filing of the motion if the defendant is not incarcerated.
III. If an arrest is supported by an affidavit that was filed under seal, and the affidavit remains under seal at the time of the request for a probable cause hearing, a hearing shall be scheduled.
IV. If a hearing is held, the state shall bear the burden of proving there is probable cause to believe that a felony has been committed and that the person charged has committed it. At the hearing, the defendant may call witnesses, cross-examine witnesses, and present evidence.

Source. 2015, 249:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2016, July 1, 2016 and Oct. 1, 2017.

Section 592-B:8

    592-B:8 Dispositional Conference. – Upon entry of a plea of not guilty, the case shall be scheduled for a dispositional conference in accordance with superior court rules.

Source. 2015, 249:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2016, July 1, 2016 and Oct. 1, 2017.

Section 592-B:9

    592-B:9 Drug Courts or Alternative Drug Offender Programs. –
I. (a) In any county that has implemented or which will implement the felonies first project established in this chapter within one year of commencing operation of a drug court or alternative drug offender program, the judicial branch shall fund and operate an approved drug court or alternative drug offender program separate from the statewide drug offender grant program established in RSA 490-G, and at no cost to the county.
(b) Before the judicial branch funds and operates a drug court or alternative drug offender program in any county under subparagraph (a), the county shall have first applied for a federal grant for the purpose of establishing a program. A county shall be required to apply for a federal grant only once. Any county that applied for a federal grant before the effective date of this section shall not be required to apply again. In the event the county is awarded a federal grant, or any other grant from a nonprofit organization, designed to fund a drug court or alternative drug offender program, the judicial branch shall fund and operate a drug court or alternative drug offender program only after the federal or other nonprofit grant has expired. If the county does not receive a federal or other nonprofit grant for which it applied, the drug court or alternative drug offender program shall commence operation.
(c) The cost of the drug court or alternative drug offender program shall not exceed $490,000 per judicial district in a large county, $300,000 in a medium county, and $200,000 in a small county, based on the number of court filings in each judicial district and subject to annual review by the chief justice of the superior court.
II. A county in which the judicial branch is funding and operating an approved drug court or alternative drug offender program separate from the statewide drug offender grant program established in RSA 490-G:4 shall not be eligible to receive funds under the statewide drug offender grant program.

Source. 2016, 264:3, eff. June 15, 2016.