additional commentary by Rep. Timothy Horrigan; December 30, 2015
This one might get some publicity.
HB 1547-FN - AS INTRODUCED
HOUSE BILL 1547-FN
AN ACT prohibiting beastiality.
SPONSORS: Rep. Rogers, Merr. 28; Rep. Baldasaro, Rock. 5; Rep. Burt, Hills. 39; Rep. Ford, Graf. 3; Rep. Horrigan, Straf. 6; Rep. Berch, Ches. 1; Rep. C. Chase, Ches. 8; Rep. Abbott, Ches. 1; Sen. D'Allesandro, Dist 20
COMMITTEE: Criminal Justice and Public Safety
This bill establishes the crime of beastiality.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
removed from current law appears [
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Sixteen
AN ACT prohibiting beastiality.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 New Subdivision; Beastiality. Amend RSA 632-A by inserting after section 24 the following new subdivision:
I. A person commits, bestiality by intentionally committing any of the following acts:
(a) Engaging in organizing, promoting, conducting, advertising, aiding, abetting, participating in as an observer, or performing any service in the furtherance of sexual contact or sexual penetration with an animal.
(b) Offering or accepting the offer of an animal for consideration with the intent that it be subject to sexual contact or sexual penetration.
(c) Photographing or filming or distributing such photograpsh or films, for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification, of a person engaged in sexual contact or sexual penetration with an animal.
II. Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall be guilty of a class B felony.
III. In addition to any other penalty imposed for a violation of this section, the court shall order that the convicted person:
(a) Submit to a psychological assessment and participate in appropriate counseling at the convicted person’s own expense.
(b) Reimburse an animal shelter for any reasonable costs incurred for the care and maintenance of any animal that was taken to the animal shelter as a result of conduct proscribed by this section.
(c) Shall not own, harbor, exercise control over, or reside in the same household with any animal for a period of time deemed reasonable by the court.
IV. This section shall not apply to:
(a) Accepted veterinary medical practices performed by a licensed veterinarian or veterinary technician.
(b) Insemination of animals by the same species, bred for commercial purposes.
(c) Accepted animal husbandry practices that provide necessary care for animals bred for commercial purposes.
V. For purposes of this section, "animal" means a nonhuman mammal, bird, reptile, or amphibian, either dead or alive.
2 Effective Date. This act shall take effect January 1, 2017.
HB 1547-FN- FISCAL NOTE
AN ACT prohibiting beastiality.
The Judicial Branch, Judicial Council, Department of Corrections, and New Hampshire Association of Counties state this bill, as introduced, will increase state and county expenditures by an indeterminable amount in FY 2017 and each year thereafter. There will be no impact on state, county and local revenue or local expenditures.
The Judicial Branch states the proposed bill would add RSA 632-A:25, establishing the crime of bestiality. Convictions of the new offense would be a class B felony. The Branch has no information on how many class B felonies would be brought, but does have information on the average cost of processing such cases in the trial court. A felony offense for violation of the proposed RSA 632-A:25 would likely be classified as a complex criminal case in the superior court because of the sexual nature of the offense. The estimated cost to the Branch of the average complex criminal case will be $868.90 in FY 2017 and $894.83 in FY 2018. These numbers do not consider the cost of any appeals that may be taken following trial. The Branch indicates these cost figures are based on studies of judicial and clerical weighted caseload times for processing the average case and the studies are now more than ten years old for judicial time in both the superior and district courts and clerical time in the district court, and over eight years old for clerical time in the superior courts. The Branch states many changes have occurred during that time span with respect to these cases that would impact processing time.
The Judicial Council assumes this bill would expand the number of felony criminal offenses. The Council indicates it would have responsibility of ensuring that anyone charged with a class B felony offense created by this bill and who could not afford the assistance of counsel is provided a lawyer at State expense. The Council states, under the order of assignment in RSA 604-A:2, representation would be provided in the first instance by the Public Defender Program which handles over 85% of the indigent-defense cases in New Hampshire. The Council assumes there is capacity in the budget of the Public Defender Program to absorb a certain number of cases without needing additional appropriations. The Council assumes 14% of the cases could not be handled by the Public Defender due to conflicts-of-interest and representation in those cases would be provided by the Contract Attorney System at a cost of $785 per case for a class B felony. The final one percent of cases that could not be handled by either the Public Defender or the Contract Attorney System would be handled by assigned counsel. Assigned counsel attorneys are paid on an hourly basis at $60 per hour with a cap of $4,100 for this class of felony. The Council states, without information about the number of instance in which someone would be arrested for this offense, it is not possible to predict the extent of future costs.
The Department of Corrections has no information on which to estimate the number individuals that may be found guilty of a class B felony under this bill. The Department states the average annual cost of incarcerating an individual in the general population for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015 was $34,336. The average cost to supervise an individual by the Department’s Division of Field Services for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015 was $520.
The New Hampshire Association of Counties indicates it does not have information necessary to estimate the fiscal impact of this bill. The Association states prosecution costs vary depending upon the circumstances of each case and also vary by county. Incarceration costs range from $85 to $110 per day depending on the county.
The Department of Justice states this bill would create a class B felony offense for knowingly committing bestiality. The Department states because such offenses are typically handled by county prosecutors, passage of the bill would not impact the Department of Justice’s prosecutorial function. The Department indicates it would handle any appeals from convictions under the newly created offense and could do so within its current operating budget. As a result there would be no fiscal impact on the Department.