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Bar News - August 19, 2015

Court News: Felonies First to Start in Strafford, Cheshire

The governor signed NH Senate Bill 124-FN, known as Felonies First, into law July 13. This significant change to New Hampshire criminal procedure is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2016, in Strafford and Cheshire counties, and on July 1, 2016, in Belknap County.

County attorneys’ offices will file all felonies, as well as their associated misdemeanors and violations, directly in superior court in the pilot counties, eliminating the former Circuit Court procedure for these cases, with the goal of resolving cases more quickly, but without sacrificing justice. Probable cause hearings will be held only following a request motion granted by the judge.

Additionally, the law includes new discovery deadlines and paves the way for new NH Supreme Court rules related to the Felonies First project. The NH Judicial Council is required to collect information and provide annual reports on the initiative to the courts, the Legislature and others.

Criminal law practitioners in Strafford County are encouraged to attend a brown bag lunch meeting at noon Thursday, Sept. 10, at Strafford County Superior Court. NH Superior Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau plans to discuss Felonies First.

For more information, contact Strafford County Superior Court Clerk Kim Myers.

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