Information for Victims

Victim/Witness Program

The Victim/Witness Program assists victims and witnesses through the criminal justice process. Some of the services available to you are as follows:

  • Orientation to the criminal justice system and explanation of court procedures.
  • Notification regarding the status of the case.
  • Assistance with school and/or employer issues when attending court hearings, depositions, or trial.
  • Assistance in obtaining the return of property held as evidence.
  • Support at court appearances and notification of case activity.
  • Assistance in obtaining witness fees.
  • Referrals to community agencies to assist with specific issues.
  • Assistance with attendance at parole hearings.

Trial Schedule

Grafton County Superior Court – Daily Docket

http://www.courts.state.nh.us/superior/dailydocket/GraftonList.pdf

New Hampshire Supreme Court Oral Argument Calender

http://www.courts.state.nh.us/supreme/orals/index.htm

Sentencing

Sentencing & Appeal

The State of New Hampshire has what is known a “truth in sentencing.” This means that when a defendant is sentenced to a term in the State Prison, he must serve the minimum of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

There is no “time off for good behavior.” Instead, 150 days of “bad time” are added to each year of an inmate’s minimum sentence, and the good time earned is used to erase those days. If an inmate does not get into trouble, he will be eligible for parole after serving his minimum sentence. Otherwise, the parole date is delayed according to how many disciplinary problems there have been.

For example, an inmate sentenced to 10 to 20 years, begins with a minimum sentence of 10 years plus 1500 days (10 years X 150 days). Good time is subtracted from the 1500 days and after 10 years an inmate becomes eligible for parole.

The only way a defendant can change the minimum sentence he must serve is:

  1. By successfully appealing the case to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
  2. By applying for a Sentence Review Hearing
  3. By petitioning for a Sentence Reduction Hearing.

The defendant is usually unsuccessful in the vast majority of homicide cases and serves the full minimum sentence imposed by the original sentencing judge.

THE APPEAL PROCESS

After a defendant is convicted of a crime, he has thirty days in which to file a “Notice of Appeal” to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. A defendant gives up his right to appeal when he pleads guilty instead of going to trial.

A “Notice of Appeal” outlines the legal issues to be appealed. Once a “notice of appeal” is filed, the Supreme Court makes a determination whether or not to accept the case. Appeals are filed in the majority of violent crime cases and they are usually accepted by the court. It may take up to three months before the case is officially accepted.

After the Supreme Court accepts the case, the following “steps occur”:

  1. The Supreme Court will order transcripts of the trial to be prepared for their review.
  2. The Appellate Counsel for the defendant will submit a “brief” on the legal issues being appealed.
  3. The State, represented by the Department of Justice, responds to the appellate issues in their own written brief.
  4. A public hearing is scheduled before the five Justices of the Supreme Court at the Supreme Court House on Noble Drive in Concord. Each side is given 15 minutes to present an oral argument outlining their positions.

After the hearing, it may take six months or longer for the court to render its written decision on the appeal. If the Supreme Court “affirms” the conviction, the defendant’s sentence is upheld and it remains the same. If the Court “overturns” the verdict, the conviction is set aside and a new trial must be held in order to reconvict the defendant.

SENTENCE REVIEW

At the sentencing hearing the defendant is informed orally and in writing of his right, according to RSA 651:58, to apply for a “sentence review.” This is when the defendant “contests” the sentence imposed by the Superior Court. The defendant has 30 days in which to file his application.

If a request for a “sentence review” is made, a hearing is scheduled before the Sentence Review Division at the New Hampshire State Prison. The Division is a Board of three Superior Court Justices appointed by the Chief Justice to review such application. At the hearing the Board may do any of the following:

  1. They may decide the sentence should remain the same.
  2. They may decrease the sentence imposed by the judge.
  3. They may increase the sentence imposed by the judge.

It is rare for the Board to change the original sentence imposed by the sentencing judge.

If a hearing is scheduled you will be notified by an advocate who will accompany you to the hearing if you choose to attend. A prosecutor will represent the State at the hearing. Only the prosecutor, defense attorney and defendant are allowed to address the Board. The Board will then review the facts and make their decision you will be notified as soon as the decision is made.

SENTENCE REDUCTIONS

According to RSA 651:20, any defendant sentenced to the State Prison has the right to petition the court to have his sentence reduced. If the crime occurred before January 1, 1993 they may petition the court every two years: if the crime occurred between January 1, 1993 and July 22, 1994 they must serve 2/3 of their minimum sentence before filing a petition. If the court accepts the petition, a hearing is scheduled before the original sentencing judge.

The hearings are public and you are welcome to attend. A prosecutor will represent the State in opposition to any reduction in the sentence. An advocate will notify you of the scheduled hearing and will accompany you if you choose to attend. If you wish to address the court, the prosecutor will request that your input be heard. An advocate can assist you with any written or oral statement you wish to make.

Identity Theft and Fraud

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NH Victims Bill of Rights

Victims of felonious crimes committed by an adult offender are entitled to the following rights under NHRSA 21-M:8-K.
  • The right to be treated with fairness and respect for their dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice process.
  • The right to be informed about the criminal justice process and how it progresses.
  • The right to be free from intimidation and to be reasonably protected from the accused throughout the criminal justice process.
  • The right to be notified of all court proceedings.
  • The right to attend trial and all other court proceedings the accused has the right to attend.
  • The right to confer with the prosecution and to be consulted about the disposition of the case, including plea bargaining.
  • The right to have inconveniences associated with participation in the criminal justice process minimized.
  • The right to be notified if presence in court is not required.
  • The right to be informed about available resources, financial assistance, and social services.
  • The right to restitution, as granted under RSA 651:62-67 or any other applicable state law, or victim’s compensation, under RSA 21-M:8-h or any other applicable state law, for their losses.
  • The right to be provided a secure, but not necessarily separate, waiting area during court proceedings.
  • The right to be advised of case progress and final disposition.
  • The right of confidentiality of the victim’s address, place of employment, and other personal information.
  • The right to the prompt return of property when no longer needed as evidence.
  • The right to have input in the probation pre-sentence report impact statement.
  • The right to appear and make a written or oral victim impact statement at the sentencing of the defendant.
  • The right to be notified of an appeal, an explanation of the appeal process, the time, place and result of the appeal, and the right to attend the appeal hearing.
  • The right to be notified and to attend sentence review hearings and sentence reduction hearings.
  • The right to be notified of any change of status such as prison release, permanent interstate transfer, or escape, and the date of the parole board hearing, when requested by the victim through the victim advocate.
  • The right to address or submit a written statement for consideration by the parole board on the defendant’s release and to be notified of the decision of the board, when requested by the victim through the victim advocate.

Resources

WISE of Lebanon

wiselogofinallogo38 Bank Street, Lebanon, NH 03766 24-hour Crisis Line Local: 603-448-5525 Toll Free: 866-348-9473 (WISE)

The mission of WISE is to empower victims of domestic and sexual violence and stalking to become safe and self-reliant through crisis intervention and support services. WISE advances social justice through community education, training and public policy. WISE provides services to victims/survivors of sexual violence, domestic violence and stalking regardless of gender or gender identity/expression, age, health status (including HIV-positive), physical, mental or emotional ability, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, race, national origin, immigration status, or religious or political affiliation.
http://www.wiseoftheuppervalley.org/

New Hampshire Victims’ Assistance Commission

Helps innocent victims of violent crime with expenses directly related to crime injuries. The costs of this program are paid by motor vehicle and criminal fine assessments and federal Victims Of Crime Act (VOCA) grants, and not by New Hampshire Taxpayers. Application forms are located under the forms tab.
http://doj.nh.gov/victim/compensation.htm

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Official site for current information on Missing and Exploited Children, search for missing children, view wanted posters, submit child “sightings”, …
www.missingkids.com/

New Hampshire State Prison Inmate Locator

Location and status of inmates incarcerated within the New Hampshire prison system.

Voices Against Violence & Support Center