Bill Summary for H 173 (2015-2016)

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Summary date: 

Mar 9 2015

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
House Bill 173 (Public) Filed Monday, March 9, 2015
Intro. by Stam, Faircloth, Glazier, Turner.

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Bill summary

Part I.

Amends GS 7A-304 to give defendants 40 days (was, 20 days) from the date specified in the court's judgment before being charged the $50 late fee in a case where a defendant fails to appear to answer the charge as scheduled.

Amends GS 20-24.2 to give a person charged with a motor vehicle offense 40 days (was, 20 days) before his or her name is reported to the Division of Motor Vehicles for failure to pay a fine, penalty, or court cost.

Applies to fee assessed on or after July 1, 2015.

Part II. 

Requires the Administrative Office of the Courts to consult with the Conference of Clerks of Superior Court and make any necessary modifications to its information systems in order to maintain records of all cases in which the defendant in a criminal case withdraws an appeal for trial de novo in superior court and the superior court judge has signed an order remanding the case to the district court. Requires reporting on those remanded cases annually to the chairs of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Justice and Public Safety, the chairs of the House Appropriations Committee on Justice and Public Safety, and the chairs of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety by February 1. Requires that the report (1) include the total number of remanded cases and the total number of cases for which the court has remitted costs and (2) aggregate those totals by the district in which they were granted and by the name of each judge ordering remand. 

Part III.

Amends the powers of chief district judges in GS 7A-146 to allow designating certain magistrates to appoint counsel and accept waivers of counsel (was, to appoint counsel only) to no longer limit this designation to magistrates who are duly licensed attorneys and to provide that the designation does not give any magistrate the authority to appoint counsel or accept waivers of counsel for potential capital offenses (under the current law, the designation does not give magistrates the authority to accept a waiver of counsel at all).

Amends the power of magistrates in GS 7A-292 to give magistrates the power to accept waivers of counsel when authorized by the chief district judge.

Amends GS 14-444 (intoxicated and disruptive in public) to no longer prohibit a magistrate from accepting a guilty plea and entering judgement for this offense.

Part IV. 

Amends GS 143B-426.38A (Government Data Analytics Center; State data-sharing requirements) to require that the State Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Systems Agency ensure that the State Criminal Justice Law Enforcement Automated Data System (CJLEADS) receives access to federal criminal information deemed to be essential in managing CJLEADS to support state-appointed public defenders who are permanent state employees (in addition to criminal justice professions). Prohibits state-appointed public defenders from having access to nonpublic information about unserved warrants, victims, or witnesses.

Part V.

Amends GS 15A-2005 to replace the term "mentally retarded" with "intellectual disability." The statute provides that an intelligence quotient of 70 or below on an individually administered, scientifically recognized standardized intelligence quotient test administered by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist is evidence of significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning; but, it is not sufficient, without evidence of significant limitations in adaptive functioning and without evidence of manifestation before the age of 18, to establish that the defendant is mentally retarded. Adds that an intelligence quotient of 70 is approximate and a higher score resulting from the application of the standard error of measure to a quotient of 70 does not preclude the defendant from being able to present additional evidence of intellectual disability. Requires accepted clinical standards for diagnosing significant limitation in intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior to be applied in the determination of intellectual disability. Makes clarifying changes.

Part VI. 

Amends GS 14-27.5A to provide that when a person is convicted of sexual battery under the statute, the sentencing court must consider whether the person is a danger to the community and whether requiring the person to register as a sex offender would further the purposes of Article 27A (Sex Offender and Public Protection Registration Programs). Provides that if the court finds that the person is a danger to the community and that the person must register, then an order must be entered requiring registration. Makes conforming changes to GS 14-208.6(4), defining convictions that must be reported under Article 27A, and to GS 14-208.6(5) removing sexual battery from those violations that meet the definition of sexually violent offense. Amends GS 50-13.1 to require any person instituting an action or proceeding for custody of a child ex parte who has been convicted of sexual battery and ordered to register to disclose the conviction in the pleadings.

Applies to sentences imposed on or after December 1, 2015.

Part VII. 

Amends GS 122C-251 to require a city or county to provide, to the extent feasible (was, required), transportation of a respondent in involuntary commitment proceedings by a driver or attendant who is the same sex as the respondent unless certain specified circumstances exist.

Enacts new GS 122C-295 to allow a custody order entered by the clerk or magistrate under the Chapter (the Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Act of 1985) to be delivered to the law enforcement officer by electronic or facsimile transmission.

Part VIII.

Amends GS 14-269.1, confiscation and disposition of deadly weapons, to allow any petition or order to dispose of a weapon entered under the statute to be transmitted to the appropriate person, sheriff, or agency electronically or by facsimile. 

Amend GS 15-11.1(b1) to allow a petition or order to dispose of a firearm under (b1) (where a district attorney determines the firearm is no longer necessary or useful as evidence in a criminal trial and has applied to the court for an order of disposition of the firearm) to be transmitted to the appropriate person, sheriff, or law enforcement agency electronically or by facsimile.  

Part IX.

Amends GS 15A-150 concerning notification requirements for specified expunction of records, providing that the Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts can enter into an agreement with any of the specified state agencies for electronic and facsimile transmission of the information required to be provided pursuant to GS 15A-150. Makes conforming changes.

Part X.

Amends GS 15A-534(d1) concerning the conditions of pretrial release of certain defendants to provide that, if no conditions are recommended in the most recent order for arrest after the defendant's failure to appear, then the judicial officer can require the execution of a secured appearance bond in an amount at least double the amount of the most recent previous secured or unsecured bond for the charges (previously, judicial officer was required to double the bond amount).  Effective July 1, 2015, applying to conditions of pretrial release on or after that date.

Part XI.

Amends GS 15A-268(a5), making a clarifying change to provide that the duty to preserve biological evidence cannot be waived knowingly and voluntarily by a defendant without a court proceeding, which can include any hearing associated with the disposition of the case.

Amends GS 15A-268(a6), concerning required periods of preservation for physical evidence, to provide specified time and circumstances when evidence can be disposed of, including when the State certifies that charges will not be brought even if a perpetrator can be identified, and in specified times when the evidence collected is of a size, bulk, or physical character as to render retention impracticable, the State and the defendant can enter into a consent motion for the retention of other evidence in lieu of the actual physical evidence.  Also provides that at the time of conviction the State and defendant can enter into a consent motion to destroy or return any physical evidence not offered or admitted during the criminal proceeding. Effective October 1, 2015.

Part XII.

Amends Rule 803(6) of the Rules of Evidence found in GS Chapter 8C to allow a custodian of business records to certify the authenticity of such records in lieu of requiring an in-person testimony by the custodian.  Requires advance notice of intent to offer records under such certification and limits the admissibility of such certified evidence to records of non-parties of the case at hand.  Effective October 1, 2015.

Part XIII.

Amends GS 50B-4.1(d) to provide that the provisions of this subsection regarding the enhanced penalties for violation of protective orders do not apply to convictions of a Class A or B1 felony or conviction of the offenses as found in GS 50B-4.1(f) or (g) [previously, stated that they did not apply to a person charged with or convicted of a Class A or B1 felony or a person charged pursuant to GS 50B-4.1(f) or (g)].

Part XIV.

Amends GS 14-50.43(d) to provide that orders entered concerning street gang nuisance abatement cases will expire one year after entry unless extended by the court for good cause as established by the plaintiff after a hearing (previously, did not provide for an extension of the order).

Part XV.

Amends GS 15A-173.2(a) to provide that an individual convicted of criminal offenses no higher than a Class G felony can petition the court where the individual was convicted of his or her most serious offence for a certificate of relief, relieving the specified collateral consequences (previously, provided that only individuals that had not been convicted of more than two Class G, H, or I felonies or misdemeanors in one session of court, and that have no other convictions for a felony or misdemeanor other than a traffic violation could petition for such relief).  Effective October 1, 2015, applying to certificates issued on or after that date.