Bill Summary for H 470 (2019-2020)

Summary date: 

Oct 9 2019

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
House Bill 470 (Public) Filed Tuesday, March 26, 2019
AN ACT TO MAKE VARIOUS CHANGES AND TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS TO THE LAW GOVERNING THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE.
Intro. by Stevens.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute deletes the provisions of the 2nd edition and now provides the following.

Part I.

Amends GS 7A-52 to allow emergency judges to be assigned in the event of a medical leave of absence, in addition to the disability, of a sitting judge. Adds that an emergency judge may be assigned: when a disaster declaration is made; upon assignment by the Chief Justice of a Rule 2.1 exceptional case to an emergency judge; and when court coverage is needed by holdover sessions, administrative responsibilities of the chief district court judge, or cases in which a judge has a conflict or judicial educational responsibilities. 

Amends GS 7A-38.2 by adding that the chair of the Dispute Resolution Commission may collect a fee from any person who appeals an adverse determination to the full Commission for a hearing and fails to attend without good cause. Sets the fee at the lesser of the Commission's actual expenses for the hearing or $2,500, and requires that the fees be deposited into the Dispute Resolution Fund. Makes clarifying changes. Applies to hearings held on or after December 1, 2019.

Enacts GS 7A-98 to provide for unsworn written declarations under penalty of perjury to have the same force and effect as sworn declarations in all court proceedings or pursuant to any rule, regulation, order, or requirement requiring or permitting matters to be supported or proved in writing by oath or affirmation. Excludes oral testimony; oaths of office; and any statement under oath or affirmation required to be taken before a specified official other than a notary public. Sets forth the form for sufficient declarations under the statute. Provides for electronic declaration if the Supreme Court promulgates rules authorizing filing and electronic signatures in any court proceeding. Amends GS 14-209, which sets forth the offense of perjury as a Class F felony, to include the willful and corrupt commission of perjury in any unsworn declaration in the form prescribed by new GS 7A-98. Enacts GS 1-148.1 and GS 15A-101.2 to provide for unsworn declarations in civil pleadings and criminal actions. Effective 30 days after the Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) certifies to the NC Supreme Court that the AOC is ready to begin implementation of an integrated case management system adopted pursuant to the e-Courts initiative. 

Amends GS 7A-308 to exempt attorneys filing secured leave documents pursuant to Supreme Court rules from specified clerk fees. 

Amends GS 7A-343 to require the report on business court site activities be submitted annually instead of semiannually. 

Amends GS 7A-346.2 by removing the requirements to report on the economic viability of the worthless check collection programs.

Repeals GS 7A-346.3, which required an impaired driving integrated data system report.

Amends GS 15A-502 to allow either the sheriff or other designated agency (was, sheriff only) to inform the court when a person fails to appear for court-ordered fingerprinting.

Amends GS 15A-1452 as follows. Requires the clerk of superior court to enter an order reflecting the fact and directing compliance when an appeal is withdrawn for a judgment that imposed an active sentence or imposed only monetary obligations without probation. Requires that if the appellate division affirms a judgment that imposed an active sentence or imposed only monetary obligations without probation, the superior court clerk must file the directive and order compliance with its terms. Requires that the clerk, when an appeal is withdrawn for a judgment imposing a suspended sentence, notify the district attorney, who must calendar a review hearing as now required by the statute. Adds that if the appellate division affirms a judgment that imposed a suspended sentence, the clerk of superior court must file the direction and bring the matter to the attention of the district attorney, who must calendar a review hearing as now provided for in the statute.  Specifies that at such a hearing, the defendant is entitled to be present and represented by counsel to the same extent as in the original sentencing hearing; sets out additional requirements for the hearing. Effective December 1, 2019, and applies to any mandate of the appellate division received in the trial division on or after that date.

Amends GS 20-217 requiring that the clerk of superior court notify the Division of Motor Vehicles of any person who fails to pay a fine or costs imposed under the statute (which requires motor vehicles to stop for properly marked and designated school buses in certain instances) within 40 (was, 20) days of the date specified in the court's judgement. 

Amends GS 84-32 to require that final judgments of censure, whether issued by the State Bar Grievance Committee or the disciplinary hearing commissioner, as well as suspension or disbarment orders issued by the disciplinary hearing commission, be entered upon the judgment docket of the superior court where the respondent resides or practices and on the minutes of the NC Supreme Court. Adds that final determinations of incapacity or disability must be entered upon the judgment docket of the superior court in the same manner as those final judgments, whether issued by the State Bar Grievance Committee or the disciplinary hearing commission, and are effective statewide. 

Amends GS 105A-8 to require contested claim hearings for any unit of the Judicial Branch to be conducted in accordance with the administrative procedures approved by the AOC Director and the Director of Indigent Defense Services. Establishes original jurisdiction for clerks of superior court where a judgement has been docketed to hear a contested claim and not transfer the matter to district or superior court. Establishes original jurisdiction for the AOC Director to hear contested claims of the Judicial Branch not arising out of a docketed judgement. Amends GS 105A-9 to entitle a party to appeal to superior court for a hearing de novo within 10 days of an order of the clerk of superior court, the AOC Director, or a designee. Provides for filing of the appeal. Makes conforming changes to GS 7A-498.6 to require the Director of Indigent Defense Services to collaborate with the AOC Director in developing administrative procedures regarding Judicial Branch contested claim hearings. Applies to notices issued on or after July 1, 2020.

Part II.

Amends GS 7A-307 to provide that the only cost assessed when an estate is administered or settled under GS 28A-25-6 (concerning payment to clerk of money owed decedent) is a $20 fee. Increases the fee for hearing a petition for year's allowance to surviving spouse or child, in cases not assigned to a magistrate, from $8 to $20. Amends GS 7A-309 (Magistrate's special fees), increasing the magistrate fee for hearing a petition for year's allowance to surviving spouse or child, issuing notices to commissioners, allotting the same and making return from $8 to $20. Additionally, increases the magistrate fee for performing a marriage ceremony from $20 to $50. Applies to petitions filed on or after January 1, 2020.

Amends GS 7A-308 by adding a $300 fee for in rem foreclosures when the property is sold under execution. Makes conforming and clarifying changes to GS 105-375. Applies to execution sales conducted on or after December 1, 2019.

Repeals GS 7A-809, which required a report on the status of implementation of character recognition software when removing requested personal information from images or copies of publicly accessible official records.

Amends GS 11-7.1 to authorize retired clerks to administer oaths of office. 

Amends GS 28A-25-6 to require a motion of the clerk or application of an interested party before the clerk of superior court, when no administrator has been appointed, to disburse money received under the statute to pay the surviving spouse's and children's year's allowance and other claims.

Amends GS 42-34 to provide that the specified deadlines related to summary ejectment actions are based on business days.

Amends GS 44A-4, which allows a lienor to institute a special proceeding to sell a vehicle which has a fair market value of less than $800 in cases in which the certified mail notice is returned undeliverable or if the legal title holder cannot be reasonably ascertained. Limits the special proceeding to one vehicle (previously, allowed for the special proceeding to include more than one vehicle so long as the proceeds of each sale were only subject to valid claims). Applies to applications filed on or after December 1, 2019.

Amends GS 48-2-403 to require that the petitioner, rather than the clerk of court, deliver notice of an adoption proceeding to the specified agencies, and requires proof of service to be submitted to the court. 

Part III.

Amends GS 7A-11 and GS 7A-20 by making language gender-neutral.

Amends GS 7A-354 to clarify that the ex officio members of the Human Trafficking Commission are nonvoting members. 

Amends GS 15A-145.8, as enacted by SL 2019-186, concerning expunction of records when charges are remanded to district court for juvenile adjudication. Requires the court to order the expunction of DNA records when the person's charges have been remanded to district court for juvenile adjudication (was, when the person's case has been dismissed by the trial court) and the person's DNA record or profile has been included in the State DNA Database and the person's DNA sample is stored in the Databank as a result of the charges that were remanded. Also amends the requirements of the order to include the name and address of the person and the person's attorney, rather than of the defendant and the defendant's attorney. Applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2019.

Amends GS 15A-1469(b1) by correcting a statutory cross-reference. Effective December 1, 2019.

Amends GS 28A-2-4 by correcting a statutory cross-reference.

Amends GS 30-29 to require that a petition for spousal allowance set out that the decedent's state exceed $60,000 (was, $30,000).

Amends GS 32C-1-116 to expand the clerk of superior court's exclusive jurisdiction to include determining the compensation and expenses for an agent under GS 32C-1-112(b) and GS 32C-1-112(c) (previously, limited to determining compensation for an agent under GS 32C-1-112(b)).

Repeals GS 45-21.21(f), which required a foreclosure sale to begin at the time designated in the notice of sale and never later than an hour after the time fixed, and required sales to be held between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on any day on which the Clerk's office is normally open. Amends GS 45-21.23 to require that the sale be held between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on any day when the Clerk's office is normally open (was, on any day other than Sunday or a legal holiday when the courthouse is closed for transactions). Repeals GS 45-21.29(k)(5a), as amended by SL 2019-53, concerning the order of possession for real property sold under power of sale pursuant to Article 2A, which required compliance with the federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA), if applicable.

Amends GS 101-2 to make a clarifying change.

Amends SL 2018-40, Section 8.2, by specifying that the effective date applies to testamentary distribution to a minor made on or after the effective date of January 1, 2019.  Retroactively effective January 1, 2019. 

Amends GS 14-118.6, as amended by SL 2019-117, to authorize the clerk of court to refuse to file a purported lien or encumbrance that the clerk has a reasonable suspicion that the lien or encumbrance is materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent (previously, cross-referenced the substantively identical description of false set out in subsection (a) of the statute). Additionally prohibits filing, indexing, or docketing documents against a property until the document is approved by the appropriate judicial official (previously, this restriction was limited to properties of a public officer or public employee). Effective December 1, 2019.

Part IV.

Amends GS 1A-1, Rule 40, concerning the assignment of cases for trial and continuances. Modifies and adds to the service that constitutes good cause for granting a continuance to now include any service in carrying out any duties as a member of the General Assembly or service on the Rules Review Commission or any other board, commission, or authority as an appointee of the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, or the General Assembly (was, service as a member of the General Assembly or the Rules Review Commission). Makes language gender-neutral. Makes conforming changes to GS 15A-952. Effective December 1, 2019.

Part V.

Amends GS 7A-377 by prohibiting the Judicial Standards Commission (Commission) from investigating when its own motion or a written complaint by a citizen is based substantially upon a legal ruling by a district or superior court judge and the ruling has not yet been reviewed and ruled upon by either the NC Court of Appeals or the NC Supreme Court. Limits the review to judicial conduct and prohibits reviewing matters of law. Applies to complaints or investigations pending on or after the date the act becomes law.

Changes the act's long title.

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