Bill Summary for H 39 (2023-2024)
|View NCGA Bill Details||2023-2024 Session|
AN ACT TO MODIFY LAWS PERTAINING TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, TO BE KNOWN AS KAYLA'S ACT: PROTECTING VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.Intro. by Lowery, B. Jones, Miller, Carson Smith.
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Amends GS 8C01, Rule 804(b) of the North Carolina Code of Evidence, to add a hearsay exception for when an out of court statement is offered against a party who either wrongfully caused the declarant’s (i.e., the speaker’s) unavailability as a witness or acquiesced in wrongfully causing the declarant’s unavailability as a witness and did so intending that result.
Amends GS 15-1 (listing the statutes of limitations for misdemeanors) by adding those misdemeanor domestic violence crimes that require a judge to determine conditions of pre-trial release under GS 15A-534.1 to the list of crimes falling under the 10-year statute of limitations. The section becomes effective to (1) acts committed either on or after the date the act becomes law or (2) acts committed before the act's effective date, so long as the statute of limitations for the act did not expire prior to the enactment of the act.
Enacts new GS 15A-1225.4 to allow a domestic violence victim witness in a criminal proceeding who has been found competent to testify, to testify, under oath or affirmation, other than in an open forum if: (1) the defendant does not object, or (2) the court determines that remote testimony is appropriate, under this statute. Allows, in a criminal proceeding, the testimony of a domestic violence victim witness to be permitted by remote testimony if: (1) the State provides notice to the attorney of record for the defendant, or the defendant if that person has no attorney, at least 15 business days before the proceeding at which the remote testimony would be used; and (2) the defendant's attorney of record, or the defendant if that person has no attorney, does not file a written objection with the court, with a copy to the State, at least five business days before the proceeding at which the remote testimony will be used that the defendant objects to the domestic violence victim witness testifying remotely. Provides that if a written objection is not filed, the objection is deemed waived and the domestic violence victim witness must be allowed to testify remotely. Requires the court to make written findings of any waiver, including specified findings. Allows the court to authorize remote testimony over an objection, if the court determines that: (1) the domestic violence victim witness would suffer serious emotional distress, not by the open forum in general, but by testifying in the defendant's presence; and (2) that the domestic violence victim's ability to communicate with the trier of fact would be impaired. Sets out the procedure for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether to allow remote testimony, upon motion by a party or the court. Sets out the requirements for an order allowing or disallowing the use of remote testimony. Sets out requirements for the method used for remote testimony. Also requires the court to ensure that the defense counsel, except a pro se defendant, is physically present where the domestic violence victim witness testifies, has a full and fair opportunity for cross-examination of the domestic violence victim witness, and has the ability to communicate privately with the defendant during the remote testimony; requires that the court ensure that a defendant who is an attorney pro se has a full and fair opportunity for cross-examination of the domestic violence victim witness. Specifies that the statute: (1) does not prohibit using or applying any other method or procedure authorized or required by statute, common law, or rule for the introduction into evidence of the statements or testimony of a domestic violence victim in a criminal or noncriminal proceeding; (2) must not be construed to require a court, in noncriminal proceedings, to apply the standard set forth in subsection (g) for remote testimony or to deviate from standards authorized by statute, common law, or rule for allowing the use of remote testimony in noncriminal proceedings. Makes conforming changes to GS 7A-49.6.
Enacts new GS 50B-10 requiring all district court trials and proceedings held under GS Chapter 50B (Domestic Violence) to be recorded in a way that memorializes the audio and visual participation of each part to the trial or proceeding. Applies to trial or proceedings occurring on or after December 1, 2023.