Concord, NH – Today, Governor Chris Sununu vetoed HB 239 after all 10 of New Hampshire’s County Attorneys, along with Attorney General John Formella, wrote to Governor Sununu expressing grave concerns with the language of the bill as written.
“Occasionally, well-intentioned legislation can fall apart because of a few misplaced words or technical language that was left out,” wrote Governor Sununu in his veto message. “Unfortunately House Bill 239 contains a fatal flaw that must prevent it from moving forward. I support the legislative intent to extend the statute of limitations for juvenile victims of first-degree and second-degree assault. However, this bill presents severe negative consequences that could greatly hinder ANY prosecution of first-degree assault in New Hampshire.”
In a letter dated August 6, 2021, the Attorney General and each of New Hampshire’s 10 County Attorneys detailed their concerns with House Bill 239. This bill fails to make clear that the extension of the statute of limitations for prosecutions under RSA 631:1 to a victim’s twenty-fourth birthday only applies to juvenile victims. Consequently, as the letter states, the bill “…could readily be interpreted to preclude any prosecution for a crime under RSA 631:1 beyond a victim’s twenty-fourth birthday. As such, cases under RSA 631:1 with adult victims over twenty-four years of age simply would not be able to be charged or prosecuted.”