Hassan Signs 'Felonies First' Bill Into Law

Jul 15, 2015

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Gov. Maggie Hassan has signed into law a bill meant to streamline felony cases.

Under the so-called Felonies First model, felony cases will be handled in the superior court system, instead of starting in circuit courts.

It also eliminates holding a probable cause hearing as a right. Instead, a judge will now determine if one is warranted.

The Strafford and Cheshire county superior courts will pilot the program starting in January. It will expand to Belknap County Superior Court in July of 2016.

Read more about the new law and its detractors

If successful, the program will then rollout statewide.

The justice system has backed the new model, including Superior Court Justice Tina Nadeau, who says it will help the courts better manage the caseload.

Defense attorneys have been opposed to the law, arguing the lack of a probable cause hearing increases the risk of false arrest.