Juvenile Indigent Defense Delivery System
- Handled by the New Hampshire Public Defender, private non-profit funded by the state to provide primary indigent defense services since 1972
- Appellate representation is provided by the New Hampshire Public Defender in conjunction with the Pierce Law School
Ages of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction
- The youngest age at which a juvenile can be adjudicated delinquent is not specified by any statute
- A juvenile who commits a crime after attaining the age of 18 will no longer be under the jurisdiction of the Family Division of the District Court. N.H. Rev. Stat §169-B:4.
- The Juvenile Court can retain jurisdiction of a juvenile who committed a crime prior to his/her 18th birthday until he/she turns 21. N.H. Rev. Stat. § 169-B:4.
- The court may retain jurisdiction over any minor after the minor’s 17th birthday as justice may require. Jurisdiction can be extended when:
- (a) The minor revokes the minor’s consent in writing and such revocation has been approved by the court;
- (b) The minor ceases to be enrolled as a full-time student during sessions of the school;
- (c) The minor graduates from high school or receives a general equivalency diploma;
- (d) The minor attains 21 years of age; or
- (e) The department revokes its consent in writing; whichever event shall first occur.
Right to Counsel Provision
- Absent a valid waiver the court shall appoint counsel at the time of arraignment of an indigent minor, provided that an indigent minor securely detained pending adjudication shall have counsel appointed upon the issuance of the detention order. N.H. Rev. Stat. § 169-B:12.
Waiver of Counsel Provision
- The child may waive counsel if (a) the minor is represented by a non-hostile parent, guardian or custodian; and (b) both the minor and parent, guardian or custodian agree to waive counsel; and (c) in the court’s opinion the waiver is made competently, voluntarily and with full understanding of the consequences. N.H. Rev. Stat. § 169-B:12(II).
- No conditions exist that prevent a minor from waiving his/her right to counsel.
- Code Section and Rules of Court: N.H. Rev. Stat. §§ 169-B:9, 169-B:11, 169-B:14, 621-A:6.
- Detention Hearing: Within 24 hours of custody, Sundays and holidays excluded.
- Appointed Counsel at Detention Hearing: Yes, “the court shall appoint” an attorney at the time of arraignment. N.H. Rev. Stat. § 169-B:12
Life Without Parole
- There are 3 youths serving life without parole sentences in the state of New Hampshire.
- New Hampshire has 4.25 per 100,000 14-17 year olds serving life without parole sentences ranking it 29th out of the 40 states covered in the Amnesty International USA report The Rest of Their Lives: Life Without Parole for Child Offenders in the United States (2005).
- The minimum age for prosecution as an adult is 13.
- The minimum age for sentencing a youth to life without parole is 13.
- New Hampshire has mandatory life without parole sentencing.
Important New Hampshire Resources
- New Hampshire Kids Count — Concord, NH
- Independent child advocacy organization that ensures that laws, policies, and programs in NH are effective and improve kids’ lives.
- Child and Family Services — Manchester, NH
- Nonprofit that works to advance the well-being of children and families through an array of social services
- Sununu Youth Services Center and the Youth Detention Services Unit