West Virginia Interim Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary meets September 12-14

The West Virginia Legislature’s September interim meetings are being held next week, including the Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary and its three subcommittees. Topics to be discussed include:

September 12

Subcommittee A: Prison overcrowding

Subcommittee C: Draft legislation relating to gubernatorial succession

September 13

Subcommittee A: Prison overcrowding, with Administrator of the Supreme Court Steve Canterbury

Subcommittee B: HB 2755, Relating to Mentally Ill Persons (provides that the President of the West Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, along with the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources shall develop and propose a statewide system for evaluation and adjudication of mental hygiene petitions.)

Subcommittee C: Draft legislation relating to the rule-making process

September 14

Full Committee: Reports of the subcommittees

2011 South-Atlantic bail/pretrial release legislation

Law

Florida HB 347 / SB 514 Requires defendant who was arrested for leaving scene of crash involving death to be held in custody until brought before judge for admittance to bail in certain circumstances.

Florida HB 575 / SB 844 Authorizes court, in determining whether to require or set amount of bail, to consider likelihood that person will be imprisoned for violation of probation or community control.

Maryland HB 682 / SB 809 Prohibits a court that exercises criminal jurisdiction from refunding a forfeiture of bail or collateral at a specified time unless a private surety pays a forfeiture of bail or collateral within a specified time period after a defendant’s failure to appear. Requires a court to refund a forfeiture of bail bond or collateral that was not paid within a specified time period after a defendant’s failure to appear under specified circumstances.

North Carolina HB 649 Amends laws pertaining to grounds for revocation of licensure regulating bail bondsman and allowing a bail agent on behalf of a surety company to make written motions setting aside bail forfeiture and relief from final judgment of bail forfeiture under laws pertaining the criminal procedure.

Virginia HB 1713 Adds to the list of crimes charged for which there is a presumption against admission to bail, subject to rebuttal, obstruction of justice where a person threatens bodily harm or force to knowingly attempt to intimidate or impede a witness.

Virginia HB 2060 Provides that a magistrate who is to set the terms of bail of a person arrested and brought before him pursuant to a capias shall, unless circumstances exist that require him to impose more restrictive terms of bail, set bail in accordance with the order of the court that issued the capias if such an order is affixed to or made a part of the capias by the court.

Virginia HB 2106  / SB 925 Allows GPS for persons on secured bond.

Virginia HB 2437 Provides that a licensed bail bondsman shall not charge less than 10 percent or more than 15 percent of the amount of the bond for a bail bond premium and shall not loan money with interest for the purpose of helping another obtain a bail bond. Defines bail bond premium as the amount of money paid to a licensed bail bondsman for the execution of a bail bond.

Introduced with committee and/or floor approval

Florida HB 1379 Provides that a defendant is eligible to receive government-funded pretrial release only by order of the court after the court finds in writing, upon consideration of the defendant’s affidavit of indigence: That the defendant is indigent or partially indigent as set forth in the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure and that the defendant has not previously failed to appear at any required court proceeding. Prohibits defendants from participating in a pretrial release program if the defendant’s income is over 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines prescribed for the size of the household of the defendant by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, unless the defendant is receiving certain financial assistance. Requires that defendants who seek to post a surety bond pursuant to a bond schedule established by administrative order as an alternative to government-funded pretrial release be permitted to do so without any interference or restriction by a pretrial release program. Requires pretrial release programs certify annually, in writing, to the chief circuit court judge, that the program has complied with the reporting requirements in current statutes.

Florida HB 265 Requires court considering whether to release defendant on bail to determine whether defendant is subject to registration as sexual offender or predator and, if so, to hold defendant without bail until first appearance on case.

Florida HB 7089 Requires a court, when determining whether to release a defendant on bail or other conditions, to consider the defendant’s legal residency status in the United States.

North Carolina SB 756 Revises laws related to pretrial release programs. Eliminates unsecured appearance bond as a pretrial release condition. Provides no state funds may be appropriated for the support of a pretrial release program.

South Carolina HB 3895 / SB 795 Provides that an appearance bond is valid for a certain time period in circuit and magistrates or municipal courts under certain circumstances. Provides a procedure to relieve the surety of liability when the time period has run.

Virginia HB 2332  Provides if judicial officer concurs in the determination of police officer that defendant is present in U.S. illegally and finds probable cause to believe that the person will not appear for trial or hearing, the judicial officer may refuse to admit the person to bail.

Introduced with committee rejection

Florida SB 372 Requires each pretrial release program established by ordinance of a county commission, by administrative order of a court, or by any other means in order to assist in the release of a defendant from pretrial custody to conform to the eligibility criteria set forth by the act. Preempts any conflicting local ordinances, orders, or practices. Requires that the defendant satisfy certain eligibility criteria in order to be assigned to a pretrial release program, etc

Florida SB 494 Requires a court considering whether to release a defendant on bail to determine whether the defendant is subject to registration as a sexual offender or predator and, if so, to hold the defendant without bail until the first appearance on the case.

Maryland HB 272 Requires, notwithstanding any other law or Maryland Rule, that a court or a District Court commissioner ask a defendant to provide information on the defendant’s legal status in the United States before the court or a District Court commissioner authorizes the defendant’s pretrial release on bail or personal recognizance. Authorizes the court or a District Court commissioner to consider the information on the defendant’s legal status in deciding whether to authorize the pretrial release of the defendant.

Maryland HB 1264 Prohibits a District Court commissioner from authorizing the pretrial release of a defendant charged with causing abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult in the first or second degree.

Maryland HB 768 / SB 940 Allows a defendant in a circuit court or the District Court or a private surety acting for the defendant who posts a bail bond in an amount that is 10% of the penalty amount to deposit with the clerk of court half of the amount immediately and the other half within 6 months later.

Introduced with other or no activity

Georgia HB 32 Revises the requirements for releasing a person on his or her own recognizance.

Georgia HB 252 Add violations for which cash bonds can be accepted in lieu of bail and proceedings for failure to appear.

Georgia HB 288 Require as a condition of bail for certain offenses that DNA collection be performed on the person seeking bond.

Maryland HB 898 / SB 686 Provides that if a bail bondsman arranges to accept payment of a bail bond premium in installments, the installment agreement shall include information about the total premium amount owed, down payment made, and other terms of the installment contract. Requires that information about the bail bond premium installment payment agreement be included in an affidavit of surety. Requires bail bondsmen, if arranging bail bond premium installment agreements, to follow specified collection procedures.

North Carolina SB 740 Allows a bail agent on behalf of a surety company to make written motions setting aside bail forfeiture and relief from final judgment of bail forfeiture under laws pertaining the criminal procedure.

South Carolina SB 45 & SB 266 Provides Circuit Court to hear  motions regarding reconsideration of bond for general sessions offenses. Provides defense motions to reconsider may be heard by the circuit court only upon the defendant’s prima facie showing of a material change in circumstances.

South Carolina SB 267 Provides a person committing or attempting to commit a general sessions offense while on bail bond must be imprisoned five years in addition to the punishment for the principal offense.

West Virginia HB 2068 Provides certain specific statutory conditions of bond in cases involving crimes between family or household members in lieu of allowing the issuing authority to set conditions of bail.

State-by-State 2011 Legislative Year in Review: West Virginia

New laws affecting the courts enacted by the West Virginia legislature in 2011 include the following:

HB 2461 / SB 61 Provides juvenile drug courts shall be designed and operated consistent with the developmental and rehabilitative needs of juveniles. Authorizes the Supreme Court to appoint hearing officers for juvenile drug courts.

HB 2464 Requires Ethics Commission publish on the Internet all financial disclosure statements filed members of and candidates for the Supreme Court of Appeals starting in 2012.

HB 2879 Increases judicial and salaries of other government officials/employees.

SB 96 Authorizes State Auditor in conjunction with the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals to establish in-service training programs for circuit clerks and their assistants and employees.

SB 428 Increases and reallocates certain circuit court fees

Bans on court use of sharia/international law: ABA House of Delegates opposes “blanket prohibitions”, state legislatures out of session

This post has been updated. Click here.

Earlier today, the American Bar Association House of Delegates approved Resolution 113A:

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association opposes federal or state laws imposing blanket prohibitions on consideration or use by courts or arbitral tribunals of foreign or international law.

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association opposes federal or state laws imposing blanket prohibitions on consideration or use by courts or arbitral tribunals of the entire body of law or doctrine of a particular religion.

Clearly geared towards efforts to ban court use of sharia/international law, the resolution comes at a time when the state legislatures are out of session and silent. Since the July update, no legislative activity has occurred, although the Michigan bill remains technically pending (the legislature sits year-round).

Full roster of 49 bills introduced in 2011 in 22 states and their statuses after the jump.

Continue reading Bans on court use of sharia/international law: ABA House of Delegates opposes “blanket prohibitions”, state legislatures out of session

West Virginia Interim Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary meets August 1-3

The West Virginia Legislature’s August interim meetings are being held next week, including the Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary and  its three subcommittees. Topics to be discussed include:

August 1

Subcommittee B: Presentations on SCR 48 (Study Need to Clarify Law Relating to Disposition of Deceased Person’s Remains) and SB 184 ( disposition of the remains of a deceased military service member who dies while serving in the United States armed forces.)

Subcommittee C: Draft legislation relating to gubernatorial succession

August 2

Subcommittee A: Prison overcrowding

Subcommittee C: Draft legislation relating to the rule-making process

August 3

Full Committee: Reports of the subcommittees

West Virginia Interim Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary meets; will look at public financing of judicial elections and succession for elected officials

The West Virginia Legislature’s July interim meetings are being held this week, including the Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary and at least two subcommittees (A and C, there is no online agenda for subcommittee B as of this writing). Update 7/12: subcommittee B is meeting, see below.

Subcommittee A will look at prison overcrowding, including a discussion of overcrowding by a panel of Circuit Judges and Prosecutors, plus the West Virginia correctional population forecast, 2010-2020.

Subcommittee B will look at federal requirements for municipal wastewater treatment systems.

Subcommittee C will look at the state’s rule making process as well as an overview of the state’s succession laws for elected officials, including a discussion of identified problems in the existing laws.

The full committee will receive a staff review of the recent U.S. Supreme Court case relating to public financing of elections, Arizona Free Enterprise Club v. Bennett. West Virginia in 2010 created a pilot public financing system for the 2012 Supreme Court of Appeal races (HB 4130 of 2010) that may or may not be impacted by the case(s).

Bans on court use of sharia/international law: Michigan becomes 22nd state to consider, Texas House tries again to get Senate to adopt

This post has been updated. Click here.

With Alabama, Iowa, and North Carolina all set to adjourn in June, it looked as if there would not be any additional sharia/international law bans introduced or debated in 2011. However, in mid-June Michigan introduced a bill (HB 4769) co-sponsored by 42 of 63 Michigan House Republicans that copied much of the language from the versions introduced in Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, South Dakota, and West Virginia, in particular the use of the term “informal tribunals” or “informal administrative body” in all of these versions, something that does not appear in the others.

Meanwhile, Texas in its special session reintroduced one of theirs from the regular session. I went into the details of the legislative machinations in May in Texas in my last update. In sum, the ban was limited to family law/Family Code cases by a House committee (HB 911), was added onto the “losers pays” tort reform bill at the last minute on the House floor (Amendment #6 to HB 274), and stripped out by a Senate committee.

June proved to be a repeat of May’s efforts. The original HB 79A, a bill for the implementation of the judiciary budget, did not include the ban. Instead, it was again floor amended in (Amendment #12), over the objections of a least one member of the House who attempted to have the amendment ruled not germane to the bill. The amendment was ruled germane and adopted on a 105-29-2 vote. Once again, a Senate committee (this time the Jurisprudence Committee) stripped the provision out and the bill was sent to the governor without the ban on June 29.

Full roster of 49 bills introduced in 2011 in 22 states and their statuses after the jump.

Continue reading Bans on court use of sharia/international law: Michigan becomes 22nd state to consider, Texas House tries again to get Senate to adopt

West Virginia Interim Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary meeting throughout week

The West Virginia Legislature’s June interim meetings are being held this week, including the Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary and its subcommittees (A, B, and C).

On the agendas this week is staff presentation of study topics. Among the items for the full committee and its subcommittees during the interim:

SB 444 Relating to protection of nonfamily or nonhousehold members from violations of personal safety
HB 2755 Relating to mentally ill persons
SCR 48 Need to clarify law relating to disposition of deceased person’s remains
SCR 79 Need for authorizing executive director of Public Defender Services control over public defender corporations
SCR 94 Making pseudoephedrine and ephedrine available only by prescription
HCR 100 Need for legislation to clarify the law relating to the right of disposition of a deceased person’s remains
HCR 126 Need for criminal penalties for utilizing computers, mobile telephones and electronic devices to transmit obscene, anonymous and harassing communications
HCR 131 Captive cervid farming as an agricultural enterprise and the impact of transferring regulatory authority of captive cervids
HCR 150 Study relating to bullying in the public schools of West Virginia
Study on succession of elected officials generally
Study on voting by mail and same day registration
Study of Legislative Rulemaking process
Study on family law and adoption generally
Study on federal requirements for municipal wastewater treatment systems
Study on Prison Overcrowding
Study on Substance Abuse Generally
New Jersey Bullying Law

Bans on court use of sharia/international law: 38 of 47 bills died or rejected this session; only 1 enacted into law

This post has been updated. Click here.

With most state legislatures going out of session, May proved to relatively inactive for bills seeking to ban court use of sharia/international law. In the May update (located here) there were 44 bills in 21 states. In June, the number of bills climbed to 47 in 21 states. As of today, the status of the 47 breaks down as follows:

38 died due to adjournment or had been rejected by their respective legislatures.

1 was signed into law (Arizona’s HB 2064 on April 12).

8 remain at least theoretically active: 4 in Alabama; 3 in Iowa; 1 in North Carolina.

Texas was the focus of much of the May activity. On May 9, the text of the House Committee on Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence ban (HB 911) approved in April was floor-amended (Amendment #6) into the so-called “loser pays” tort reform bill (HB 274). This version, as amended in committee, was much more limited than others and specified it applied in matters “arising under the Family Code” only and then only if “the application of that [foreign] law would violate a right guaranteed by the United States Constitution or the constitution or a statute of this state.” Amendment 6 was approved by a 112-31 vote in the House, but was removed by the Senate State Affairs committee and failed to be enacted when the final version of HB 274 was signed into law May 30.

Meanwhile, on (May 10) the House Select Committee on State Sovereignty advanced a broader version (HB 1240) of a sharia/international law ban

“foreign or international law or doctrine” means a law, rule, legal code, or principle of a jurisdiction outside the legal traditions of the states and territories of the United States, including international laws, that do not have a binding effect on this state or the United States…A court, arbitrator, or administrative adjudicator may not base a ruling or decision on: (1) a foreign or international law or doctrine; or (2) a prior ruling or decision that was based on a foreign or international law or doctrine.

HB 1240 proceeded to the House Calendars committee, where it died when the legislature adjourned.

Full roster of bills introduced in 2011 and their status after the jump.

Continue reading Bans on court use of sharia/international law: 38 of 47 bills died or rejected this session; only 1 enacted into law