State v. Weeks, 94-311

CourtSupreme Court of New Hampshire
Citation681 A.2d 86,141 N.H. 248
Docket NumberNo. 94-311,94-311
PartiesThe STATE of New Hampshire v. Velvet WEEKS.
Decision Date02 August 1996

Page 86

681 A.2d 86
141 N.H. 248
The STATE of New Hampshire
Velvet WEEKS.
No. 94-311.
Supreme Court of New Hampshire.
Aug. 2, 1996.

Page 87

Jeffrey R. Howard, Attorney General (Mark D. Attorri, Assistant Attorney General, on the brief and orally), for State.

Joachim Barth, Assistant Appellate Defender, Concord, by brief and orally, for defendant.

HORTON, Justice.

The defendant, Velvet Weeks, appeals the revocation of her suspended sentence. She argues that the Superior Court (Morrill, J.) erred in relying on a misdemeanor stalking conviction as the basis for revoking her suspended sentence from a prior witness tampering conviction because she was not provided with counsel during the proceedings on the stalking charge. She also challenges the constitutionality of the stalking statute, RSA 633:3-a (Supp.1995). We affirm.

[141 N.H. 249] In November 1989, the defendant pled guilty to witness tampering, a class B felony. RSA 641:5 (1986). She was sentenced to one-and-one-half to three years in prison, suspended for five years on the condition of good behavior. In September 1993, the defendant was charged with stalking. RSA 633:3-a. The complaint alleged that the defendant had verbally threatened the victim on three occasions and had looked into the windows of the victim's home. The offense was originally charged as a class A misdemeanor but was reduced to a class B misdemeanor at the arraignment. See RSA 625:9, VII(a) (Supp.1995). Because incarceration is not an available sentence for a class B misdemeanor, see RSA 625:9, IV(b) (Supp.1995), the defendant was not provided with counsel. The defendant was convicted of the offense in December 1993.

Shortly thereafter, the State moved to revoke the suspended witness tampering sentence on the basis of the defendant's misdemeanor stalking conviction. The defendant, who was represented by counsel during the suspension proceedings, filed a motion in limine to exclude evidence of the misdemeanor conviction, arguing that an uncounseled conviction cannot be used as a basis to revoke a suspended sentence. During the first of two days of hearings in April 1994, the trial court denied the defendant's motion. The State introduced a certified copy of her conviction, which the defendant challenged, asserting that the stalking statute is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague. The trial court rejected the State's argument that the constitutionality of the statute could not be attacked collaterally, and found no constitutional deficiency in the statute. The court then found that the defendant had violated the good behavior condition of her suspended sentence, and ordered her to serve nine months to two years of the sentence.

The defendant appeals, arguing that: (1) the trial court's revocation of her suspended sentence, based upon her uncounseled class B misdemeanor conviction, violates her rights to counsel and due process under part I, article 15 of the New Hampshire Constitution and the fifth, sixth, and fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution; and (2) RSA 633:3-a, the stalking statute, is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad

Page 88

under part I, article 15 of the New Hampshire Constitution and the fifth and fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution.

We address the defendant's claim first under the State Constitution, State v. Ball, 124 N.H. 226, 231, 471 A.2d 347, 350 (1983), considering cases from the federal courts and courts of other States only as an analytical aid, State v. Grant-Chase, 140 N.H. 264, 266, 665 A.2d 380, 382 (1995), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 116 S.Ct. 1431, 134 L.Ed.2d 553 (1996). Where, [141 N.H. 250] as in the instant case, the federal law is not more favorable to the defendant, see Nichols v. United States, 511 U.S. 1921, 114 S.Ct. 1921, 128 L.Ed.2d 745 (1994), we make no separate federal analysis. See State v. Justus, 140 N.H. 413, 414, 666 A.2d 1353, 1354 (1995).

We first address the defendant's right to counsel claim. It is well-settled that absent a valid waiver, an indigent defendant may not be sentenced to imprisonment unless he or she was represented by counsel in the proceedings leading to his or her conviction. Scott v. Illinois, 440 U.S. 367, 373-74, 99 S.Ct. 1158, 1161-62, 59 L.Ed.2d 383 (1979). Conversely, when no term of incarceration is imposed, a defendant charged with a misdemeanor has no constitutional right to counsel. See id. The defendant argues that because the uncounseled misdemeanor stalking conviction provided the sole basis for revoking the defendant's suspended sentence, she was incarcerated without the assistance of counsel in violation of her right to counsel. See Argersinger v. Hamlin, 407 U.S. 25, 37, 92 S.Ct. 2006, 2012, 32 L.Ed.2d 530...

To continue reading

Request your trial
19 cases
  • State v. Gregory Alan Me., DA 10–0329.
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • May 2, 2011
    ...counsels for similarly atypical protection.” Carpentier, 521 N.W.2d at 199–200 (internal citations omitted). ¶ 55 In State v. Weeks, 141 N.H. 248, 681 A.2d 86 (1996), the Supreme Court of New Hampshire considered the defendant's challenge to a prior misdemeanor stalking conviction on the gr......
  • State v. Young, 13–0983.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • April 3, 2015
    ...v. Commonwealth, 885 S.W.2d 931, 937 (Ky.1994) ; People v. Carpentier, 446 Mich. 19, 521 N.W.2d 195, 199–200 (1994) ; State v. Weeks, 141 N.H. 248, 681 A.2d 86, 89–90 (1996) ; State v. Mund, 593 N.W.2d 760, 761 (N.D.1999) ; State v. Boskind, 174 Vt. 184, 807 A.2d 358, 360, 362–64 (2002) ; S......
  • State v. Burkett, 26812.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • June 25, 2014
    ...(2000); State v. Louthan, 257 Neb. 174, 595 N.W.2d 917, 926–27 (1999); State v. Mund, 593 N.W.2d 760, 761–62 (N.D.1999); State v. Weeks, 141 N.H. 248, 681 A.2d 86, 89–90 (1996); State v. Delacruz, 258 Kan. 129, 899 P.2d 1042, 1049 (1995); McGuire v. Commonwealth, 885 S.W.2d 931, 937 (Ky.199......
  • Commonwealth v. Faherty, 16–P–1486
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • April 11, 2018
    ...recognizes no right to appointed counsel in a criminal proceeding in which there is no possibility of incarceration. State v. Weeks, 141 N.H. 248, 250, 681 A.2d 86 (1996). Accord State v. Westover, 140 N.H. 375, 377–379, 666 A.2d 1344 (1995). Accordingly, although we may presume that the de......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT