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Joshua's Law: Introduction

Reviewed 1/29/2019

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Joshua’s Law was signed into law in the summer of 2014 and went into effect on January 1, 2015. Joshua's Law establishes the crime of domestic violence which will allow police officers and prosecutors to identify patterns by abusers more easily while providing victims with access to support and protections as early as possible. The law was named for Joshua Sayvon, who was fatally shot by his father during a supervised visit at the Manchester YWCA in August 2013. 

Popular Names

The name “Joshua’s Law” is the “popular name” of the law. According to the Cornell Legal Information Institute, popular names may have different purposes:

Sometimes they say something about the substance of the law (as with the '2002 Winter Olympic Commemorative Coin Act'). Sometimes they are a way of recognizing or honoring the sponsor or creator of a particular law (as with the 'Taft-Hartley Act'). And sometimes they are meant to garner political support for a law by giving it a catchy name (as with the 'USA Patriot Act' or the 'Take Pride in America Act') or by invoking public outrage or sympathy (as with any number of laws named for victims of crimes). History books, newspapers, and other sources use the popular name to refer to these laws.  

We've talked about finding New Hampshire laws by popular name before in our post about Jessica's Law. Other states may have laws with the same name but on different topics. News articles will often use a law's popular name but won't include the citation to the law itself. And, popular names aren't always included in the text of the statutory code so a keyword search in the Revised Statutes Online will return no results. Fortunately, the print index to the New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated includes a heading for Popular Names and under that heading is an entry for Joshua's Law. This doesn't always work but when it does, it's a great shortcut to finding the law.  


Please remember that this guide is for information purposes only and is not comprehensive.  It is intended as a starting point for research, to illustrate the various sources of the law, and to provide guidance in their use. NH Law About ... is not a substitute for the services of an attorney.