State Victims' Rights Amendments
Hawaii does not currently have a victims' rights amendment to its Constitution.
Senate Bill 509 was introduced on January 18, 2013 and was unanimously reported out of committee favorably, without amendments, on February 7, 2013. The text of the bill [PDF] reads:
A BILL FOR AN ACT PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE I OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF HAWAII RELATING TO RIGHTS OF CRIME VICTIMS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The purpose of this Act is to propose an amendment to article I of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii to provide recognized and protected constitutional rights for crime victims and their surviving immediate family members.
The legislature finds that although those accused of crimes have various rights specified in article I, section 14, of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii, crime victims and their survivors currently have no constitutional protections. The egislature further finds that crime victims, whose injuries and losses provide the justification and responsibility of the State for criminal prosecution, should be treated with dignity, respect and courtesy and their rights should be protected in a manner no less vigorous than those of the accused.
The legislature additionally finds that because Hawaii is one of eighteen states that do not have a victims' rights constitutional amendment, it must join the other states and amend its constitution to establish rights for crime victims. The legislature notes that the proposed amendment does not
diminish the rights of offenders. Rather, it offers a better balance between the rights of crime victims and the rights of offenders.
The legislature therefore concludes that the Constitution of the State of Hawaii should be amended to guarantee that crime victims and their immediate surviving family members have
specific rights related to information pertaining to and participation in the criminal justice process.
SECTION 2. Article I of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
"RIGHTS OF CRIME VICTIMS
Section . A crime victim or deceased victim's surviving immediate family members shall have the following rights:
- To be treated with courtesy, fairness and respect for their dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice process;
- To receive Drotection from threats of harm;
- To be informed of a victim's constitutional rishts. available financial assistance and other services available for crime victims and witnesses:
- To a speedy trial or disposition of their case;
- Upon written request, to be notified in a timely manner of all public court proceedings related to the offense, major developments in the case and the final disposition of the case;
- To be present at all public court proceedings related to the offense unless the court determines that the victim's presence would materially affect the victim's testimony;
- To be consulted with and advised of any plea agreement by the prosecuting attorney;
- To be notified in a timely manner, be heard and participate in any process or deliberation that may result in a post-arrest release decision, a negotiated plea or sentencing of
- To be notified in a timely manner, provide input, be heard and participate in any process or deliberation that may result in the offender's post-conviction release from confinement, including any type of release by the department of public safety;
- To be notified in a timely manner and be heard regarding any developments relating to the release, discharge, commitment or unauthorized absence of the offender who was
committed or involuntarily hospitalized under chapter 704 or 706, Hawaii Revised Statutes;
- To be notified in a timely manner of changes in the offender's custodial status, including but not limited to transfer between facilities, escape, furlough, work release, placement on supervised release, release on parole, release on bail bond, release on appeal bond, any type of release by the department of public safety and final discharge at the end of
the prison term:
- To have property expeditiously returned bv law enforcement agencies when the property is no longer needed as evidence; and
- To receive prompt restitution from the person or persons convicted.
The crime victim. the crime victim's lawful representative and the attorney for the State may assert the rights established by this section. A person accused of the crime may not obtain any form of relief established by this section.
The rights established by this section may be asserted in any circuit or appellate court with jurisdiction over the case as a matter of right. The court shall act promptly on such a request.
In any appeal in a criminal case, the State may assert as error the court's denial of any criminal victim's right in the proceeding to which the appeal relates.
The legislature shall have the power to enact laws to define, implement and preserve the rights established by this section.'
SECTION 3. The question to be printed on the ballot shall be as follows:
"Shall crime victims and their immediate surviving family members be provided rights in the Constitution of the State of Hawaii, including courteous, fair and respectful treatment throughout the criminal justice process; notification of critical proceedings, possible plea agreements and case dispositions; a speedy trial; the opportunity to be present at public proceedings; the opportunity to speak at the sentencing hearing; financial reimbursement from the offender; and notification of the offender's release from custody?"
SECTION 4. New constitutional material is underscored.
SECTION 5. This amendment shall take effect upon compliance with article XVII, section 3, of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii.
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