PART IV. IMPRISONMENT

 

Law Journals and Reviews

 

The Abandonment of Punishment. 16 HBJ, no. 2, at 63 (1981).

 

706-656 Terms of imprisonment for first and second degree murder and attempted first and second degree murder. (1) Persons eighteen years of age or over at the time of the offense who are convicted of first degree murder or first degree attempted murder shall be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

As part of such sentence, the court shall order the director of public safety and the Hawaii paroling authority to prepare an application for the governor to commute the sentence to life imprisonment with parole at the end of twenty years of imprisonment; provided that persons who are repeat offenders under section 706-606.5 shall serve at least the applicable mandatory minimum term of imprisonment.

Persons under the age of eighteen years at the time of the offense who are convicted of first degree murder or first degree attempted murder shall be sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.

(2) Except as provided in section 706-657, pertaining to enhanced sentence for second degree murder, persons convicted of second degree murder and attempted second degree murder shall be sentenced to life imprisonment with possibility of parole. The minimum length of imprisonment shall be determined by the Hawaii paroling authority; provided that persons who are repeat offenders under section 706-606.5 shall serve at least the applicable mandatory minimum term of imprisonment.

If the court imposes a sentence of life imprisonment without possibility of parole pursuant to section 706-657, as part of that sentence, the court shall order the director of public safety and the Hawaii paroling authority to prepare an application for the governor to commute the sentence to life imprisonment with parole at the end of twenty years of imprisonment; provided that persons who are repeat offenders under section 706-606.5 shall serve at least the applicable mandatory minimum term of imprisonment. [L 1986, c 314, 39; am L 1987, c 181, 6 and c 338, 10; am L 1989, c 211, 8; am L 1993, c 271, 2; am L 1996, c 15, 1; am L 2014, c 202, 2]

 

Note

 

The 2014 amendment applies to proceedings arising on or after July 2, 2014 and to proceedings that were begun but not concluded before July 2, 2014. L 2014, c 202, 6.

 

COMMENTARY ON 706-656

 

Act 271, Session Laws 1993, amended this section to provide that in cases designated under 706-657, the person may be sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole. The legislature felt that the court should have the discretion to determine when the circumstances of the murder justify the enhanced sentence, and that this discretion should be limited to those situations demonstrating exceptional depravity. House Standing Committee Report No. 1171, Senate Standing Committee Report No. 689.

Act 202, Session Laws 2014, amended subsection (1) by applying a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole to persons eighteen years of age or over at the time of the offense who are convicted of first degree murder or first degree attempted murder; and requiring that persons under eighteen years of age at the time of the offense who are convicted of first degree murder or first degree attempted murder are sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. The legislature found that Hawaii is one of the few states that still allow life sentences without the possibility of parole for juvenile offenders. International law prohibits life sentence without parole for juvenile offenders under the age of eighteen at the time the crime is committed. The United States is the only country in the world that sentences its children to a lifetime of incarceration. In Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012), the U.S. Supreme Court held that mandatory life sentences without parole for those under the age of eighteen at the time of their crimes violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments. The legislature also recognized that mitigating factors may exist for cases involving a juvenile offender. In Miller, the Supreme Court stated that youth is a moment and "condition of life when a person may be most susceptible to influence and to psychological damage." Therefore, the legislature encouraged the sentencing judge to take into account and consider any mitigating factors for cases involving a juvenile offender. Senate Standing Committee Report No. 3248, Conference Committee Report No. 56-14.

 

Case Notes

 

For sentencing purposes, conspiracy to commit second degree murder is a class C felony under 706-610 and subject to the sentencing provisions of 706-660, not this section. 84 H. 280, 933 P.2d 617 (1997).

Sentence for murder not an extended term. 6 H. App. 409, 723 P.2d 186 (1986).

 

 

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