711-1108 Abuse of a corpse. (1) A person commits the offense of abuse of a corpse if, except as authorized by law, the person treats a human corpse in a way that the person knows would outrage ordinary family sensibilities.

(2) The preparation of a corpse for burial or cremation in a manner consistent with traditional Hawaiian cultural customs and practices shall not be a violation of this section.

(3) The burial or cremation of a corpse prepared consistent with traditional Hawaiian cultural customs and practices shall not be a violation of this section.

(4) Abuse of a corpse is a misdemeanor. [L 1972, c 9, pt of 1; gen ch 1993; am L 2015, c 171, 2]

 

COMMENTARY ON 711-1108

 

This section prohibits any sort of outrageous treatment of a human corpse, including sexual contact (necrophilia) and physical abuse. It does not, of course, relate to legally authorized activities of undertakers and physicians. Knowledge that ordinary family sensibilities would be outraged must be proved.

Previous Hawaii law prohibited the disinterment, disturbance, or scattering of any human body that has been legally interred.[1] Section 711-1108 is more comprehensive in coverage.

 

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711-1108 Commentary:

 

1. H.R.S. 734-3.

 

SUPPLEMENTAL COMMENTARY ON 711-1108

 

Act 171, Session Laws 2015, amended this section to recognize and support traditional Hawaiian burial or cremation practices by clarifying that the preparation, burial, or cremation of a corpse in a manner consistent with Hawaiian cultural customs and practices is not a violation of the Penal Code's prohibition of abuse of a corpse. The legislature found that Act 171 was necessary to address confusion about whether the use of traditional Hawaiian customs and practices to prepare human remains for burial or cremation and the burial or cremation of a corpse prepared consistent with those customs and practices violate the law. Senate Standing Committee Report No. 339, House Standing Committee Report No. 1383.

 

 

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