710-1072 Tampering with a witness. (1) A person commits the offense of tampering with a witness if he intentionally engages in conduct to induce a witness or a person he believes is about to be called as a witness in any official proceeding to:

(a) Testify falsely or withhold any testimony which he is not privileged to withhold; or

(b) Absent himself from any official proceeding to which he has been legally summoned.

(2) Tampering with a witness is a misdemeanor. [L 1972, c 9, pt of 1]

 

COMMENTARY ON 710-1072

 

The social harm dealt with in this section is the same as that dealt with in the prior two sections, however, the means specified in the definition of this offense (i.e., conduct intended to induce) are not as culpable as in the former sections, hence tampering with a witness is only graded as a misdemeanor. A person who attempts to affect testimony, or the absence of it, by, e.g., persuasion or trickery, as opposed to bribery or intimidation, does not commit an offense grave enough to be condemned as a felony. However, unlike the sections on witness bribery and intimidation,[1] an attempt to induce a prospective witness to avoid process is not made an offense: this is because neither the means nor the end is illegal in itself.[2]

Previous Hawaii law recognized no offense equivalent to tampering with a witness. And, though it is conceivable that such conduct could have been penalized under the general contempt power of the court, there appear no reported cases on the point.

 

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710-1072 Commentary:

 

1. 710-1070 and 1071, respectively.

 

2. Prop. Mich. Rev. Cr. Code, comments at 414.

 

 

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