Domestic Violence; Sentencing

Requires courts, in imposing a sentence, to consider the fact
that the crime was committed in the presence of a minor. (SB823

THE SENATE                              S.B. NO.           S.D. 1
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                H.D. 2
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that in homes in which
 2 domestic violence occurs, children are at high-risk of suffering
 3 abuse themselves.  In addition, witnessing acts of domestic
 4 violence--whether in the form of partner violence, generalized
 5 hostility, or child maltreatment--is one of the best predictors
 6 of juvenile delinquency and adult criminality.  Regardless of
 7 whether children are physically abused, however, the legislature
 8 finds that the emotional effects of witnessing family violence
 9 are very similar to the psychological trauma associated with
10 being a victim of child abuse.
11      Nationally, an estimated 3.3 million children witness
12 domestic violence each year.  In families where domestic violence
13 is prevalent, the emotional and mental suffering and harm is
14 greater to those children who actually are present during the
15 battering than to those who do not witness this trauma first
16 hand.
17      Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to to require judges

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 1 when imposing a sentence for certain domestic violence offenses,
 2 to consider that the domestic violence was committed in the
 3 presence of a minor.
 4      SECTION 2.  Chapter 706, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended
 5 by adding a new section to part I to be appropriately designated
 6 and to read as follows:
 7      "706-    Sentencing in domestic violence offenses committed
 8 in the presence of a minor.  (1)  The following factors shall be
 9 considered by a court in imposing a sentence under section
10 706-606:
11      (a)  The defendant has been convicted of committing or
12           attempting to commit an offense involving domestic
13           violence;
14      (b)  The defendant is or has been a family or household
15           member of either a minor referred to in paragraph (c)
16           or the victim of the offense; and
17      (c)  The offense contemporaneously occurred in the presence
18           of a minor.
19      (2)  As used in this section:
20      "Family or household member" has the same meaning as defined
21 in section 709-906.
22      "Offense" means a violation of section 707-710 (assault in
23 the first degree), 707-711 (assault in the second degree),

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                                     S.B. NO.           S.D. 1
                                                        H.D. 2

 1 707-730 (sexual assault in the first degree), 707-731 (sexual
 2 assault in the second degree), 707-732 (sexual assault in the
 3 third degree), or 709-906 (abuse of family and household
 4 members).
 5      "In the presence of a minor" means in the actual physical
 6 presence of a child or knowing that a child is present and may
 7 hear or see the offense."
 8      SECTION 3.  This Act does not affect rights and duties that
 9 matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were
10 begun, before its effective date.
11      SECTION 4.  New statutory material is underscored.
12      SECTION 5.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.