Honolulu, Hawaii
                                                     , 1999

                                   RE:  S.B. No. 591
                                        S.D. 1

Honorable Norman Mizuguchi
President of the Senate
Twentieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 1999
State of Hawaii


     Your Committee on Judiciary, to which was referred S.B.
No. 591 entitled: 


begs leave to report as follows:

     The purpose of this bill, as received by your Committee, is
to prohibit the courts from granting orders permitting custody
and visitation rights for a parent who has murdered the other
parent of the child.

     Your Committee finds that evidence of domestic violence is a
relevant factor that courts need to consider when making a
determination as to child custody or visitation awards.  It is
estimated that more than three million children in the United
States annually witness domestic violence.  Your Committee
further finds that it may not be in the best interest of the
child to be required to visit a parent who has been convicted of
murdering the child's other parent.  Children are harmed --
cognitively, psychologically, and socially -- merely by observing
or hearing the domestic brutality against a parent at home.  Your
Committee notes that these children are already traumatized by
the domestic abuse and resulting homicide.  For most children the
physical act of going to a prison to visit their parent can also
be intimidating and traumatic.

     Although your Committee firmly believes in and supports the
intent of this bill, your Committee recognizes that the bill
leaves many questions unanswered.  For example, 

                                   STAND. COM. REP. NO. 825
                                   Page 2

     (1)  Should a parent who is convicted of the lesser offense
          of manslaughter be prevented from seeing the parent's

     (2)  Should a parent who kills the other parent in self-
          defense be prevented from seeing the parent's child? 

     (3)  How should a "child of suitable age" be defined?

Your Committee realizes that the best interests of the child may
be more appropriately determined by the seasoned and experienced
judges of our family courts.

     Testimony in support of this measure was submitted by the
Domestic Violence Clearinghouse and Legal Hotline, Hawaii State
Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Child and Family

     Upon further consideration, your Committee has amended this
measure by:

     (1)  Deleting the provision that prohibits a court from
          granting visitation rights for a child to a parent who
          has been convicted of murder of the other parent of the

     (2)  Providing that before an order for visitation can be
          granted, the court must find that the child's physical
          safety and psychological well-being will be protected;

     (3)  Making technical, non-substantive changes for the
          purposes of clarity and style.

     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your
Committee on Judiciary that is attached to this report, your
Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B.
No. 591, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second
Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 591, S.D. 1, and
be placed on the calendar for Third Reading.

                                   STAND. COM. REP. NO. 825
                                   Page 3

                                   Respectfully submitted on
                                   behalf of the members of the
                                   Committee on Judiciary,

                                   AVERY B. CHUMBLEY, Co-Chair

                                   MATTHEW M. MATSUNAGA, Co-Chair