Report Title:

Public Officials; Enhanced Sentencing for Property Offenses

Description:

Provides that certain elected and appointed state and county officials who commit an offense against property rights while knowingly or intentionally using their official position in a manner outside of the course and scope of their office or employment are to receive an enhanced sentence.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

371

TWENTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2003

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 


 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

relating to offenses against property rights.

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

SECTION 1. The legislature finds that while most of Hawaii's elected and appointed public servants are law-abiding individuals who work hard for the best interests of the State and its people, there are those who compromise the integrity of their office and bring dishonor to all public servants.

The legislature finds that there is a need to deter public corruption by those public officials who abuse the power of their office by providing that individuals who are elected to a state or county office or appointed as the head of a state or county principal executive department, who commit an offense against property rights (such as forgery or theft) while knowingly or intentionally using their official position in a manner outside of the course and scope of the person's office or employment, are to receive an "enhanced sentence".

The enhanced sentence essentially is intended to step up the penalty for an offense to the next higher penalty, and depends on the sentence of the underlying offense that the public official committed. For example, if the public official committed the offense of theft in the fourth degree, which is ordinarily a petty misdemeanor, upon conviction the public official will receive an enhanced sentence of a misdemeanor.

The legislature finds that this Act is necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of the people of this State to restore the people's faith in the integrity of state and county governments and their elected and appointed officials.

SECTION 2. Chapter 708, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"708- Enhanced sentencing for certain public officials; criteria. (1) A convicted defendant shall be subject to an enhanced sentence as provided in subsection (2) if the convicted defendant:

(a) Was elected to a state or county office or appointed as the head of a state or county principal executive department;

(b) Has been convicted of an offense under this chapter; and

(c) In committing the offense, knowingly or intentionally used the person's official position in a manner that was outside of the legitimate use of the person's office or employment.

(2) In a case designated in subsection (1), a convicted defendant shall be sentenced as follows:

(a) If the penalty for the underlying offense is a violation, the sentence shall be enhanced to a petty misdemeanor;

(b) If the penalty for the underlying offense is a petty misdemeanor, the sentence shall be enhanced to a misdemeanor;

(c) If the penalty for the underlying offense is a misdemeanor, the sentence shall be enhanced to a class C felony;

(d) If the penalty for the underlying offense is a class C felony, the sentence shall be enhanced to a class B felony;

(e) If the penalty for the underlying offense is a class B felony, the sentence shall be enhanced to a class A felony; and

(f) If the penalty for the underlying offense is a class A felony, the sentence shall not be enhanced."

SECTION 3. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun, before its effective date.

SECTION 4. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

INTRODUCED BY:

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