H.R. NO.



H.D. 1





REQUESTING THE attorney general TO report to the legislature on progress made by the office of the attorney general and the prosecuting attorneys from the counties of the state of hawaii in uSing chapter 846E, hawaii revised statutes, to restore public access to REGISTRATION information regarding DANGEROUS persons convicted of certain offenses against children and certain sexual offenses.


WHEREAS, in 1996, the federal government enacted what has become known as "Megan's Law," requiring states to collect and release relevant information necessary to protect the public from sexual offenders; and

WHEREAS, the law was named after Megan Kanka, a seven-year-old girl from Hamilton, New Jersey, killed by a neighbor who had, unbeknownst to the Kanka family, previously been convicted of a sexual offense; and

WHEREAS, Megan's Law was passed with the hope that similar tragedies might be averted if information regarding dangerous sex offenders was made available to the public; and

WHEREAS, according to data in an October 2003 report entitled "Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994," issued by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, "[c]ompared to non-sex offenders released from State prisons, released sex offenders were 4 times more likely to be rearrested for a sex crime" and the "first 12 months following their release from a State prison was the period when 40 percent of sex crimes were allegedly committed by the released sex offender;" and

WHEREAS, in 1997, the Legislature passed Hawaii's own Megan's Law, Chapter 846E, Hawaii Revised Statutes (Hawaii's Megans Law), entitled "Sex Offender Registration and Notification," which requires individuals convicted of certain offenses against children and certain sexual offenses to

register with a sex-offender registry by providing information relating to their identity, residence, employment, education, medical treatment, and vehicle; and

WHEREAS, Hawaii's Megan's Law, also allows for public notification through the public release of certain registration information; and

WHEREAS, in 2001, the Hawaii State Supreme Court in State v. Bani, 97 Haw. 285, struck down the public-notification component of Hawaii's Megan's Law, as a violation of the defendant's due process rights because the "State must allow a registered sex offender a meaningful opportunity to argue that he or she does not represent a threat to the community and that public notification is not necessary, or that he or she represents only a limited threat such that limited public notification is appropriate;" and

WHEREAS, the defendant in Bani had been convicted of sexual assault in the fourth degree, section 707-733(1)(a), Hawaii Revised Statutes, a misdemeanor crime; and

WHEREAS, the Bani case resulted in a shut down of Hawaii's internet public sex-offender registry; and

WHEREAS, the Legislature, working at the request of the Attorney General, has twice amended Hawaii's Megan's Law, in Act 234, Session Laws of Hawaii (SLH) 2002 and Act 62, SLH 2003, to quickly provide offenders with a "meaningful opportunity" to be heard, as required under Bani, so that the internet sex-offender registry could be revived and people could know about dangerous offenders and take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones, especially their children; and

WHEREAS, despite these amendments to Hawaii's Megan's Law allowing for the revival of the internet sex-offender registry, it remains dormant and there appears to be no evidence that a single hearing has been completed under Hawaii's Megan's Law; and

WHEREAS, the people of the State of Hawaii deserve to have immediate efforts made to revive the internet sex-offender registry using the legal procedure currently available under Hawaii's Megan's Law; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2004, that the Attorney General, with the full cooperation of the county prosecutors, is requested to commence immediate efforts to revive the internet sex-offender registry through the procedures currently available under Hawaii's Megan's Law, and report to the Legislature on the progress of those efforts; specifically, to report on the following:

(1) The criteria used to decide which offenders to pursue first for hearings under this law, including such factors as the age of the conviction, the types of underlying facts favorable to a finding of dangerousness, whether the offenders were currently on probation or parole, the level of the offense, and the severity of the underlying crime;

(2) The resources dedicated to pursuing hearings under this law, including number and type of personnel assigned to this task, and the hours allocated to immediately commence this important task;

(3) A chronology of the steps taken by the Attorney General's office and the offices of the county prosecutor to use the hearing procedure under this law to revive the internet sex-offender registry; and

(4) The results of these efforts, including the dates that hearings were commenced and completed, and the dates that sex-offender registration information was or will be once again made available to the public on the internet sex-offender registry.

The Attorney General is requested to submit the resulting findings to the Legislature in a preliminary report on September 30, 2004, and in a final report twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2005; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the report shall categorize the offenses of individuals who are registered under Hawaii's Megan's Law, the number of individuals in each category of offense, a breakdown by counties and the extent to which hearings have been brought, and adjudicated to completion; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Office of the Attorney General is requested to inform the Legislature, before any hearings are commenced but not later than Thursday, May 27, 2004, of its position regarding whether and to what extent the hearing process under Hawaii's Megan's Law requires the participation of a public defender; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Attorney General, Adult Client Services, and Hawaii Paroling Authority are requested to work in close consultation to expeditiously identify high-priority candidates for the internet sex-offender registry so the Attorney General can move quickly to have these offenders placed on a public internet sex-offender registry; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the county prosecutors are requested to cooperate fully with the Attorney General in efforts to effectuate the request being made in this Resolution; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Judiciary is requested to keep statistics on any hearings requested under Hawaii's Megan's Law; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Attorney General, Judiciary, county chiefs of police, county prosecuting attorneys, Public Defender, Adult Client Services, Hawaii Paroling Authority, Hawaii State Bar Association, and Governor.

Report Title:

846E Constitutional Amendment