Relating to Criminal Offenses
Allows for the prosecution of class B and C felony offenses via information in addition to grand jury indictments and preliminary hearings.
TWENTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2003
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO CRIMINAL OFFENSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. Chapter 806, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
"§806- Felonies - prosecution by information. (a) Criminal charges may be instituted by written information signed by a legal prosecuting officer when:
(1) The offense is designated as a class B or class C felony; or
(2) The offense is punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding one year but not more than ten years.
(b) When offenses are prosecuted by information, the legal prosecuting officer shall attach an exhibit or exhibits demonstrating the existence of probable cause to believe that the offense or offenses charged in the information have been committed and that the defendant committed the offense or offenses. The exhibit or exhibits shall include but are not limited to, affidavits sworn to before the legal prosecuting officer, to the information. In addition, the exhibits may include, but are not limited to documents, photographs, recordings, or other materials or copies thereof. The information and all attached exhibits shall be filed in the circuit court.
(c) When an information is filed, the court shall review the information and its exhibits to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed the offense or offenses charged. If the court determines that there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed the offense or offenses charged, the court shall set bail and direct the clerk to issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant.
(d) The defendant may move in circuit court to dismiss the information on the grounds that the information and its attachments do not demonstrate the existence of probable cause to believe that the offense or offenses charged have been committed or that the defendant committed the offense or offenses. Upon the filing of the motion to dismiss, the court shall schedule a hearing to be held within a reasonable time.
(e) At the hearing on the motion to dismiss the information, the information and all its attachments shall be before the court. The defendant may call witnesses and may introduce evidence if the witnesses or evidence are relevant to the existence of probable cause to charge the defendant. The court may, in its discretion, permit the State to call witnesses, introduce evidence, or otherwise supplement the exhibits appended to the information.
(f) After conducting the hearing on the motion to dismiss the information, the court shall determine from an examination of the information and its attachments, and in light of any evidence presented at the hearing, whether there exists probable cause to believe that the offense or offenses charged have been committed and that the defendant committed the offense or offenses. A finding of the existence of probable cause may be based in whole or in part upon hearsay evidence or on evidence that may ultimately be ruled to be inadmissible at the trial.
(g) For the purposes of this section, "legal prosecuting officer" means the attorney general or a prosecuting attorney, deputy attorney general, deputy prosecuting attorney, or a person designated and authorized by the attorney general or prosecuting attorney to act as a deputy attorney general or deputy prosecuting attorney."
SECTION 2. Section 641-13, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§641-13 By State in criminal cases. An appeal may be taken by and on behalf of the State from the district or circuit courts to the supreme court, subject to chapter 602, in all criminal cases, in the following instances:
(1) From an order or judgment quashing, setting aside, or sustaining a motion to dismiss, any indictment, information, or complaint or any count thereof;
(2) From an order or judgment, sustaining a special plea in bar, or dismissing the case where the defendant has not been put in jeopardy;
(3) From an order granting a new trial;
(4) From an order arresting judgment;
(5) From a ruling on a question of law adverse to the State where the defendant was convicted and appeals from the judgment;
(6) From the sentence, on the ground that it is illegal;
(7) From a pretrial order granting a motion for the suppression of evidence, including a confession or admission, or the return of property in which case the intermediate appellate court or the supreme court, as the case may be, shall give priority to such an appeal and the order shall be stayed pending the outcome of the appeal;
(8) From an order denying a request by the State for protective order for nondisclosure of witness for their personal safety under Rule 16(e)(4) of the Hawaii Rules of Penal Procedure, in which case the intermediate appellate court or the supreme court, as the case may be, shall give priority to such appeal and the order shall be stayed pending outcome of such appeal;
(9) From a judgment of acquittal following a jury verdict of guilty."
SECTION 3. Section 806-6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§806-6 Use of; furnishing of copy. In all cases of offenses against the laws of the State brought in the first instance in a court of record, the accused shall be arraigned and prosecuted upon an information, complaint, or indictment as soon after the commitment of the offense of which he is accused as may be expedient.
In all cases of felony the defendant shall be furnished before arraignment with a copy of the information and all attachments appended to it, the complaint, or the indictment found against him."
SECTION 4. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect ninety days after the ratification of a constitutional amendment permitting initiation of criminal charges by the filing of a written information signed by legal prosecuting officer.