THE SENATE

S.C.R. NO.

98

TWENTY-EIGHTH LEGISLATURE, 2015

S.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

 

REQUESTING THE JUDICIARY TO CONDUCT A STUDY TO IDENTIFY TRAFFIC OFFENSES AND CRIMES, PETTY MISDEMEANOR OFFENSES, AND MISDEMEANOR OFFENSES THAT CAUSE A DISPROPORTIONATE WORKLOAD FOR THE JUDICIARY AND THAT MAY BE APPROPRIATE FOR DECRIMINALIZATION AS INFRACTIONS.

 

 


     WHEREAS, the District Courts of the Hawaii State Judiciary are overwhelmed daily with hearing cases that should not be deemed as criminal cases; and

 

     WHEREAS, in recognition that traffic cases are usually not a criminal offense, the Legislature enacted Act 222, Session Laws of Hawaii 1978, codified as chapter 291D, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), to decriminalize certain traffic offenses, not serious in nature, to the status of violations; and

 

     WHEREAS, other offenses or violations that currently require a court appearance by a defendant should be decriminalized to reduce the necessity for arraignments, allow disposition of uncontested violations by mail, and provide informal hearings where the violation or the proposed penalty is questioned; and

 

     WHEREAS, the goal of decriminalizing certain offenses and violations is to streamline the handling of those cases to achieve a more expeditious system for the judicial processing of infractions and violations; and

 

     WHEREAS, an example of decriminalization of offenses is the state harbors civil violations system under section 266-29, HRS; and

 

     WHEREAS, section 706-605(4), HRS, excludes imprisonment for convictions of a violation; and

 

     WHEREAS, certain penalties require only a fine and no imprisonment or probation, which are the type of violations that should be decriminalized and exempted from a court arraignment; and

 

     WHEREAS, the Judiciary is uniquely suited to provide data on its own district court daily dockets and calendars to identify the types of cases that may be better adjudicated without a court appearance; now, therefore,

 

     BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-eighth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2015, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Judiciary, in collaboration with stakeholders, including the Prosecuting Attorneys from each county and State Public Defender, is requested to conduct a study to identify traffic offenses and crimes, petty misdemeanor offenses, misdemeanor offenses, and other violations of law that cause a disproportionate workload for the Judiciary and that may be appropriate for decriminalization as infractions; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Judiciary include in its study the types and number of each of the types of cases that have been adjudicated in each of the past four years; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Judiciary report to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2016 its findings and recommendations; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Chief Justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court, Prosecuting Attorney of each county, and State Public Defender.

Report Title: 

Judiciary Study; District Court Workload; Decriminalization