STAND. COM. REP. NO.  989-20


Honolulu, Hawaii

                , 2020


RE:   H.B. No. 1620

      H.D. 2





Honorable Scott K. Saiki

Speaker, House of Representatives

Thirtieth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2020

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Judiciary, to which was referred H.B. No. 1620, H.D. 1, entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose of this measure is to amend:


     (1)  The effect of finding a defendant charged with a misdemeanor or petty misdemeanor not involving violence or attempted violence unfit to proceed; and


     (2)  The requirements for fitness determination hearings, court-appointed examiners, and examination reports.


     Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Judiciary, Department of Health, Hawaii Substance Abuse Coalition, and one individual.  Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Office of the Public Defender, City and County of Honolulu Department of the Prosecuting Attorney, and Hawaii Psychological Association.  Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of the Attorney General and Hawaii Disability Rights Center.


     Your Committee finds that the issue of mental health has plagued Hawaii communities for years, resulting in the incarceration of numerous nonviolent defendants who have been charged with petty misdemeanors.


     Your Committee also finds that defendants are often incarcerated without treatment and due process while awaiting mental health evaluations after the issue of mental health arises during a judicial proceeding.  Due to the cost of incarcerating these defendants and the high rate of recidivism because of a lack of treatment, your Committee believes that these defendants should be allowed to opt out of judicial proceedings by entering into agreements at any stage of the process.


     Your Committee has amended this measure by:


     (1)  Deleting the effect of a court finding unfitness to proceed in cases where the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor offense;


     (2)  Inserting the language from H.B. No. 1619, H.D. 1 (2020), which:


          (A)  Authorizes the courts to enter into agreements to divert into residential, rehabilitative, and other treatment defendants whose physical or mental disease, disorder, or defect is believed to have become or will become an issue in a judicial case;


          (B)  Amends the requirements for appointing qualified examiners to perform examinations for penal responsibility; and


          (C)  Requires an examination for penal responsibility to be conducted within fifteen days after a finding of fitness to proceed; and


     (3)  Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity, consistency, 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 H.B. No. 1620, H.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1620, H.D. 2.


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