THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

449

THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2019

S.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO CHILDREN.

 

 

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

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that child abuse victims have as much a right to a speedy trial as do defendants. The speedy trial clause of the sixth amendment to the United States Constitution provides in pertinent part as follows: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial . . ." This is to protect the defendant from delay between the presentation of the indictment or similar charging instrument and the beginning of trial.

The website of the Hawaii family courts states, "Established by statute in 1965, the Family Court's mission is to provide a fair, speedy, economical, and accessible forum for the resolution of matters involving families and children." (Emphasis added.) The legislature further finds that the term "speedy" is not limited to the right to a speedy trial for adult perpetrators of child abuse, but also confers a right to a speedy trial for child abuse victims.

The purpose of this Act is to require an expedited disposition of cases in all criminal proceedings involving abuse of minors.

SECTION 2. Chapter 806, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"806‑   Expedited proceedings; continuances; trial. (a) In all criminal proceedings of criminal offenses perpetuated against a minor, or any other criminal proceedings involving a minor victim or minor witness of any physical abuse, the court and the prosecution shall take appropriate action, including setting the case for priority in the court docket, to ensure a prompt trial in order to minimize the length of time a minor must endure the stress of the minor's involvement in the proceedings.

(b) In deciding whether to grant a continuance, the court shall take into consideration the age of the minor and the potential adverse impact the delay may have on the minor's well-being; provided that no more than three continuances shall be permissible by either party, unless good cause is shown; provided further that a trial shall commence within twelve months of the charge or indictment, unless good cause is shown.

(c) The court shall impose sanctions against an attorney for the defense who is unprepared to commence trial, unless good cause is shown."

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. If any provision of this Act, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the Act that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this Act are severable.

SECTION 5. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.



 

Report Title:

Child Abuse; Expedited Criminal Proceedings

 

Description:

Requires the court and the prosecution to take appropriate action to ensure a prompt trial in order to minimize the length of time a child abuse victim or minor witness must endure the stress of the child's involvement in the proceedings. (SD1)

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.