STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1337

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

, 2021

 

RE: S.B. No. 294

S.D. 1

H.D. 1

 

 

 

 

Honorable Scott K. Saiki

Speaker, House of Representatives

Thirty-First State Legislature

Regular Session of 2021

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committee on Judiciary & Hawaiian Affairs, to which was referred S.B. No. 294, S.D. 1, entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY FORFEITURE,"

 

begs leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose of this measure is to make the State's civil asset forfeiture process more just by amending the Hawaii Omnibus Criminal Forfeiture Act to:

 

(1) Restrict civil asset forfeiture to cases involving the commission of a felony offense where the property owner has been convicted of the underlying felony offense, subject to certain circumstances;

 

(2) Direct any forfeiture proceeds to the general fund;

 

(3) Amend the allowable expenses for monies in the Criminal Forfeiture Fund;

 

(4) Require the Attorney General to adopt rules necessary to carry out the purpose of the Hawaii Omnibus Criminal Forfeiture Act; and

 

(5) Amend the deadline for the Attorney General to report to the Legislature on the use of the Hawaii Omnibus Criminal Forfeiture Act.

 

Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Office of the Public Defender, Young Progressives Demanding Action, Hawaii Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Americans for Democratic Action Hawaii, Community Alliance on Prisons, Common Cause Hawaii, LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii, and ten individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawaii Police Department, Department of the Prosecuting Attorney of the City and County of Honolulu, Department of the Prosecuting Attorney of the County of Maui, Maui Police Department, Honolulu Police Department, and Office of the Prosecuting Attorney of the County of Hawaii. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Department of Public Safety, Department of the Attorney General, and Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.

 

Your Committee finds that requiring a criminal conviction before permanently confiscating an offender's property will help to establish an important protection for property owners and ensure fairness in the asset forfeiture process. Your Committee also finds that directing the proceeds from the sale of property forfeited to the general fund will eliminate the financial incentive for law enforcement agencies to seize and keep forfeited property.

 

Your Committee has amended this measure by:

 

(1) Changing the effective date to July 1, 3021, to encourage further discussion; and

 

(2) 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 & Hawaiian Affairs that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 294, S.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 294, S.D. 1, H.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Finance.

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary & Hawaiian Affairs,

 

 

 

 

____________________________

MARK M. NAKASHIMA, Chair