THE SENATE

S.C.R. NO.

170

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

 

requesting the judiciary to consider written statements from victims or families of victims when approving a plea-bargain.

 

 


WHEREAS, the Legislature has recognized the rights of victims and witnesses in criminal proceedings since 1988; and

 

WHEREAS, the Legislature and the courts have continued to improve upon the rights of victims; and

 

WHEREAS, the intent of the Legislature is to ensure that all victims and witnesses of crimes are treated with dignity, respect, courtesy, and sensitivity; and

 

WHEREAS, the State has placed the standard of care and protection toward victims by law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and the courts to be of the same vigor as those for the defendant; and

 

WHEREAS, victims and witnesses remain a vulnerable population that continues to require dignity and protection; and

 

WHEREAS, under the basic bill of rights for victims and witnesses, the victim or a surviving immediate family member is required to be notified of major developments in a criminal case; and

 

WHEREAS, in circumstances in which the defendant has already been convicted and is eligible for release, the victim has the opportunity to be heard by the judge or Parole Board; and

 

WHEREAS, given the nature of felony crimes, it is appropriate for the victim to have the same opportunity with regard to plea-bargains; now, therefore,

 

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Thirty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2021, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Judiciary is requested to instruct judges to accept, receive, and consider a written statement from the victim or victim's immediate family member in regard to a felony crime, if such a statement has been provided by the prosecuting attorney, prior to rendering a decision on a plea-bargain agreement; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the departments or offices of the prosecuting attorney for the counties are requested to offer a victim or the victim's immediate family member the choice of providing the judge with a written statement when consulting and advising the victim whenever a plea-bargain agreement is being negotiated; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii, Prosecuting Attorney of the City and County of Honolulu, Prosecuting Attorney of the County of Hawaii, Prosecuting Attorney of the County of Maui, and Prosecuting Attorney of the County of Kauai.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

Report Title:

Judiciary; Plea Bargain Agreements; Victims; Written Statements