H.B. NO.














relating to evidence.





     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that criminals frequently target tourists for property crimes, as tourists are less likely to testify in a criminal case because they live elsewhere.  Thieves target vacation rental homes and rental cars, and reports of crimes committed against tourists significantly damage Hawaii's visitor industry.

     The legislature further finds that the fundamental constitutional right of criminal defendants is the opportunity to confront and cross-examine opposing witnesses.  This right may be satisfied absent a physical, face-to-face confrontation at trial where necessary to further an important public policy of ensuring public safety for visitors and residents and where the reliability of the testimony is otherwise assured, as held by the United States Supreme Court in Maryland v. Craig, 497 U.S. 836 (1990).

     The purpose of this Act is to authorize a court to allow live video testimony of a victim of property crime if:

     (1)  The crime is a felony;

     (2)  The victim was a nonresident of this State at the time the crime was committed and remains a nonresident at the time of providing testimony;

     (3)  The testimony is limited to identification and ownership of the property taken, the value of the property, lack of consent to take the property, and identification of the person or persons who took the property;

     (4)  The victim testifies under oath;

     (5)  The requisite video connection is two-way, so that the victim can see the defendant and the trier of fact can see the victim; and

     (6)  The defendant and the State have the right to have legal counsel physically present with the victim during the provision of testimony.

     SECTION 2.  Section 626-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding to Article VI a new rule to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

     "Rule     Video testimony of nonresident in a felony property offense.  In any prosecution of a felony property offense alleged to have been committed in this State against a person who is a nonresident of this State, the court may order that the testimony of the nonresident be taken under oath through a live two-way video connection to be viewed by the court, the accused, and the trier of fact; provided that:

     (1)  The witness remains a nonresident at the time the testimony is to be given; and

     (2)  The testimony is given only for the purpose of establishing:

          (A)  Identification and ownership of the property taken;

          (B)  The value of the property;

          (C)  Lack of consent to take the property; and

          (D)  Identification of the person or persons who took the property.

During the entire course of the procedure, the attorneys for the defendant and for the State shall have the right to be physically present with the nonresident, and full direct cross-examination shall be available as a matter of right."

     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.  New statutory material is underscored.

     SECTION 5.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.





By Request



Report Title:

HSAC Package; Rules of Evidence; Nonresident Property Crime Victims; Video Testimony by Witnesses



Amends the Hawaii Rules of Evidence to authorize nonresident property crime victims to testify in criminal proceedings by a live two-way video connection.




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