Some may getBy Bruce Dunford
more time for crimes
That's the message House Judiciary Chairman Paul Oshiro says a package of crime bills approved by House and Senate conferees is sending to anyone tempted to break the law.
The package, which now goes to the House and Senate for a vote Tuesday, seeks to curb minor property crimes, get minor sexual offenders into treatment, provide police officers more protection and give tougher sentences to people who repeatedly commit very serious crimes.
One bill seeks to remedy the situation that occurred in the recent attempted murder trial of Kimberly Pada, a Kailua woman charged with nearly beating her 4-year-old son to death.
Pada was convicted of a lesser charge of attempted manslaughter based on the judge's jury instructions involving whether prosecutors had proved that Pada was not under extreme mental or emotional distress when she attacked her son.
Under the bill, it would be up to the defense to prove the defendant in a manslaughter case was under extreme mental or emotional distress during the crime and no longer up to the prosecution to prove they were not, said Oshiro (D, Ewa Beach-Waipahu).
Assaulting a police officer doing his duty, now a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison, would be a Class "C" felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
Shoplifters and thieves who steal items of a value just under the level that would elevate the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony would be targeted by another bill. After the fourth misdemeanor theft, they would face a mandatory nine-month jail term.
"The point is that many of the misdemeanants serve very little if any jail time," Oshiro said.
The same measure also addresses minor sex offenders, such as Peeping Toms and flashers, who would after a fourth offense face a mandatory sex treatment program during their nine months in prison.
Two other bills would outlaw butterfly knives and make it a Class "C" felony to secretly videotape people using bathrooms, as happened recently to employees at a Waikiki ice-cream parlor.