Law Enforcement Officers

Increases penalty for assault against a police officer and
changes term to law enforcement officer.  Provides that reckless
state of mind cause substantial bodily injury to the officer.
Includes law enforcement officer in public servants for purposes
of terroristic threatening in the 1st degree.

a                                                       r-3a(99)
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.           
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that violence is
 2 increasing in the State, especially on the island of Oahu where
 3 eighty per cent of the State's population is located.  During a
 4 period of five years, 1993 through 1997, there was an average of
 5 three per cent increase in aggravated assaults.  Assaults
 6 endanger the lives of residents and deteriorate the quality of
 7 life in communities rather than improve it.
 8      The legislature finds that there is a direct relationship
 9 between assaults and the effect they have on law enforcement
10 officers in the State.  Since 1983 to 1997, there was a sixty-six
11 per cent increase in aggravated assaults statewide and one
12 hundred sixty-seven per cent increase in arrest for simple
13 assaults.  In 1997, assaults on law enforcement officers
14 accounted for five per cent of the total (five thousand four
15 hundred twelve) cases and arrests.  Honolulu police alone
16 experienced three hundred fifty-four assault cases in 1994, three
17 hundred seventy-four cases in 1995, two hundred sixty-two cases
18 in 1996, and two hundred eighty-four cases in 1997.
19      The legislature finds that law enforcement officers have

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 1 been involved in more assaults against them as crime increases.
 2 They are tasked with the responsibility of protecting life and
 3 property of the community and therefore should command the
 4 respect of the community.  Law enforcement officers should be
 5 able to perform their duties without the intimidation of being
 6 threatened or assaulted by members of the community.
 7      The legislature finds that, based on the present penalties
 8 for threatening or assaulting a police officer, the public is
 9 receiving wrong messages.  The crimes of assaulting a police
10 officer and terroristic threatening against a police officer are
11 presently misdemeanors, while current laws make it a felony to
12 assault a correctional worker, an educational worker, or a driver
13 of a public transportation vehicle during the course of their
14 duties or to threaten an educational worker.  Whoever threatens a
15 law enforcement officer with bodily harm or assaults a law
16 enforcement officer should face a higher penalty.  Although law
17 enforcement officers undertake certain risks in the performance
18 of their jobs, being purposely threatened or assaulted should not
19 be part of it.  The law must protect the law enforcement officer
20 who already has a difficult job to perform.
21      SECTION 2.  Section 707-712.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
22 amended to read as follows:
23      "[[]707-712.5[]]  Assault against a [police] law

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 1 enforcement officer.(1)  A person commits the offense of
 2 assault against a [police] law enforcement officer if the person:
 3      (a)  Intentionally[,] or knowingly[, or recklessly] causes
 4           bodily injury to a police officer who is engaged in the
 5           performance of duty; [or]
 6      (b)  Recklessly causes substantial bodily injury to a law
 7           enforcement officer who is engaged in the performance
 8           of duty; or
 9     [(b)] (c)  Negligently causes, with a dangerous instrument,
10           bodily injury to a [police] law enforcement officer who
11           is engaged in the performance of duty.
12      (2)  Assault of a [police] law enforcement officer is a
13 [misdemeanor.] class C felony.  The court [shall], at a minimum,
14 shall sentence the person who has been convicted of this offense
15 to imprisonment for no less than [thirty] sixty days[.]; provided
16 that a longer minimum sentence is not provided for by law." 
17      SECTION 3.  Section 707-716, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
18 amended by amending subsection (1) to read as follows:
19      "(1)  A person commits the offense of terroristic
20 threatening in the first degree if the person commits terroristic
21 threatening:
22      (a)  By threatening another person on more than one occasion
23           for the same or a similar purpose; [or]

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 1      (b)  By threats made in a common scheme against different
 2           persons; [or]
 3      (c)  Against a public servant, including but not limited to
 4           a law enforcement officer or an educational worker, who
 5           for the purposes of this section shall mean an
 6           administrator, specialist, counselor, teacher, or other
 7           employee of the department of education, or a volunteer
 8           as defined by section 90-1, in a school program,
 9           activity, or function that is established, sanctioned,
10           or approved by the department of education, or a person
11           hired by the department of education on a contractual
12           basis and engaged in carrying out an educational
13           function; or
14      (d)  With the use of a dangerous instrument."
15      SECTION 4.  This Act does not affect rights and duties that
16 matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were
17 begun, before its effective date.
18      SECTION 5.  Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed.
19 New statutory material is underscored.
20      SECTION 6.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
22                           INTRODUCED BY:_________________________

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