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Summer 2004

President's Message (Maile Bay)
Openness in the Courts (Jackie Parnell)
Our Comprehensive (Full) Public Funding Bill 2004 (Grace Furukawa)
Public Funding of Presidential Primary and General Election
Where Has Our Democracy Gone? (Grace Furukawa)
Ray of Sunshine (Jean Aoki)
Local League News - Honolulu
Local League News - Hawaii (Lois Cecil)
Local League News - Kauai (Carol Bain)
What is the Act 190 Task Force and Who Cares? (Jaurene Judy)
NBC to Televise Democratic Presidential Primary Debate... LWVUS

What is the Act 190 Task Force and Who Cares?

The Act 190 Task Force resulted from a Constitutional Amendment passed by the voters at the last election: allowing criminal charges to be brought directly by the prosecuting attorney, instead of only by Grand Jury Indictment or Preliminary Hearing as is the current practice. League opposed the Constitutional Amendment, primarily because it lacked implementing legislation. Recognizing this shortcoming, the Legislature mandated that the Judicial Council of Hawaii convene a broad spectrum of community representatives to review current criminal charging procedures and recommend appropriate legislative amendments to proceed with `direct charging.' As League's representative to the Act 190 Task Force, I am happy to report that on November 24, 2003, the Task Force members reached consensus on draft legislation for `direct charging' of specified felonies. The Final Report is due twenty days before the 2004 Legislative Session, and a copy will be available for review at the League office.

Representatives of the police, prosecutor, public defender, Judiciary, ACLU, Attorney General and criminal defense bar from the Big Island, Maui, Kauai and Honolulu met and engaged in lively discussions--sometimes even `sparks' and political rhetoric--at the several Task Force meetings. Acting as moderator, Associate Judge Daniel Foley divided the Task Force members into Working Groups to compile relevant Hawaii statutes, research, and charging practices from jurisdictions that already allow some form of direct charging, and to evaluate the potential impact of direct charging on the administration of justice in Hawaii. Task Force members then reconvened to present opposing positions before compromising on the proposed legislation.

I can affirm that the Act 190 Task Force members engaged in an open and democratic process to reach a goal some felt was not attainable given the diverse and often conflicting views represented. I hope League members who have concerns or questions about either the Act 190 Task Force or the proposed legislation will call to discuss them with me.

Jo Judy

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