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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, January 26, 2002

Bills designed to aid officers in enforcement

By James Gonser
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawai'i's top law enforcement officials have put together a package of five bills to present to the Legislature dealing with identity theft, electronic surveillance, protective orders and a streamlined process to pursue felony prosecutions.

The Hawai'i Law Enforcement Coalition comprises prosecutors and police chiefs from all counties, the state attorney general's office and the U.S. attorney's office. All the bills have unanimous support from the members.

In announcing the measures yesterday, state Attorney General Earl Anzai said the bills are primarily designed to help police.

The bills deal with:

Identity theft. In response to the September terrorist attacks, this bill would increase penalties for obtaining false identification documents.

Electronic surveillance. This bill would update laws that have lagged behind technological developments and bring Hawai'i laws into conformance with federal statutes.

Foreign protective orders. The bill would provide immunity from civil or criminal liability for police officers who enforce out-of-state protective orders that appear valid. Protective orders are issued by a court to keep someone away from another person, such as in a domestic dispute.

Direct filing. Two carryover bills from last year would allow felony prosecutions to be initiated by submitting documents directly to a judge as well as through the usual method of O'ahu grand jury indictment. The process would allow for a reduction in costs and staff time while ensuring a defendant's constitutional rights.