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Hawaii Sexual Assault Crimes Against Minors Act, Amendment 4 (2006)

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Hawaii Amendment 4, also known as the Sexual Assault Crimes Against Minors Act, was on the November 7, 2006 election ballot in Hawaii as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved.[1]

The proposal amended the Hawaii Constitution to allow the Hawaii State Legislature to define the behavior that constitutes "a continuing course of conduct" and the meaning of jury unanimity required for a conviction related to continuous sexual assault crimes against minors younger than fourteen years of age.

Election results

Hawaii Amendment 4
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 240,789 69%
No107,57531%

Text of measure

Hawaii Constitution
Flag of Hawaii.png
Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXIIXIIIXIVXVXVIXVIIXVIII

Ballot question

The question on the ballot was:

Shall the Constitution of the State of Hawaii be amended to provide that in continuous sexual assault crimes against minors younger than fourteen years of age, the legislature may define:

(1) What behavior constitutes a continuing course of conduct; and (2) What constitutes the jury unanimity that is required for a conviction?

Official description

Description of Proposed Amendment

The proposed amendment would add a section to the Hawaii Constitution specifying that, in continuous sexual assault crimes against minors less than fourteen years of age, the Legislature may define what behavior constitutes a "continuing course of conduct" and what constitutes the jury unanimity required for conviction in these cases. The Legislature previously defined "continuing course of conduct" in the crime of continuous sexual assault of a minor under the age of fourteen years, section 707-733.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, as three or more acts of sexual penetration or sexual contact committed over a period of time. The Legislature also provided that the jury, to convict, need unanimously agree only that at least three acts of sexual penetration or sexual contact had been committed; the jury need not unanimously agree which specific acts constituted the three acts required by law.

However, the Hawaii Supreme Court held in 2003 that multiple acts of sexual penetration or sexual contact were, "by nature, separate and discrete and therefore may not form the basis of a continuing offense." State v. Rabago, 103 Hawaii 236, 253, 81 P.3d 1151, 1168 (2003). Furthermore, the court ruled that letting the jury convict without being unanimous as to which specific acts constituted the three acts required by law violated state constitutional guarantees of due process.

If the voters approve the proposed constitutional amendment, substantially the same language previously codified in section 707-733.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, and found unconstitutional by the Hawaii Supreme Court would be reenacted pursuant to Act 60, Session Laws of Hawaii 2006. The criminal offense created by that legislation would be a class A felony. Felony offenses are those punishable by more than one year in prison. There are three classes of felonies, A, B, and C, with A felonies being the most serious of these. Murder, an unclassified felony, is the most serious of all felonies.

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