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Assaulting a senior citizen brings enhanced sentencing

By June Watanabe

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 04:41 a.m. HST, Jul 07, 2011



Question: I noticed some time ago that a person was charged with assaulting a senior citizen. Is this a different charge than plain assault?

Answer: The enhancement for a crime against a senior citizen is not in the charges, but in the sentencing.

If someone is convicted of a crime against someone 60 years or older and is not subjected to an extended prison term based on other factors, he/she faces a mandatory minimum sentence.

Section 706-660.2 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes mandates harsher penalties for crimes committed against children 8 or younger; a person 60 years or older; or someone who is blind, a paraplegic or a quadraplegic — essentially those deemed less able to protect themselves. The law pertains to someone who, “in the course of committing or attempting to commit a felony, causes the death or inflicts serious or substantial bodily injury” on such victims, and if “such disability is known or reasonably should be known to the defendant.”

If convicted, that person faces a mandatory minimum prison term without the possibility of parole as follows: 15 years for second-degree murder; six years, eight months for a class A felony; three years, four months for a class B felony; one year, eight months for a class C felony.

This year, Senate Bill 1025 is set to become law after July 12, the deadline for Gov. Neil Abercrombie to veto bills passed by the Legislature.

Senate Bill 1025 was not on the list of potential vetoes that Abercrombie was required to submit to lawmakers by June 27, noted Scott Spallina, deputy prosecutor in charge of the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s Elder Abuse Unit.

The bill upgrades the charge from a misdemeanor to a class B felony for entering a home without authorization, if that home is inhabited by someone who is 62 years or older, incapacitated or has a developmental disability.

Spallina described the crime as “trespass on steroids.”

There was another proposal before the Legislature this year to enhance penalties for those who target the elderly for financial crimes. However, House Bill 248, which dealt with first- and second-degree theft and identity theft, was shelved in committee.

Question: Regarding your column about free parking at Blaisdell Center: The city contracts management of some parking to private firms, so now are the lots considered private? For example, a friend with an electric vehicle told me he had to pay at the parking lot in Kaimuki where Big City Diner is. It used to be a city metered parking lot, but it was converted to a lot with an attendant.

Answer: Because that lot is owned by the city and under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation Services, electric vehicles will be able to park “free of charge,” said Louise Kim McCoy, press secretary for Mayor Peter Carlisle.

Eligible vehicles must have the proper electric vehicle license plates, she said.

State Sen. Mike Gabbard, chairman of the Senate Energy & Environment Committee, said Act 290, which provides for the free parking privilege for electric vehicles, applies to all city and state “owned” parking facilities.

“So those parking lots which are run by vendors would still be considered government-owned.”

AUWE

To everything being available only by computer, such as the taxes and fees for motor vehicle registrations (http://is.gd/kokualine07012011). I am sick and tired of everybody sending us senior citizens to computers. Government and businesses need to consider those of us who are without computers or computer knowledge or who just want to have something in hand to read. — Anonymous

Anyone without Internet access can obtain the breakdown of taxes and fees for renewing motor vehicle registrations by visiting any satellite city hall or calling the motor vehicle registration office at 532-4325.

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Write to “Kokua Line” at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.





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