Push for victims’ constitutional right-to-know renewed at State Capitol

Local News

A new push is being made to give victims the right to know more information about their attackers.

Advocates are once again seeking to make “Marsy’s Law” a constitutional amendment.

Read House Bill 1144 and Senate Bill 679, and House Bill 2120 and Senate Bill 3034 in their entirety.

If adopted, it would give a victim the constitutional right to know more information about his or her attacker, including court dates or if they’re ever released on bail.

One advocate is Nicholas Iwamoto. In 2009, he was attacked on Koko Head Trail, pushed off a cliff and hospitalized in critical condition with 18 stab wounds.

The man behind it, Benjamin Davis, was found not guilty of attempted murder by reason of insanity, and sent to Hawaii State Hospital. He was eventually allowed to attend classes at neighboring Windward Community College.

Iwamoto says he doesn’t want others to experience what he went through.

“I had virtually no say in the legal process and the silence from the state has been devastating,” he said. “Basically, we want the same rights afforded to criminals that have done horrible things to us and our families. That’s all. We just want equal rights… I respect the law, even if the law didn’t respect me.”

Right now, Hawaii is one of just 18 states that hasn’t adopted Marsy’s Law. The bill was deferred last legislative session.

The original California amendment is named after Marsy Nicholas, who was stalked and murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 1983 when she was a senior at UC-Santa Barbara. Her brother, Henry, was the main force behind the writing and subsequent passage of the law.

On Tuesday, the House Committee on Judiciary (JUD) passed HB 1144.

Meanwhile SB 679 was heard at Tuesday in the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor (JDL), but lawmakers delayed decision-making until Wednesday due to late testimony.

The committee reconvenes at 10:30 a.m. in Conference Room 16.

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