- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Hawaii bill would criminalize lying to police
Question of the Day
HONOLULU (AP) - Lying to police who are investigating a crime would become at least a misdemeanor under a bill Hawaii lawmakers are advancing.
Honolulu police officers told members of the House Public Safety Committee on Thursday that they support the measure because witnesses who mislead police can hamper investigations and can get innocent people thrown in jail.
“When you take investigations in a direction based on false statements, it costs us resources,” Capt. Jason Kawabata said. “It’s unfair to the victims of crimes.”
Filing a false police report is already a misdemeanor in Hawaii. The bill, HB1804, which advanced out of committee, would make unsworn false testimony to police the same level of offense as the crime police are investigating, a misdemeanor at minimum.
Lt. Alexander Garcia told lawmakers the bill was based on a federal law. He said he was unaware of similar measures in other states.
The bill does not require police to tell witnesses about penalties or legal options when they talk to police.
“A witness isn’t read their rights,” Garcia said in an interview. “I always tell them, when I’m running an investigation, ‘Tell me the truth or don’t tell me anything.’”
He said his support is motivated by cases he has worked in which accusers make up stories to get someone arrested.
“This has happened not only in domestic cases but other personal-type vendettas,” he said.
Richard Sing, president of the Hawaii Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said he’s concerned the bill is too broad and the penalty part of it is unfair and probably unworkable.
For example, he said if your brother is being investigated for murder and you tell the police you don’t know where your brother is when you really do, you would have committed an offense that would be treated as seriously as murder.
Or in a scenario where you’re pulled over for speeding and an officer asks whether you know how fast you were going. If you say you don’t when you actually do, then you’ve committed a misdemeanor and you could go to jail for a year, Sing said.
“You want to encourage people to be honest to the police, but I think the bill is overbroad as written and the penalty provision is very problematic,” Sing said.
Sam Eifling can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sameifling .
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- House GOP resurrects border bill, predicts successful Friday vote
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Islamic militants seize Benghazi as U.S. evacuates Libya
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors