2013 Hawaii Revised Statutes
701. Preliminary Provisions
701-117 Prima facie evidence.

HI Rev Stat § 701-117 (2013) What's This?

§701-117 Prima facie evidence. Prima facie evidence of a fact is evidence which, if accepted in its entirety by the trier of fact, is sufficient to prove the fact. Prima facie evidence provisions in this Code are governed by section 626-1, rule 306. [L 1972, c 9, pt of §1; am L 1986, c 314, §3]


In drafting the Code, we have substituted the concept of prima facie evidence for presumptions, which appear to create insurmountable difficulties for lawyers, courts, and juries. Often it is desirable to enable the prosecution to get to the jury on something less than positive proof of a fact which may be almost solely within the knowledge of the defendant. As an example, §701-106(4) makes proof of the finding of a body of a homicide victim within the State prima facie evidence that the bodily impact causing death or the death itself occurred within the State, giving Hawaii's courts jurisdiction. Obviously it may be very difficult to prove where the criminal result occurred, and the presence of the body is a good indication that the result occurred here. On the other hand, although the prosecution's case gets to the jury on this point, the defendant can win by suggesting a reasonable doubt that the death or bodily impact did occur within the State. Thus, the prima facie evidence rule helps the prosecution to get its case to the jury without necessarily meeting its burden of persuasion. This is consistent with modern rules of evidence. See California Evidence Code §§601-02, 604.

Law Journals and Reviews

The Lum Court and the First Amendment. 14 UH L. Rev. 395 (1992).

Case Notes

Section merely creates a permissible inference of fact. 57 H. 526, 560 P.2d 110; 61 H. 99, 595 P.2d 1072.

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