Rep. Hirono: Trump Budget Bad for Hawai‘i

PC: James Grenz

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono released the following statement on President Trump’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2019:

Instead of investing in programs that help middle and working-class families across our state, the president proposes trillions of dollars in cuts that would harm nearly everyone in Hawai‘i. I will continue to fight to protect Hawai‘i residents from this administration’s misplaced priorities.

The president’s FY 2019 Budget makes harmful cuts to many programs and initiatives important for Hawai‘i, including:

  • A 33% cut to Essential Air Service that supports air transportation to communities like Kalaupapa, Hāna, and Kamuela.
  • The elimination of the TIGER Grant program that has supported construction of Honolulu Pier 29, Saddle Road, and the Līhue Town Core Mobility and Revitalization Project.
  • A $451 million cut to health professionals training programs.
  • The elimination of funding for the Native Hawaiian Education Program—which has helped tens of thousands of Native Hawaiian youth—and the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant—which assists the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands in providing housing counseling, housing developments, and other assistance for thousands of Native Hawaiian families.
  • A $70 million cut to Impact Aid.
  • The elimination of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Sea Grant College Programs.
  • A 34% cut to the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Cuts to the Volcano Hazards Program ($6 million), the Tsunami Warning Program ($11 million), and the Ocean Acidification Program ($2 million).
  • The elimination of the National Housing Trust Fund, Community Development Block Grants, the HOME Investment Partnership, and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.
  • A $1.4 trillion cut to Medicaid over the next 10 years.

HPD Charge Man Wanted on Outstanding Warrant

Anthony Louis Gover

The Hawaiʻi Island Police Department has apprehended and charged a 58-year-old man who was wanted for an outstanding warrant of arrest for violating conditions of his release.

At 3:20 p.m. this afternoon, Feb. 13, 2018, Anthony Gover was arrested without incident at a business establishment in Hilo. He is currently being held without bail in the Hilo cellblock pending his initial appearance Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 14, in Circuit Court.

Police appreciate the public’s assistance for their calls on his possible whereabouts during that period.

This information was provided by the authorities. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Hawai‘i Island Missing Person: Donald McKay

Donald Linn McKay has been reported as missing from the Kohala Hospital area.

He is a 69-year-old Caucasian male described as 5-feet-7-inches tall, weighing 150 pounds with white hair and a short white beard.

He was last seen wearing a black hat, blue jacket, blue jeans and a multi-colored aloha shirt.

If you have information to regarding the location of McKay, call the police non-emergency number: (808) 935-3311.

Plea Deal Offered to Man Facing 77 Years for Medical Marijuana Collective

A hearing held was held for Mike Ruggles, the man facing 77 years for attempting to start up a medical marijuana collective, this morning, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, at the courthouse in Hilo on Hawai‘i Island.

The hearing consisted of a Motions to Compel, a Motion to Dismiss Due to Prosecutorial Misconduct as well as a Frye Hearing, in which the state offered Ruggles a plea agreement.

The state of Missouri prosecutors offered Galin Edward Frye two deals while seeking his conviction for driving while his license was revoked, but his lawyer never told Frye about the offers. Frye pleaded guilty to a felony charge and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Frye appealed, saying his lawyer should have told him about the previous deals. A Missouri appeals court agreed. Prosecutors contend that not knowing about the deals they offered doesn’t mean that Frye didn’t know what he was doing when he decided to plead guilty.

Prosecutor Rick Damerville spoke to Big Island Now after the hearing and explained the process of the Frye Hearing and how it is pertinent to this case.

In a written letter from the prosecutors office, Deputy Prosecuting Damerville offered the following plea:

Dear Mr. Ruggles:
Re: State of Hawai‘i v. Michael Doyle Ruggles, CR. No 15-1-0391

Pursuant to Rule 11 of the Hawai‘i Rules of Criminal Procedure, and a recent suggestion by the Court, the State of Hawai‘ij makes the following plea offer in the above styled case:

  1. Mr. Ruggles may conditionally plead guilty of no contest (for civil liability reason only) to:
  2. Count 3, the lesser included offense of Commercial Promotion of Marijuana in the Second Degree (knowingly possessing marijuana (cannabis) having an aggregate weight of two pounds or more, in violation of Section 712-1249.5(1)(a), HRS; or
  3. Count 5, the lesser included offense of Promoting a Harmful Drug in the Second Degree (knowingly possessing 50 or more capsule, and/or tablets and/or dosage units containing one and/or more of the marijuana (cannabis) concentrates, in violation of Section 712-1245(1)(a), HRS; or
  4. Count 6, the lesser included offense of Commercial Promotion of Marijuana in the Second Degree (knowingly possessing, cultivating, and/or has under his control fifty or more marijuana plants in violation of Section 712-1249.5(1)(c), HRS);
  5. and stipulate the forfeiture of the evidence recovered in this case, unless the State agrees to the return of specified items of evidence; In return, the State will agree to recommend 30 months of probation pursuant to Section 706-622.5, HRS and expungement provided Mr. Ruggles complies with the terms and conditions of his probation.  The State reserves the right to ask for up to one year in jail as a condition of probation; further the parties agree that a PSI will be conducted in this case.  If the PSI writer recommends a lesser amount of jail, the State will concur with that recommendation.  The State Reserves the right for other reasonable terms and conditions of probation including drug testing.
  6. Further, Mr. Ruggles may condition his plea of guilty or no contest reserving in writing the right on appeal from the judgement, to seek review of the adverse determination of the specific pretrial motions listed below, and if Mr. Ruggles prevails on appeal he shall be allowed to withdraw the pleas: (1) An adverse ruling on Ruggles’ motion to quash the warrant filed on February 2, 2016; (2) An adverse ruling on Ruggles motion to dismiss for vagueness and/or on the grounds of entrapment and/or for constitutional violations filed on February 2, 2016; (3) An adverse ruling on Ruggles motion in limine no. 1 to assert the affirmative defense of medical cannabis at trial.
  7. Should Mr. Ruggles enter a conditional plea guilty or no contest as described above, the State will agree to stay any sentence imposed pending appeal should Mr. Ruggles elect to ask for a stay.
  8. If Mr. Ruggles accepts this offer by pleading guilty or no contest as described above and then pending sentencing, inexcusably fails to cooperate in the preparation of the PSI report, or commits a new crime pending sentencing, then the State will not be bound to recommend the sentence described above and can ask the court to impose any legal sentence including up to ten years in prision.
  9. As part of this plea agreement, the State will dismiss the remaining counts of the complaint.
    This offer will remain open unless withdrawn in writing before acceptance.

Thank you for your cooperation,
Very truly yours,
Ricky R. Damerville
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney