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Officer Mike Thompson Named “Officer of the Month”

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee recognized Officer Mike Thompson as “Officer of the Month” for May in a luncheon ceremony Wednesday (May 4) at Huggo’s restaurant in Kailua-Kona.

Officer Mike Thompson

Officer Mike Thompson

Thompson was honored for an act of kindness his supervisor described as “far beyond compassion.”

On December 19, 2015, an 88-year-old woman called 911 just after noon to report that Meals on Wheels had missed a 9:30 a.m. delivery and she was hungry. Dispatchers attempted to contact the appropriate agency but were unable to reach anyone, so Officer Thompson was assigned to check on the woman’s welfare and determine whether she needed medical attention.

On his way to the caller’s house, Thompson stopped at his own home and gathered food items from his pantry to share with her. He then went to her house and prepared her a meal. When he learned that she was unable to open cans on her own, he opened additional cans of food and placed them in her refrigerator in plastic containers for future use.

Sergeant Grad Elarionoff nominated Thompson for the award. “In a time when police officers are becoming increasingly hardened, a simple gesture of aloha reminds us all that police officers are people too, caring people,” Elarionoff wrote in nomination papers. “I’m at a loss for words.”

As “Officer of the Month,” Thompson is eligible for “Officer of the Year.”

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee is an organization that encourages community involvement in aiding and supporting police in West Hawaiʻi.

Hawaii Chief Justice Seeks Public Comment on Judicial Nominees

Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald announced today that he is seeking public comment on judicial nominees for two vacancies – one in the District Court of the First Circuit (Island of Oahu) as a result of the appointment of the Honorable Shirley M. Kawamura  to the Circuit Court of the First Circuit, and one in the District Family Court of the Third Circuit (Island of Hawaii) as a result of the appointment of the Honorable Melvin H. Fujino to the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit.
JudiciaryThe names submitted for these vacancies by the Judicial Selection Commission, in alphabetical order, are:

District Court of the First Circuit (Island of Oahu)

Brian A. Costa
Mr. Costa is currently employed at Costa & DeLacy, L.L.L.C, and serves as a Per Diem Judge of the District Family Court of the First Circuit.  Costa is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 2001.

Timothy E. Ho
Mr. Ho is currently employed as Chief Deputy Public Defender with the State of Hawaii Office of the Public Defender.  Ho is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1987.

Ronald G. Johnson
Mr. Johnson is currently employed as an Assistant U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii.  Johnson is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1987.

James S. Kawashima
Mr. Kawashima is currently employed at James S. Kawashima, Attorney at Law, and serves as a Per Diem Judge of the District Court of the First Circuit.  Kawashima is a graduate of the University of Southern California and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1992.

Trish K. Morikawa
Ms. Morikawa is currently employed at Gallagher Kane Amai, and serves as a Per Diem Judge of the District Family Court of the First Circuit.  Morikawa is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1995.

Rowena A. Somerville
Ms. Somerville is currently employed as a Hearings Officer with the State of Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.  Somerville is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1996.

District Family Court of the Third Circuit (Island of Hawaii)

Thomas A.K. Haia
Mr. Haia is currently employed at Thomas A.K. Haia, Attorney at Law, and serves as a Per Diem Judge of the District Court of the First Circuit.  Haia is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii Bar in 1995.

Kevin S. Hashizaki
Mr. Hashizaki is currently employed as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney with the County of Hawaii Office of the Prosecuting Attorney.  Hashizaki is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1995.

Peter K. Kubota
Mr. Kubota is currently employed at Peter K. Kubota, Attorney at Law, A Law Corporation.  Kubota is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1989.

Michelle K. Laubach
Ms. Laubach is currently employed at Laubach & Frenz, Attorneys At Law, L.L.L.C.  Laubach is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 2003.

Laureen L. Martin
Ms. Martin is currently employed as Corporation Counsel with the County of Hawaii.  Martin is a graduate of Suffolk University Law School, Boston, Massachusetts, and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1993.

Jeffrey W.S. Ng
Mr. Ng is currently employed as a Deputy Public Defender with the State of Hawaii Office of the Public Defender.  Ng is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 2002.

Because the Chief Justice has the discretion to assign judges to the district or district family court calendar, comments about the qualifications and character of any of the nominees with regard to either calendar assignment may be sent, in writing, to:

Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald
Supreme Court of Hawaii
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI  96813

Fax: 808-539-4703
Email: chiefjustice@courts.hawaii.gov

Comments must be post-marked, emailed, faxed, or hand delivered no later than Monday, May 16, 2016.  All comments will be kept confidential.

The individuals selected by the Chief Justice are subject to Senate confirmation.

Hawaii State Senators Pass Important Measures on Final Reading

Members of the State Senate voted to pass a number of important measures on today’s final reading.

Capital

By a unanimous vote, the Senate adopted HB1700 CD1 which added for the supplemental operating budget $405,792,059 in all methods of financing, of which $202,317,436 accounts for general fund increases for Fiscal Year 2017.  This represents a targeted 3.1% increase on last year’s biennium budget, and $159,773,111 less than what the Governor requested.  The conference draft also reduces $13,761,322 in general funds in Fiscal Year 2016 as a result of Medicaid savings that were realized, in line with the Senate Ways and Means’ guiding principle of better utilizing base funding and maximizing existing resources.

Other highlights of the budget bill include:

  • $81.9 million in prefunding for Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB)
  • $12 million lump sum appropriation for homeless programs
  • $10 million for Preschool Open Doors
  • $4.7 million for conservation efforts and protection against invasive species
  • $4.8 million for programs supporting the agriculture industry
  • $3 million for kūpuna care
  • $4 million in grants supporting high tech and manufacturing industries

In support of education, the Senate passed SB3126 SD2 HD2 CD1, which provides $100 million in general funds to install air conditioning for public schools.

The Senate also voted to approve HB1850 HD1 SD3 CD1 which would allow alternative accommodations companies to register as tax collection agents with the state.

Other bills passed on final reading include:

  • HB2501 HD1, SD2, CD1 requires that where an application has been made for a lease to continue a previously authorized disposition of water rights, a holdover may be authorized annually until the pending application for the disposition of water rights is finally resolved or for a total of three consecutive one-year holdovers, whichever occurs sooner.
  • HB2675 HD1 SD2 CD1 which appropriates funds for research to combat rapid ohia death.
  • SB2659 SD2 HD1 CD1 which establishes an industrial hemp pilot program.
  • HB1907 HD2 SD2 CD1 requires all law enforcement agencies and departments charged with maintenance, storage, and preservation of sexual assault evidence collection kits to conduct an inventory of all stored kits and report to the Attorney General.
  • SB2618 SD1, HD2, CD1 requires the department of transportation to conduct a feasibility study of establishing an interisland and intra-island ferry system.
  • SB2954 SD2 HD1 authorizes county police departments to enroll firearms applicants and individuals who are registering their firearms into a criminal record monitoring service used to alert police when an owner of a firearm is arrested for a criminal offense anywhere in the country.
  • SB2647 SD1 HD2 prohibits the sale, offer to sell, purchase, trade, or possession with intent to sell, or barter of any part or product from various animal and marine species. Provides exceptions for traditional cultural practices protected under the State Constitution.

The Senate recommitted SB2816, SD1 HD2 which would have amended the criminal trespass law to apply to state properties regardless of whether it is fenced, enclosed, or otherwise secured and HB32, SD2 CD1 which would have clarified crosswalk procedures and establish safety precautions at crosswalks.

The bills that were adopted on final reading and passed by the House will now be enrolled to the Governor for his signature, veto or passage without his signature.

For a list of all the bills that were voted on Final Reading, visit www.capitol.hawaii.gov

Local Artist Files “Breach of Contract” Lawsuit Against Dubai Based Retail Giant

Well known local artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker and his company Tiki Shark Art Inc, who are currently featured in Hana Hou – The magazine of Hawaiian Airlines, filed a “breach of contract” lawsuit against Dubai based retail giant Mohamed Al Hashemi Enterprises.

Brad in Hana Hou“Its so strange to be sought after, revved up for huge project on a International scale and then unceremoniously dropped” quoted artist Parker who is also the owner of Tiki Shark Art Inc. “A Hawaii judge has already ruled in my favor and now it seems the Middle Easterner’s continue to ignore and disrespect that decision? I am puzzled and distraught.”

Brad with Arab

According to public court record Parker won over a $43,000 award via default judgment after no one appeared on the Middle Eastern Company’s behalf back in March even when the officers of the company were clearly served papers and informed of the lawsuit and court date.

tiki shark lawsuitTiki Shark’s long term corporate attorney David Eugene Smith said “I am use to going to bat for the small business owners and their rights just like I have done in the past”. Smith added “It’s going to be a David verses Goliath situation on this case again and right will prevail”.

Mohammed Al Hashemi Enterprises currently does business with several high profile US brands and in this case being represented by DeVries & Associates – Porter DeVries who did not respond to questions emailed to them.

Hawaii Judiciary Celebrates Law Day Across the State

The Hawaii State Judiciary will host a variety of activities for Law Day, the annual celebration of the role of law, the legal process, and the courts in our democratic society.

The theme of Law Day 2016 is, “Miranda: More than Words,” commemorating the 50th anniversary of one of America’s best-known U.S. Supreme Court cases, Miranda v. Arizona.  Through the “Miranda” theme, Law Day will explore the procedural protections afforded by the U.S. Constitution, how these rights are safeguarded by the courts, and why the preservation of these principles is essential to our liberty.

Supreme Court Law Library staff members Chelsea DeMott and Jason Weekley are pictured above with the Library’s “Law Day 2016: Miranda More Than Words” display that provides an overview of the historical significance of the Miranda case in the United States, along with basic information on Miranda rights.

Supreme Court Law Library staff members Chelsea DeMott and Jason Weekley are pictured above with the Library’s “Law Day 2016: Miranda More Than Words” display that provides an overview of the historical significance of the Miranda case in the United States, along with basic information on Miranda rights.

Across the islands, the Judiciary will sponsor special events and activities during the first week of May.

As part of the Judiciary’s Access to Justice Initiative, volunteer attorneys and AmeriCorps Advocates at courthouse Self-Help Centers will provide limited legal information to members of the public, free of charge.  At Oahu’s Access to Justice Rooms, volunteer attorneys will also provide limited legal advice.  For Self-Help Center locations, days and times, visit the Hawaii State Judiciary website at:  http://bit.ly/23bEaXX

FIRST CIRCUIT (Oahu)

The Supreme Court Law Library will have an educational display for the public on the historical significance of the Miranda case, basic information on Miranda rights, and the influence of the Miranda case in the media and popular culture.

The Supreme Court Law Library, located at Aliiolani Hale, 417 South King Street, Honolulu, 96813, is open Monday through Friday, 7:45 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. Staff is available to provide information services and hand-outs on accessing legal resources.

SECOND CIRCUIT (Maui)

In the days leading up to Law Week, approximately 180 students have visited courts throughout the Second Circuit, observing court proceedings and meeting with judges.  Schools or individual students wishing to arrange a student tour of their local courthouse should contact the court at: (808) 244-2860.  Judges are also available to visit schools to discuss the law and the role of the courts in our society.

During the month of May there will be an educational display at the Second Circuit Court (Hoapili Hale, 2145 Main Street, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793-1679) concerning the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the rights of victims and witnesses, Access to Justice, and the different courts in the Second Circuit.

On May 5, 2016, a County of Maui Proclamation recognizing the Drug Courts and Veterans Court will be presented by Maui County Managing Director Keith Regan on behalf of Mayor Arakawa as part of the 55th Graduation Ceremony of the Maui / Molokai Drug Court.

THIRD CIRCUIT (Big Island)

Student tours have been arranged throughout the Third Circuit so students have the opportunity to observe court proceedings and meet with judges.

FIFTH CIRCUIT (Kauai)

Legal Aid Managing Attorney Linda Vass will provide a special 90-minute presentation on “Landlord/Tenant:  Basic Laws for Landlords & Tenants,” on May 2, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Kauai Judicial Complex (Puuhonoa Kaulike Building, 3970 Kaana Street, Lihue, 96766) First Floor, Multi-Purpose Room.  This event is free and open to the public.

On May 6, 2016, the courthouse Self-Help Center will open for extended hours, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., with volunteer attorneys providing free legal information to the public.  Walk-in appointments will be taken on a first come, first served basis.  For more information call (808) 482-2660.

Tours of the Kauai Judicial Complex will be available for schools and interested members of the public.  Tour arrangements may be made by calling (808) 482-2347.

Finally, a number of educational displays will be posted at the Kauai Judicial Complex.  The Adult Client Probation Service will have a display on the HOPE Probation Program, along with the Juvenile Client and Family Service Branch displays on Girls Court and the Kauai Drug Court.  The educational displays will feature program highlights and provide free program literature.

Hawaii Department of Health Announces the Selection of Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensees

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has selected eight applicants to receive Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses. The Department will award three licenses for the City and County of Honolulu, two licenses each for the Counties of Hawaii and Maui, and one dispensary license for the County of Kauai as allowed in Chapter 329D, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS).

Medical Marijuana

While the announcement of the selected applicants is being made today, selected applicants are required to pay a licensing fee of $75,000 to the Department of Health within seven days of receiving their written notice of selection to be awarded a dispensary license. If the application fee is not timely paid by close of business on the seventh day, the selected applicant will be disqualified, and the Department shall select the next highest scoring applicant for the county, pursuant to section 329D-4(c) HRS, and section 11-850-21(b), HAR.

The applicants that have been selected for dispensary licenses are:

City and County of Honolulu

  • Aloha Green Holdings Inc.
  • Manoa Botanicals LLC
  • TCG Retro Market 1, LLC dba Cure Oahu

County of Hawaii

  • Hawaiian Ethos LLC
  • Lau Ola LLC

County of Maui

  • Maui Wellness Group, LLC
  • Pono Life Sciences Maui, LLC

County of Kauai

  • Green Aloha, Ltd.

“Upon the completion of the selection process and the awarding of licenses, the Department of Health will begin working with the selected licensees to ensure the safety of their products, and the safety of patients and the public,” said State Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “We look forward to improving access to marijuana for registered patients who have medical needs, and increasing educational opportunities for healthcare professionals.”

After receiving more than 60 applications in January, the department conducted a rigorous review and selection process. A four-member selection panel reviewed and scored applications based on thirteen merit criteria, some of which include the ability to operate a business, a plan and timeline for operations, proof of financial stability, ability to comply with security requirements, and capacity to meet patient needs.

A dispensary licensed pursuant to Chapter 329D, HRS, may begin dispensing marijuana no sooner than July 15, 2016, with the approval of the Department of Health. Each dispensary licensee may operate up to two production centers and two retail dispensing locations within the county they are licensed to serve. Margaret Leong, Supervisor for the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing Program, explained that, “There are many steps the dispensaries will need to take in order to actually start production and dispensing, so we can’t say exactly when the dispensing will begin. But we are excited to start working with the selected licensees on the next steps.”

Pursuant to section 11-850-20, Hawaii Administrative Rules, the Department is holding unselected applications in reserve to offer a license to the next highest scoring applicant if the selected applicants fail to timely pay the required licensing fee. When all available licenses have been issued, the unselected applications will be removed from the list of reserved applications and the Department will notify all applicants of their status, at which time they will have an opportunity to appeal the denial.

The department will post a list of the total scores received by applicants upon completion of the awarding of licenses, which is anticipated to be completed within the next two weeks. The scores will be posted at http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana/.

More information about both the medical marijuana dispensary program and the registry program are located at the website.

Kauai Man Faces Felony Charges in Connection with Pregnant Monk Seal Beating

Arrest Result of Joint Federal, State & County Investigation

19 year old Shylo Akuna of Eleele, Kauai was arrested this afternoon by officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) and NOAA Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) special agents in connection with the beating of a 17-year old pregnant monk seal on April 26, 2016.

Shylo Akuna

Shylo Akuna

A short video clip of the incident was widely posted on social media and was picked up by news organizations around the country. That video, supported by eyewitness accounts led to Akuna’s arrest. He is being held at the Kauai Police Department pending further disposition on suspicion of “taking a monk seal.” This includes harassing, harming, pursuing, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing or collecting an endangered or threatened aquatic species or terrestrial wildlife. If convicted of this Class C felony, Akuna could face one (1) to five (5) years in prison. Additionally the state environmental court may impose a fine of up to $50,000.

DOCARE Chief Thomas Friel said, “Thanks to the joint efforts of our Kauai branch officers, special agents from the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, Kauai Police Department, and Hawaii State Sheriffs we were able to investigate this crime, make an arrest, and bring this part of the case to a quick conclusion.”

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case added, “We’re grateful to the concerned citizens who brought this action to our attention and were willing to step forward with additional information to help law enforcement identify and arrest the suspect. We’re fortunate that the Hawaii State Legislature passed HRS 195D which provides very stiff penalties for these repugnant behaviors.

Ann M. Garrett, Assistant Regional Administrator for Protected Resources, with the NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office said, “NOAA Fisheries sincerely appreciates the outpouring of community support for RK30, the Hawaiian monk seal involved in this incident. She’s an important and productive member of the seal population. It’s clear from this outpouring that folks care a great deal about monk seals, and don’t want to see them harmed. The quick action by DLNR DOCARE, the Kauai Police Department, and NOAA OLE is very commendable, and likely would not have been as successful without the support of caring community members.”

Anyone who witnesses a monk seal or any other endangered or threatened species being threatened or injured in any manner by a person is urged to immediately call the NOAA Hotline at 1-800-853-1964 or the DOCARE statewide hotline at 643-DLNR.

Hawaii Police Officers of the Month: Daniel Kuwabara and Gregory Horton

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi on Thursday (April 28) recognized Hilo Patrol Officer Daniel Kuwabara as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for March and Puna Patrol Officer Gregory Horton as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for April.

Officer Kuwabara was honored for his efforts in a sexual assault case, leading to a suspect being taken into custody within an hour.

Aloha Exchange Club member Joey Estrella presents an "Officer of the Month" award to Officer Daniel Kuwabara.

Aloha Exchange Club member Joey Estrella presents an “Officer of the Month” award to Officer Daniel Kuwabara.

Last October, an adult female reported she had been sexually assaulted in Hilo. Meanwhile, officers responded to a report of a disorderly man at a nearby location. Officer Kuwabara relayed to the officers arresting the 34-year-old Hilo man for disorderly conduct that the descriptions of the two suspects were similar except for differences in the descriptions of their clothing. Kuwabara met with the sex assault victim and was able to obtain a better description, including that of a tattoo. As a result of that detail, police were able to charge the suspect not only with disorderly conduct but also with kidnapping, burglary and sexual assault.

Officer Horton was honored for providing field training to a police recruit that included drafting a search warrant and recovering evidence that led to felony charges.

Aloha Exchange Club member John Stewart presents an "Officer of the Month" award to Officer Gregory Horton.

Aloha Exchange Club member John Stewart presents an “Officer of the Month” award to Officer Gregory Horton.

On February 8, Horton and his recruit were conducting a roving patrol on Highway 130 near Orchidland when they made a 2 a.m. traffic stop on a sports-utility vehicle traveling slowly without any lights. While making contact with the driver, an assisting officer identified a partially concealed rifle on the passenger side floor mat within arm’s reach of the driver. Recognizing the seriousness of the case, Horton elected to work the case through to its completion with the recruit. Over a two-day period, they drafted and obtained a search warrant, leading to the recovery of a loaded rifle, loose ammunition, crystal methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The 20-year-old driver was charged with nine drug and weapons offenses and the officers initiated forfeiture proceedings on his SUV.

As “Officer of the Month,” both Kuwabara and Horton are eligible for “Officer of the Year.”

The East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” award is a project of the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi.

Hawaii Senate Confirms Ching Nagata to Hawaii Third Circuit Court

Members of the State Senate today confirmed Darien W.L. Ching Nagata to serve as a district court judge of the Third Circuit, State of Hawai‘i.

Photo courtesy: Senate Communications

Photo courtesy: Senate Communications

Ms. Ching Nagata was born and raised on Oahu, attended Iolani School, and graduated from Santa Clara University.  After studying in Shanghai and Singapore, she attended the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai‘i, where she was a Student of the Year and served as president of the Student Bar Association.

Ms. Ching Nagata joined the office of the Prosecuting Attorney of the County of Hawai‘i in 1998.  Currently, she oversees litigation in the district court and family court, including domestic violence and juvenile cases. Her career has also included serving as the Violent Crimes Unit Litigator, and Circuit Court Unit Supervising Attorney and Litigator. She has been cross-deputized since 2008 to serve as a Special Assistant to the United States Attorney’s Office to assist with their Project Safe Neighborhood initiative.

“Throughout her career as a prosecutor, Darien Ching Nagata has shown patience, compassion, diligence and a willingness to put in the long hours necessary to seek justice for the people of the Big Island,” said Sen. Gilbert Keith-Agaran (D 5th District), chair of the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee.  “I have no doubt that the Third Circuit Court as a whole and the district court to which she has been nominated will benefit greatly from her experience, energy and dedication.”

Ching Nagata was appointed by Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of District Court Judge Barbara T. Takase. Ching Nagata will serve a term of six years.

Lobster and Kona Crab Season Closes May 1

If you love your fresh-caught local lobster or Kona crab, you’d best catch it quick because the season closes this Sunday.  The closed season for ula (spiny lobster), ula papapa (slipper lobster) and Kona crab runs from May 1 through the end of August.  During that time it’s illegal to take, possess, or sell these shellfish.

Spiny Lobster

According to Suzanne Case, chairperson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, “These rules are in place to protect lobsters and Kona crabs during the summer months, which are the peak of their reproductive season, and to help ensure their populations will continue to be sustainable.”

Kona Crab

However, any commercial marine dealer may sell, or any hotel, restaurant, or other public eating house may serve spiny or slipper lobster lawfully caught during the open season by first obtaining a license to do so pursuant to section 13-74-41, Hawaii Administrative Rules.

During the open season catching, taking or possessing of female spiny and slipper lobsters and female Kona crab is prohibited.  Also, any spiny or slipper lobster, or Kona crab, caught with eggs must immediately be returned to the waters from which it was taken. Taking or killing of females is prohibited year round.

The Hawai‘i Fishing Regulations booklet, available at all Division of Aquatic Resources offices and most fishing supply stores, shows how to determine the sex of spiny lobsters and Kona crabs.  Or go online to http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/fishing/fishing-regulations/marine-invertebrates/how-to-determine-sex-of-regulated-invertebrates/

For more information on regulations concerning these and other marine invertebrates, including minimum sizes, go to http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/fishing/fishing-regulations/marine-invertebrates/  or call the Division of Aquatic Resources.

To report any violation of these or other fishing regulations call the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement at 643-DLNR.

EPA Cites Honolulu Wood Treating for Producing and Selling Mislabeled Pesticide

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement with Honolulu Wood Treating of Kapolei, Oahu, which will pay a $33,750 penalty for producing and selling a mislabeled pesticide on five occasions in 2013 and 2014 under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.

Honolulu Wood TreatmentThe Hawaii Department of Agriculture conducted inspections for EPA at the company’s facility in 2014 and 2015 and referred this case to EPA for follow-up enforcement. During the inspections, the Department found that Clear-Bor F.T., a product used to protect wood from termites and wood decay fungus, did not meet federal label requirements. Specifically, the first aid information and EPA Establishment number were incorrect. The company has since fully corrected the product label.

“Mislabeled pesticides put people at risk,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Every company must ensure its products are properly labeled to protect the health and safety of those who use them.”

EPA requires companies to revise the first aid statements on their pesticide product labels to include medically up-to-date language. The instructions on the non-compliant containers of Clear-Bor F.T. would  have likely interfered with proper medical treatment, as the label instructed the user to “induce vomiting by touching back of throat with finger” in case of ingestion. Current medical first aid instructions no longer recommend inducing vomiting.

The required EPA Establishment number was also found to be incorrect for the product.  This number is used to identify where the product was last produced. It is crucial to maintaining product integrity, as production includes formulating, packaging, labeling and any alteration of the product prior to sale.

For more information about the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, please visit: http://www2.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-federal-insecticide-fungicide-and-rodenticide-act

Hawaii House Passes Bills on Social Media Sharing of Marked Ballots, Firearms Possession and Gender Based Discrimination

The full House today passed three measures relating to: the sharing of digital images of a voter’s marked ballot, possession of firearms by individuals who have misdemeanor convictions of stalking or sexual assault, and discrimination based on gender identity. Capital

HB27 SD1, allows a voter to distribute or share an electronic or digital image of the voter’s own marked ballot via social media or other means. The intent of the measure is to repeal the prohibition against willfully exhibiting one’s own ballot at polling places during an election.  The prohibitions originally related to the operation of polling places, where it was meant to prevent voters from declaring how they voted in order to encourage others to vote in the same way.

The prevalence of electronic mobile devices and social media applications and platforms increases the opportunities for people to display their ballots via social media, which are commonly known as “ballot selfies.”  This measure clarifies that voters may exhibit their own ballots, which includes the dissemination of ballot images electronically or digitally.

HB625 HD1, SD1 prohibits a person from legally owning, possessing, or controlling any firearm or ammunition, if he or she was convicted of misdemeanor stalking or sexual assault.  The Honolulu Police Department, Americans for Responsible Solutions, Domestic Violence Action Center, Center for American Progress, BradyHawaii, IMUAlliance, and others testified in support of this measure.

Supporters noted that actions such as stalking and misdemeanor sexual assault are precursors to more extreme acts of domestic violence and that precautions are necessary to prevent individuals convicted of these offenses from accessing firearms.  Disqualification from firearms ownership for a misdemeanor offense requires a conviction, unlike disqualification for a felony offense which only requires an indictment.

HB2084 HD2, SD1 prohibits all insurers in the state, including health insurers, mutual benefit societies, health maintenance organizations, and health benefits plans under chapter 87A, Hawaii Revised Statutes, from discriminating against any person on the basis of a person’s actual gender identity or perceived gender identity.

The bill was initiated in response to the fact that many health insurance plans and policies include some form of transgender-specific exclusions.  As a result, transgender individuals may be excluded from healthcare coverage based on actual gender identity or perceived gender identity, rather than because of lack of medical necessity of treatment.  In addition, these exclusions may also prevent transgender individuals from obtaining common wellness care treatment.

The three bills, which were amended by the Senate, now go to the Governor for his review along with 13 other bills passed today.

Hawaii Department of Health Delays Announcement of Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensees to April 29

The Hawaii State Department of Health is reviewing the criminal history records of applicants for the Medical Marijuana Dispensary licenses after announcing last week that applicants were given notice to provide consents and submit fingerprints.

Medical Marijuana“The applicants have been very responsive and a majority of applicants were able to submit their fingerprints and consents by Tuesday,” according to Peggy Leong, Supervisor for the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing Program. “A small number of applicants are traveling abroad and unable to respond as quickly as we had hoped. In addition, it also came to our attention that many business entities, such as limited liability corporations, corporations and trusts failed to submit the consents and fingerprints of the individuals involved in the entities. The department sent an email to all applicants clarifying the requirements of who is subject to a background check.”

“Given the situation, and in order to provide all applicants a fair opportunity to comply with the statutory requirements, we may not be able to obtain and review the remaining information until the last week of April,” Leong added.

Director of Health Dr. Virginia Pressler said, “We have requested that applicants submit the remaining consents and fingerprints no later than April 25 and we will be pushing hard to complete our review and announce the licensees by Friday, April 29. While we regret the delay, we believe the priority is to do this the right way, and that includes being fair to the applicants by providing this additional time.”

Leong said the applicants have all been very cooperative and understanding, despite the challenges of establishing a brand new and complex program, “We really appreciate their patience and willingness to work through this with us.”

More information about the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program can be found on the website: https://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuanadispensary

Chief Justice Appoints Darien W.L. Ching Nagata as Hawaii Island District Court Judge

Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald has appointed Darien W.L. Ching Nagata to the District Court of Third Circuit (Island of Hawaii).  She will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Barbara T. Takase.
JudiciarySince 1998, Nagata has been a deputy prosecuting attorney for the County of Hawaii Office of the Prosecuting Attorney. She currently supervises the District and Family Court Domestic Units, and has previously supervised the Circuit Court Unit that handles child and adult sexual assaults, homicides and violent crime cases.  From 2008 to 2014, Nagata was cross-deputized to serve as the Special Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, where she assisted with Project Safe Neighborhood.

Nagata has been a two time President of the Hawaii County Bar Association and served as the Association’s representative to Co-Chair the committee to establish Hilo’s Self Help Center.  She is currently an active member of the Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services to the Public, where she assists in the ongoing effort to promote and provide legal services to the public, and the Diversity, Equality, & the Law (DEAL) Committee, developing programs to eliminate gender, ethnic, and other bias and discrimination in the legal profession and judicial system.

In 2013, the Hawaii State Bar Association appointed Nagata as Commissioner of the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission.  She has worked as a Neighbor Island Representative, furthering the Commission’s goal of substantially increasing access to justice in civil legal matters for low- and moderate-income residents.

Nagata has served the Hawaii Island community for nine years as a Volunteer Arbitrator for the Court Annexed Arbitration Program, and as a Volunteer Mediator with the Hawaii County Foreclosure Mediation Program.

Nagata is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law, and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1997.

The Chief Justice appoints District Court judges from a list of not less than six nominees submitted by the Judicial Selection Commission.  If confirmed by the State Senate, Nagata will serve a term of six years.

“U Drive U Text U Pay” – Big Island Police Participate in National Campaign

Hawaiʻi Island police will increase enforcement of distracted driving in the month of April as part of a national campaign called “U Drive U Text U Pay”.
U Drive U Text U PayDistracted driving is a problem of national concern. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration finds that the task of driving requires a driver’s full attention in focusing on the roadway and driving maneuvers.

Any distraction that diverts a driver’s attention from the primary tasks of maneuvering the vehicle and responding to critical events increases the driver’s risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash. A distraction is anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, mind off the road or hands off the wheel.

On July 1, 2013, the State of Hawaiʻi enacted law prohibiting the use of cellular phones and other mobile electronic devices while operating a vehicle (with certain exceptions) and to specifically prohibit activities such as texting, instant messaging, gaming and e-mailing, which take a driver’s eyes off the road, mind off the road and hands off the wheel. Use of an electronic device while operating a vehicle is a $297 fine and $307 if the violation is within a school or construction zone.

26 Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Settled Involving the Diocese of Honolulu and Other Religious Orders

Clerical Expert Identifies Bishop Joseph Ferrario as Child Abuser Before Appointment as Bishop and Three More Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Filed Before April 24 Legal Deadline

Bishop Joseph Ferrario

Bishop Joseph Ferrario

At a press conference tomorrow, Wednesday April 13th, Kailua Attorney Mark Gallagher will:

  • Announce the filing of three lawsuits on behalf of three sexual abuse survivors before the April 24, 2016 legal deadline. The new lawsuits ask courts to force public disclosure of the identity and whereabouts of all credibly accused clerics in the Diocese of Honolulu;
  • Release the expert report of Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, a canon lawyer and expert in the field of clerical child sexual abuse, identifying Bishop Joseph Ferrario as a child molester prior to his appointment as Bishop;
  • Discuss the settlements of 26 child sexual abuse lawsuits involving the Diocese of Honolulu and various religious orders; and
  • Encourage sexual abuse survivors in Hawaii to come forward and pursue legal action under a Hawaii law that expires April 24, 2016.

 

Driver Flees Accident in Pahoa – Body Found in Bushes

Hawaii Fire Department Incident Report:

Type of Incident:

Motor Vehicle Accident fronting 14-3469 Nanawale Boulevard in Pahoa.

14-3469

Situation Found at Scene:

Found single mid-sized car involved in single vehicle accident. Vehicle with extensive left rear and top damage. Vehicle struck trees and snapped a utility pole before coming to rest in bushes ~ 5′ below the grade of the road.

Cause:

Under Investigation

Remarks:

Found 1 male passenger lying on ground next to vehicle stating driver fled scene prior to arrival and that he and driver were only occupants involved. HPD got information from witness that there may have been other parties in the vehicle.

Search of area using thermal imaging equipment revealed female in very thick brush about 10 feet from where vehicle came to rest. Female party found without signs of life. Area searched for additional occupants with negative findings.

Officer Brian Beckwith Named Hawaii County “Officer of the Month”

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee recognized Officer Brian Beckwith as “Officer of the Month” for April in a luncheon ceremony Wednesday (April 6) at Huggo’s restaurant in Kailua-Kona.

Officer Brian Beckwith

Officer Brian Beckwith

Beckwith was honored for his compassion and integrity.

On February 14, Officer Beckwith responded to a report of a man in a wheelchair at the Kailua Pier who appeared to need assistance. The 78-year-old man, who had lost both his legs due to a medical condition, told the officer someone had stolen the battery charger to his electric wheelchair. He was unable to care for himself and had been stranded on the pier since the previous day. Beckwith attempted to contact numerous social service agencies to help the man, but, as it was a three-day weekend, he was unable to reach anyone who could help.

As a short-term solution, Beckwith reserved a hotel room in Waimea. After completing his shift, he drove the man to the hotel. During his days off, he visited the man several times a day, cleaning him and providing food and company.

Beckwith learned that the man was a Korean War veteran and that he had an appointment with the Veterans Administration on February 16. Beckwith drove him to the VA office and attempted to get him placed in a suitable living environment. When the VA was unable to help, Beckwith continued to provide assistance.

The following day, while on duty, Beckwith located a Kona resident with the same wheelchair as the veteran’s. He borrowed the Kona resident’s battery charger and charged the veteran’s wheelchair.

With continued persistence, Beckwith was able to obtain placement for the veteran with help from Adult Protective Services.

Beckwith, who joined the Hawaiʻi Police Department three years ago, served in the U.S. Coast Guard for four years. For the past six years, he has been a combat medic as an active reserve for the Department of the Army.

As “Officer of the Month,” Beckwith is eligible for “Officer of the Year.”

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee is an organization that encourages community involvement in aiding and supporting police in West Hawaiʻi.

Court Orders Hawaii’s Insurance Commissioner to Take Over Family Health Hawaii

Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito today announced that Family Health Hawaii, MBS (“FHH”), was ordered into liquidation.  The order was signed by State First Circuit Court Judge Karen T. Nakasone.

Click to read the liquidation order

Click to read the liquidation order

The order authorizes Commissioner Ito to take possession and control of FHH’s assets as the Liquidator and assume the powers of the company’s directors and officers for the protection of policyholders, creditors, and the public.  The Order of Liquidation is effective immediately.

Health insurance companies in Hawaii are required to meet statutory solvency requirements which include maintaining minimum net worth to ensure that they are able to meet their obligations.  FHH’s 2015 annual filings revealed that the company is below the minimum level required by law with no prospects of making up the deficit.  FHH had been working with the State’s examination team prior to the 2015 annual filing but had missed several key deadlines.

“This is a regrettable situation. However, once we determined the degree of the existing financial hazard, the decision was made to protect the policyholders and creditors,” said Commissioner Ito. “Falling below statutory solvency requirements compelled this liquidation action.  Further delay would only increase the risk of loss and jeopardize FHH’s policyholders’ access to healthcare and providers under their plans.”

The Insurance Division is working to ensure that all employer groups are notified and transitioned off of FHH group plans in an expeditious fashion.   Employer groups should contact their insurance broker or account management for assistance with the transition of coverage to a new insurer. For more information and assistance, employer groups and healthcare providers can call (855) 206-3277.

Employer groups can also contact HMSA, Kaiser, UHA and HMAA. These insurers are committed in assisting these groups in this difficult time.  Contact numbers for these insurers are:

HMSA         (808) 948-5555
KAISER       (808) 432-5237
UHA            (808) 532-4009     Toll Free  (800) 458-4600, Ext. 301
HMAA         (808) 591-0088     Toll Free  (800) 621-6998

Family Health Hawaii currently insures approximately 420 employer group plans, and does not provide individual plans.

More information will be provided by the Insurance Division on the claims process throughout the liquidation proceedings. For any other questions, please call (844) 717-7334 or visit www.familyhealthhawaii.com for FAQs. Hawaii consumers can call Hawaii Insurance Division’s Health Branch at (808) 586-2804 or visit www.cca.hawaii.gov/ins/ for FAQs.

More information is available at the following links:

Liquidation Order:

Frequently Asked Questions:

2016 Q1 Small Group Rate Comparison:

Hawaii Department of the Attorney General Holds Auction of Seized and Forfeited Property

A public auction of property seized and forfeited to the State of Hawaii will be held on April 9, 2016 in the Pikake Room at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center.

auctionAmong the property being auctioned are multiple vehicles, including:

  • 2011 Kia Rio 4 door sedan;
  • 2010 Dodge Dakota Crew Cab 4×4 pickup truck;
  • 2006 BMW 325i 4 door sedan;
  • 2005 Mercedes E500 4 door sedan;
  • 2003 Hummer H2 SUV;
  • 2003 Lincoln Navigator SUV
  • Three sport bikes;
  • One Harley Davidson motorcycle; and
  • Other vehicles.

Other property to be sold includes, among other things:

  • Flat screen monitors and televisions;
  • Surveillance equipment;
  • Jewelry (including Ming);
  • Collectible coins and currency;
  • One vintage Rolex watch; and
  • Various electronics and other miscellaneous property.

The property to be auctioned may be inspected starting at 11:00 a.m. on April 9th. The auction, conducted by Rosen Auctions, will begin at noon the same day. For a list of the property, visit www.rosenauctions.com.

The auction is the result of ongoing efforts by state and county law enforcement agencies to fight crime by seizing and forfeiting assets used or acquired in connection with criminal activities. Assets that were used in, or obtained from, the commission of certain criminal offenses can be seized and forfeited under the state’s asset forfeiture law. Taking away the tools criminals use to commit crimes and the profits from those crimes is one way to deter and impede criminal conduct. Proceeds from this auction will be used by state and county law enforcement agencies to combat crime.

Employees (and their immediate family members) of county police departments, county prosecuting attorney’s offices, and the Department of the Attorney General are not eligible to purchase forfeited property.

Anyone having information about individuals who are profiting from criminal activity should call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 955-8300.