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Commentary – Concerns Over New County Police and Fire Radio Systems

I am a member of the (CERT) Community Emergency Response Team here in Ocean view, and a ham radio operator. Being part of CERT we work closely with other agencies such as Volunteer Fire Department,  Red Cross, Hawaii County Civil Defense, and the National Weather Service.

I have concerns about the county switching over to the new narrow band VHF P25 phase 2 trunked radio system. They spent 31 million on this radio upgrade, and it doesn’t even cover the entire Island. There are a number of “dead spots” in the Ka’u area, especially here in HOVE.

As far as I know the county is in the process of trying to set up another radio site at the HOVE Fire Station, but currently they don’t have sufficient coverage in this subdivision. This poses a public safety issue. This also means that the county will probably end spending more money on radio sites, and upgrades to enhance radio coverage on the island. Not to mention until the upgrades happens, they are putting police, firefighters, and the public at risk if their radios don’t work on the new digital radio system because of “dead spots.”

The Honolulu Police Department had similar problems with “dead spots” back in 1998 when they switched to Pro-voice 800 megahertz digital radio system which initially they thought would only cost $20 million dollars, but after numerous upgrades and adding more towers they ended up spending $40 million.

After reading information posted on the Hawaii Volunteer Fire Captains Association website, Volunteers complain that their new handheld radios battery does not last more than four to six hours. Sometimes volunteer firefighters are at a fire scene for longer than that. This may cause problems in a disaster when batteries cannot be charged at the scene of a event. The county needs to address these issues before we have serious problems.

Blake Stene
Hawaiian Ocean View Estates

Illegal Camps Moved Out of Diamond Head State Monument – Six People Cited So Far During Cleanup & Enforcement Operation

Following six months of outreach to homeless individuals living on the slopes of Hawai’i’s iconic Diamond Head, crews from the DLNR Divisions of State Parks and Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), along with a private rubbish contractor removed tons of debris from illegal camps within Diamond Head State Monument. They were joined by state outreach representatives.

“We empathize with anyone in Hawaii who does not have a home, and thank Governor Ige’s homelessness team for the work they are doing to find shelter for people who do not have it. State lands, though, are owned by all of Hawai‘i’s residents and cannot be used as a place for long-term camps,” said State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell. Spread across the southeast flanks of Diamond Head, parks and outreach workers have found abandoned clothing, food containers, camping equipment, cans and bottles.

Last week, during the sixth outreach activity, social workers and DLNR staff again hiked to each camp. During previous outreach trips since last October, workers have informed people at camps, in person or in writing that they would need to vacate their camps sometime in mid-March. Cottrell continued, “We are encouraged that several of the 36 camps we originally posted are no longer occupied, and we have been told that some people have been placed into transitional housing.”

As with all the previous visits to Diamond Head, a team of DOCARE officers participated today. As of 9 a.m. they’d issued six (6) citations for the violation of being in a closed area. DOCARE Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell commented, “Citing these people is the last step in this concerted effort to enforce park rules.” This is the third clean-up of illegal camps at Diamond Head State Monument.

Scott Morishige, the Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness said, “This operation is not only about maintaining DLNR lands; it’s about connecting people to housing. We’ve been conducting ongoing outreach and notification to the estimated 30-35 people living in the area since October. These efforts have resulted in housing two veterans who had been homeless for a decade.  We will continue to work closely with the state service providers: Kalihi-Palama Health Center, Institute for Human Services, and the CHOW Project, to build relationships with people experiencing homelessness and connect them to housing.”

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “Diamond Head is Hawai’i’s best known natural landmark. Our State Parks are for the enjoyment of all kama‘aina and visitors. Other than the established, paved walking path in Diamond Head crater, the area is off-limits because it’s not managed for public access and therefore not safe.”

The State has identified at least 40 camps or rubbish locations on Diamond Head. So far today workers have filled two large roll-off bins with materials that had previously been tagged as trash or identified by campers as such.

Big Island Police Searching for 17-Year-Old Kailua-Kona Boy Reported Missing Again

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old Kailua-Kona boy who was reported missing again.

George Price-Apo

George Price-Apo was last seen in Kailua-Kona on January 24, 2017.

He is described as Hawaiian, 6-foot-2, 140 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Big Island Police Searching for 15-Year-Old Captain Cook Girl Missing Since Last Year

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 15-year-old Captain Cook girl who was reported missing.

Irene Hernandez

Irene Hernandez was last seen in Hilo on December 8, 2016.

She is described as Hispanic, 5-foot-1, 150 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 15-Year-Old Waimea Girl

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 15-year-old Waimea girl who was reported missing.

Shyanne Muranaka-Walton

Shyanne Muranaka-Walton was last seen in Waimea on March 7, 2017.

She is described as Hispanic, 5-foot-3, 140 pounds with long, brown, wavy hair and brown eyes. She also has a long birthmark on her left bicep.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Big Island Police Looking for Missing Man with Medical Condition

Big Island police have located the 1999 Toyota Camry that was believed to have been operated by missing person Glenn S. Oyama. The car was found unattended along Highway 19 in the area of the Kolekole Bridge on Tuesday morning (March 21).

Glenn S. Oyama

Oyama was not found to be in the immediate area and police still ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Glenn S. Oyama, 59-years-old, of Honomū, was last seen in Hilo on Sunday (March 19) at about 11:30 p.m. He has a medical condition and requires medication.

He is described as Japanese, 5-foot-7, 190 pounds with black/gray hair, and brown eyes.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Trump Travel Ban Update: Hawaii Seeks Conversion of Temporary Restraining Order to Preliminary Injunction

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin announced today that the state of Hawaii has moved to convert the temporary restraining order issued last week by Hawaii federal judge Derrick K. Watson in the travel ban case into a preliminary injunction.

Attorney General Doug Chin

On March 15, 2017, Judge Watson issued a 43-page opinion enjoining the federal government nationwide from enforcing or implementing Sections 2 and 6 of a second Executive Order issued by President Trump. That Executive Order would have restricted immigration from Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen, and also temporarily suspended refugee admissions. The second Executive Order had been scheduled to become effective on March 16, 2017.

Attorney General Chin said, “Protecting national security and the safety of our state is critically important, but executive orders must not discriminate against people based on national origin or religion. President Trump during his campaign called for a Muslim ban. His comments in the last week indicate he still supports that policy.”

In today’s filings, Hawaii quotes from the following statement made by the President at a rally in Nashville, Tennessee on the evening of March 15 after the federal court had issued its temporary restraining order:

“The order [Judge Watson] blocked was a watered down version of the first order that was also blocked by another judge and should have never been blocked to start with . . . . Remember this. I wasn’t thrilled, but the lawyers all said, oh, let’s tailor it. This is a watered down version of the first one. This is a watered down version. And let me tell you something, I think we ought to go back to the first one and go all the way, which is what I wanted to do in the first place.”

Today’s filings also describe a television interview later that night during which President Trump stated that it was “very hard” to assimilate Muslims into Western culture.

Under federal court rules, a temporary restraining order expires 14 days after entry, unless the court extends it. In contrast, a preliminary injunction will last as long as directed by the court.

A hearing on today’s motion is currently scheduled before Judge Watson on March 29, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. The Court has advised that the hearing date and time may be changed or vacated upon review of the written briefs. The parties have also stipulated that Judge Watson’s nationwide order of March 15, 2017 shall remain in place until such time as the Court rules on whether the TRO should be converted to a preliminary injunction or until otherwise ordered by the Court.

Copies of the motion to convert the temporary restraining order to a preliminary injunction and the memorandum in support of the motion are attached.

Kohala Officer of the Quarter: Sidra Naki-Brown

The Hawaiʻi Island Safety and Security Professionals Association recognized Officer Sidra Naki-Brown as “Kohala Officer of the Quarter” during a ceremony held on Friday (March 10).

Pictured from left to right: Robert Hickox of Kohanaiki, Randy Crowe of R. Crowe Consulting, Officer Sidra Naki-Brown, and Captain Randal Ishii

Officer Naki-Brown was honored for her diligence, persistence and determination while dealing with an unruly and violent suspect.

On December 5, 2016, Officer Naki-Brown responded to a report of a disorderly male at the Waikoloa Village shopping center. Despite the male suspect being very vulgar towards her and challenging her and others to fight, Officer Naki-Brown remained calm and professional. The suspect then attempted to flee, although fell to the ground and was subsequently arrested for disorderly conduct.

Throughout the arrest process, Officer Naki-Brown remained calm and professional, never letting her emotions take over. She treated the male suspect with dignity and respect, regardless of how he was treating her.

Sergeant Floyd Richards commented in his nomination papers that “her level of determination, professionalism, and perseverance is a testament of her professional work ethic and moral character. Our department’s core values of professionalism and compassion come to mind when reflecting on the actions of Officer Naki-Brown.”

The Hawaiʻi Island Safety and Security Professionals Association is an organization of hotel and airport security managers and visitor industry professionals. Its “Kohala Officer of the Quarter” program is an opportunity to recognize outstanding officers from the North Kohala and South Kohala Districts.

VIDEO: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Calls for Federal Decriminalization of Marijuana

Continuing her commitment to common sense criminal justice reform, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) spoke on the House floor today urging Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to federally decriminalize marijuana.

If passed, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act (H.R.1227) would take marijuana off the federal controlled substances list—joining other industries such as alcohol and tobacco. Gabbard introduced the legislation with Rep. Tom Garrett (VA-05), an Army veteran and former prosecutor.

“Our outdated policies on marijuana are having devastating ripple effects on individuals and communities across the country. They have turned everyday Americans into criminals, torn apart families, and wasted huge amounts of taxpayer dollars to arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate people for non-violent marijuana charges,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “Differences in state and federal law have also created confusion and uncertainty for our local businesses, who face contradictory regulations that affect their bottom line and ability to operate. I urge our colleagues to support our bipartisan legislation which would decriminalize marijuana, bringing about long overdue and common sense reform.”

“There is growing consensus acknowledging that the effects of marijuana are less harmful than its criminal prohibition, which has increased incarceration rates, divided families, and burdened state governments with the high cost of enforcement, prison and probation. It’s clear that there are more vital needs that we as a society need to allocate our precious resources towards, such as education, mental health, and homelessness. Decriminalization is a step forward in making needed criminal justice reforms, which should also include more diversion to substance abuse treatment,” said Karen Umemoto, Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and juvenile justice researcher.

“As long as marijuana is federally illegal, FDIC regulations make it impossible for banks to provide any services to the eight Hawaiʻi Medical Marijuana Dispensary licensees. Federal decriminalization will enable professional dispensaries to provide much needed patient access and cost savings,” said Richard Ha, CEO of Lau Ola, a medical marijuana dispensary on Hawaiʻi Island.

“Descheduling cannabis will benefit Hawaiʻi patients by allowing for more rapid research to identify the best medical marijuana strains and dosages for individual medical conditions. Also, eliminating the barriers to banking will make it easier and safer for Hawaiʻi patients to purchase the medicine they need and eliminate unnecessary expense and complexity for dispensaries,” said Brian Goldstein, Founder and CEO of Mānoa Botanicals, a licensed medical marijuana dispensary on Oʻahu.

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard supports the full legalization of marijuana on the federal level as part of her overall effort toward criminal justice reform. Last month, she visited correctional facilities throughout the state, and met with inmates, criminal justice advocates and experts, health professionals, educators and others to discuss reducing recidivism and her continued efforts to pass federal criminal justice reform legislation like the SAFE Justice Act and the Sentencing Reform Act.

The congresswoman has also supported legislation like the Industrial Hemp Farming Act to support the cultivation of industrial hemp in Hawaiʻi and nationwide.

 

Announcing East Hawai’i Officer of the Year and Firefighter of the Year

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized Puna Patrol Officer Joshua Baumgarner on Monday evening (March 20) as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Year” and Fire EMS Captain Chris Honda as “Firefighter of the Year.”

Hawaii County Council Member Susan Lee Loy, ‘Firefighter of the Year’ EMS Captain Chris Honda, ‘East Hawai’i Officer of the Year’ Puna Patrol Officer Joshua Baumgarner, Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth, and Senator Kaiali’i Kahele

Baumgarner, who began solo patrol duty in April 2016, was honored for saving the life of a woman who would have bled to death without his aid.

Honda, a member of the Fire Department since 2000, was honored for improving cardiac arrest survival rates on Hawai‘i Island.

On September 23, 2016, Officer Baumgarner was among the police officers who responded to a home in the Hawaiian Beaches subdivision to find a 29-year-old woman bleeding profusely after punching a glass window during a domestic dispute. The woman’s husband and young children were frantic at the scene, where the husband was unsuccessfully attempting to stem the bleeding.

Baumgarner quickly took action. He applied direct pressure to the woman’s affected artery, elevated her feet to concentrate remaining blood in her vital organs, and reassured her to prevent shock. He was successful in stopping the bleeding, and he continued to maintain constant pressure on the artery until Fire Department rescue personnel arrived on the scene about 8-10 minutes later. The woman was taken to the hospital and survived her injuries.

Sergeant Chris Correia, who nominated Baumgarner for the award, noted that the officer had training as a combat medic in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard.

“Officer Baumgarner’s background in the medical field, as well as his calm demeanor in providing and maintaining first aid treatment saved the life of a gravely injured person,” Correia wrote in nomination papers. “His decisive action in the saving of a life truly embodies the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s Core Values of Integrity, Professionalism, Compassion, Teamwork, and Community Satisfaction.”

Baumgarner was named “Officer of the Month” in November for the same incident.

The Fire Department’s honoree, Captain Honda, was promoted to his current position as a Fire Medical Specialist III, or EMS Captain, with the EMS Bureau in August 2012. He is the Fire Department’s lead in “High Performance” CPR training, the “Community Hands Only” CPR training in schools project, and the “Pilot HPD AED” response program.

Since inception, more than 9,000 persons have been trained in “Hands Only” CPR. In that time, cardiac arrest survivor rates improved from 4 percent in 2014 to more than 10 percent in 2016. In 2016, 19 out of 197 out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims walked out of the hospital neurologically intact.

One such success story involved several students who participated in and helped instruct the “Hands Only” CPR training at Waiākea High School. They performed “Hands Only” CPR on a friend who collapsed in cardiac arrest off campus while playing basketball. Because of their training, the students were able to resuscitate their classmate, who later recovered in time to graduate with his class as the valedictorian.

During his time off, Honda can be found on the baseball field as a volunteer coach, mentoring youth on the values of hard work, commitment, sacrifice, integrity and teamwork.

The East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Year” and “Firefighter of the Year” awards are a project of the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi.

Hawaii Woman Writes Two Bogus Checks Totaling $147,350 to Pay Taxes

Attorney General Doug Chin announced that on March 13, 2017, Waianae resident Phyllis Chun was charged with two counts of negotiating a worthless instrument. Ms. Chun mailed two worthless checks to the State Department of Taxation in the amounts of $132,148.81 and $15,201.94.

Attorney General Doug Chin

Attorney General Chin said, “I thank the Tax Department’s investigators for discovering these acts and bringing them to our department to prosecute.”

The misdemeanor charges against Ms. Chun are brought under section 708-857 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes. They are punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine for each count.

Ms. Chun, age 56, is scheduled to make an initial appearance in Honolulu District Court on March 31, 2017.

Ms. Chun is presumed innocent unless and until she is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

DLNR Statement on Plea Deal in Ka`ena Point Albatross Killings

DLNR is issuing this statement in the Kaʿena Point albatross killings, expressing concern over the plea bargain of Christian Guiterrez, 19, the adult accused of participating in these crimes.

Christian Guiterrez

“This crime is absolutely heinous,” said Suzanne Case, Chair of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. “It combines appalling animal cruelty with long-lasting devastation of a breeding population of vulnerable and protected majestic seabirds. Unfortunately, DLNR was not consulted with respect to the plea bargain in this case. Our wildlife managers and enforcement officers work very hard to protect the Kaʿena albatross colony. We take great responsibility for the welfare of these Laysan Albatross and to the public who cares about them deeply.  DLNR is watching this case very closely to see if justice will be met.”

17 Laysan Albatross nests were destroyed (6 eggs died from loss of an incubating parent that was killed and 11 were crushed) and at least 15 adult birds were killed, some of which were dismembered by the perpetrators. With 32 live albatrosses lost, and a proven reproductive potential of each adult bird that can live for 60+ years and rear a chick every other year, the combined effect on the population has been calculated in the hundreds for these large, protected birds.

This is the first major case to come before Hawaiʻi’s new environmental court. “The tone this case sets can have far reaching impacts on the security of our wildlife and natural resources,” Case said. “It is critical that the outcome of this case sends a strong message to the public, that violations of laws protecting our vulnerable native wildlife and acts of illegal take and destruction will not be tolerated.”

Three Folks Charged with Numerous Offenses Stemming From Puna Kidnapping Incident

Two men and a woman from Puna were charged Thursday (March 16) with numerous offenses stemming from a kidnapping incident that occurred earlier in the week in upper Puna.

On Monday (March 13), South Hilo patrol officers responded to the Hilo Medical Center where a female victim reported that she and her three children were held against their will for several days at a residence in the Mountain View area before escaping to another residence where medics were summoned and they were eventually transported to the Hilo Medical Center.

The 25-year-old female victim reported that she and her three children, ages six, four and eight were held for several days against their will in a shed in the Mountain View area. The female victim identified her estranged boyfriend and father of the children as well as two additional parties (one male and one female) as the suspects in this case. The victims were treated and released for minor injuries sustained during the ordeal.

Detectives assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division’s Juvenile Aid Section took over the investigation and arrested three suspects.

Israel Allen Chapson

Yesterday (March 16) at 2:30 p.m., 30-year-old Israel Allen Chapson was charged with four counts of kidnapping, two counts of felony abuse of a family/household member, two counts of third degree promoting a dangerous drug, one count of prohibited acts related to drug paraphernalia and one count of third degree promoting a detrimental drug. His bail has been set at $251,000.

Chevy Iaukea

Also charged yesterday related to this same incident was 29-year-old Chevy Iaukea and 29-year-old Joseph Soares.

Joseph Soares

Each were charged with four counts of kidnapping. They are both being held in lieu of $200,000 bail. All three suspects reside in Mountain view and are currently being held at the Hilo cellblock pending their initial court appearance set for this afternoon in Hilo District Court.

Police ask anyone with any information about this case to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Hawaii Chief Justice Appoints Costa, Lendio Heim, and Morikawa as Oahu District Court Judges

Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald has appointed Brian A. Costa, Darolyn H. Lendio Heim, and Trish K. Morikawa to the District Court of the First Circuit (Island of Oahu) to fill the vacancies created by the retirements of Judges Gerald H. Kibe, David W. Lo, and Barbara P. Richardson.

Brian A. Costa is currently the sole member/owner of the law firm Costa & DeLacy, LLLC, where he has extensive experience representing defendants in district court and in appellate matters involving criminal, civil, and family law.  He also serves as a per diem judge of the District Family Court of the First Circuit, presiding over matters involving divorce, annulment, paternity, and petitions for protective orders.  He previously worked as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu, and as an associate at Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel.

Costa is a member of the Hawaiʻi Access to Justice Commission’s Administration Committee and Pro Bono Initiatives Task Force.

He is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaiʻi State Bar in 2001.

Darolyn Lendio Heim is currently a partner at the law firm of McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon LLP.  She previously served as Vice President for Legal Affairs and University General Counsel for the University of Hawaiʻi System.  She also served as the University of Hawaii’s Interim Executive Administrator and Secretary of the Board of Regents.

Earlier in her career, Lendio Heim was the Director of the Department of the Corporation Counsel for the City & County of Honolulu, and was recognized as Outstanding City Administrator.

Throughout her career, Lendio Heim has served on numerous committees, boards, and commissions, and is currently a member of the Judicial Council, the Permanent Committee on Rules of Civil Procedure and Circuit Court Civil Rules, and the Court Annexed Arbitration Program, serving as both an arbitrator and an arbitrator mentor.  In addition, she is an active member of Hawaiʻi Women Lawyers, the Hawaiʻi Filipino Lawyers Association, and the American Inns of Court, James S. Burns Aloha Chapter.

She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaiʻi State Bar in 1984.

Trish K. Morikawa is currently an associate with the firm of Gallagher, Kane & Amai, representing businesses and individual clients in commercial, automobile, and homeowner insurance litigation.  She also serves as a per diem judge of the District Family Court of the First Circuit presiding over temporary restraining order and protective order hearings and trials, petitions for guardianships and adoptions, and juvenile case proceedings.

She previously served as a County Housing Coordinator with the City and County of Honolulu Office of Housing, assisting with the Honolulu Affordable Housing Preservation Initiative as well as the Pathways Project, a housing program for the disabled and chronically homeless.

Morikawa also has extensive experience as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney with the City and County of Honolulu.  She also served as a Deputy Attorney General in the Criminal Justice Division.

In the community, Morikawa serves as a Steering Committee member in the Alignment Hawaii Initiative, a Board Member of the Partners in Development Foundation,  and a member of the Daughters of Hawaiʻi.

Morikawa is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaiʻi State Bar in 1995.

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, Costa, Lendio Heim, and Morikawa will each serve a term of six years.

Big Island Police Identify Victim in Mauna Kea Access Road Crash

Police have identified the female who died from injuries sustained in a one car crash Sunday (March 12) on Mauna Kea Access Road.

She was identified as 35-year-old Aurelie Vincent of Vienne, France.

Police are also asking anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Erhard Autrata at 961-8118 or email: erhard.autrata@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

Tourist from France Dies on Mauna Kea Access Road

An unidentified woman died following a one-vehicle crash Sunday night (March 12) on Mauna Kea Access Road.

Her name is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of her family.

Responding to the 7:30 p.m. traffic crash, Hilo Patrol Officer’s determined that a 2001 Nissan sports-utility vehicle was traveling down Mauna Kea Access Road approximately 1.2 miles below the Visitor’s Center when the vehicle ran off the roadway and overturned several times.

The operator of the Nissan, the unidentified woman, was taken to the Hilo Medical Center where she was pronounced dead on March 13 at 12:29 a.m.

The front seat passenger, a 35-year old female of Lyon, France was also transported to the Hilo Medical Center in stable condition and later medevaced to Queen’s Medical Center on Oʻahu for treatment to her injuries.

Police have initiated a Coroner’s Inquest investigation and an autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Police believe that speed was a factor in this investigation.

This is the fifth traffic fatality this year compared with five at this time last year.

According to Doug Arnott of Arnott’s Lodge:

OMG…an associate just called and the two girls involved in the Mauna Kea crash were our guests at Arnotts…they had rented a camper truck with a structure on top that folds out. Tragically one was killed in the accident and one is in Queens…They asked about activities to do and I had suggested the Volcano Park and asked them if the truck had 4 wheel drive…they were from Lyon in France and had planned to visit Kauai after the Big Island…

Apparently police were on scene for a previous accident when this one happened literally in front of their eyes…previous reports of one accident above VIS and one below were wrong…both were at the sweeping right turn at the bottom of the very steep paved section immediately below the VIS.

Applicants Sought to Serve on Disciplinary Board of the Hawaii Supreme Court

The Nominating Committee of the Hawaii Supreme Court is seeking qualified applicants to serve on the Hawaii Supreme Court Disciplinary Board.  Four attorney and two non-attorney board positions are expected to be available.  Applicants from all islands are invited to apply.
The term of each position is three years, beginning July 1, 2017.  These positions are not compensated; however, expenses to attend board meetings are reimbursed.

The Hawaii Supreme Court Disciplinary Board oversees the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, which investigates allegations of attorney misconduct and incapacity, and recommends appropriate action to the Hawaii Supreme Court to effectuate the purposes of its Disciplinary Rules.

The application deadline is April 14, 2017.  Those interested in serving should submit a resume and letter of interest to:

Gayle J. Lau, Chair
Nominating Committee
Supreme Court of Hawaii
P.O. Box 26436,
Honolulu, Hawaii  96825

Out-of-State Owner Contribute Up to One Third of Hawaii’s Property Taxes

The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) today released a report titled, “An Analysis of Real Property Tax in Hawaii.”  The report estimates that 32.3 percent of Hawaii’s real property tax was paid by out-of-state owners in fiscal year 2016.

Click to read the report

The analysis is based on the real property tax records obtained from all four counties in the state. DBEDT conducted the analysis at the request of the Hawaii State Legislature.

“The report provides detailed information about property ownership and the contributions of real property tax by type of property and by residency of owners”, said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria.  “This study examines the correlation between real property tax and the other sectors in the economy such as government, finance, real estate investment, construction, housing demand, and tourism.“

Chief State Economist Dr. Eugene Tian explained, “It is a challenge to determine the location of residence for property owners, since this is not included in property tax records.  Therefore, the analysis used tax notice mailing addresses as a proxy for the resident location of the property owner. However, mailing addresses provide an estimate rather than an exact measure because, in addition to including property owners, the mailing address may also include management companies, attorneys, accountants, or even friends and relatives.  As a continuation of the study, DBEDT is planning to conduct a survey to identify the nature of the mailing addresses.”

The following is a brief summary of the analysis:

  • Hawaii is one of 14 states in the United States where property taxes are not levied at the state level, but at county level only.
  • Nearly one-third (32.3 percent) of the property taxes were contributed by property owners residing out-of-state.
  • Growth of Hawaii’s real property tax base (valuations) has been following economic conditions; the growth of the property tax base slowed when unemployment rates were high and vice versa.
  • Of the total number of properties (TMKs) in the state, the report estimated that 75.1 percent are Residential and Related; 15.8 percent are Agriculture, Conservation, and Preservation; 5.6 percent are Hotel/Resort and Tourism Related; and 3.5 percent are Commercial/Industrial and Public Service.
  • The estimates for property tax collection in the state showed that 53.2 percent of total property tax are collected from Residential and Related; 23.2 percent from Commercial/Industrial and Public Service; 18.2 percent from Hotel/Resort and Tourism Related; and 5.4 percent from Agriculture, Conservation, and Preservation.
  • For the state overall, it was estimated that 87.5 percent of the Residential & Related properties were owned or managed by Hawaii residents or entities; 10.8 percent were owned or managed by U.S. mainland residents; 1.1 percent were owned or managed by foreign residents or entities; and 0.6 percent of the residential properties were jointly owned by Hawaii and out-of-state residents.
  • For the Hotel/Resort and Tourism Related category, it was estimated that 59.1 percent were owned or managed by U.S. mainlanders; 31.8 percent by Hawaii residents; 7.9 percent by foreign residents; and 1.2 percent were jointly owned between Hawaii and non-Hawaii residents.
  • For the Commercial/Industrial and Public Service category, it was estimated that 84.8 percent were owned or managed by Hawaii residents; 12.3 percent by mainlanders; 0.3 percent by foreigners; and 2.6 percent were jointly owned by Hawaii and out-of-state residents.
  • For the Agriculture, Conservation, and Preservation category, it was estimated that 59.8 percent were owned by Hawaii residents or entities; 35.2 percent by mainlanders; 2.6 by foreigners; and 2.3 percent were jointly owned between Hawaii and out-of-state residents.
  • Including all tax classes, it was estimated that Hawaii residents contributed 67.8 percent of the total real property taxes collected; U.S. mainlanders contributed 29.9 percent; and foreigners contributed 2.4 percent of property tax collections.
  • For the Residential and Related category, Hawaii residents contributed the majority at 76.5 percent of total real property tax collected; U.S. mainlanders contributed 21.1 percent; and foreigners 2.3 percent of property tax collections.
  • For the Hotel/Resort & Tourism Related category, U.S. mainlanders contributed over half of real property taxes paid at 52.0 percent; Hawaii in-state contributed 42.8 percent; and foreigners contributed 5.3 percent of real property taxes paid.
  • For the Commercial/Industrial and Public Service category, Hawaii residents contributed 68 percent; mainlanders contributed 31.9 percent; and foreigners contributed 0.2 percent of real property taxes paid.
  • For the Agriculture, Conservation, and Preservation category, Hawaii residents contributed 64.3 percent; mainlanders contributed 33.3 percent; and foreigners contributed 2.4 percent of total property taxes paid.
  • The average effective rates for in-state-owners were 0.43 percent for the state overall; 0.38 percent for Honolulu County; 0.9 percent for Hawaii County; 0.56 percent for Maui County; and 0.49 percent for Kauai County.
  • The average effective rates for out-of-state-owners were 0.83 percent for the state overall; 0.46 percent for Honolulu County; 2.22 percent for Hawaii County; 1.05 percent for Maui County; and 1.01 percent for Kauai County.

The full report is available at: dbedt.hawaii.gov/economic.

Rewards for Information on Monk Seal Killings Tops $50,000

Local and national non-profit and non-governmental organizations are offering $50,000 for information about the killings of five Hawaiian seals, with the February suspicious death of seal R4DP near ‘Ele‘ele on Kaua‘i making the matter even more urgent. Since 2011, these groups have offered $10,000 rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people involved in the killing of Hawaiian monk seals.

These deaths are among 11 reported monk seal killings since 2009 that remain open and unsolved. DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “We are deeply indebted to The Humane Society of the United States, the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, Conservation Council for Hawai‘i and the Center for Biological Diversity, which once again have stepped forward to try and help solve the senseless and outrageous killings of one of Hawai‘i’s iconic, naturally and culturally important marine mammals.”

The DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) continue to seek witnesses and information on the suspicious death of the 15-year-old female seal, tagged as R4DP.  Angela Amlin, the Hawaiian monk seal recovery coordinator for NOAA’s Pacific Islands Regional Office commented, “We are still waiting for final lab results but everything indicates that R4DP was in good health and did not have any diseases.” DOCARE Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell commented, “These may be serious crimes with significant fines and jail time punishable under both federal and state laws. DOCARE officers on Kaua‘i are working closely with NOAA/OLE agents to gather information and we hope anyone who has information about the death of R4DP or any of the other outstanding cases will come forward.” (Confidential tip line information is below).

Keith Dane, Hawai‘i policy advisor for The Humane Society of the United States, said “The magnitude of the reward for information about these suspicious deaths of defenseless monk seals reflects how much our community values these critically endangered animals and demands justice for those who would seek to harm them.”

Ben Callison, president of the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust said, “If someone intentionally killed this defenseless endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal as she lay resting on the beach they did so with complete disregard for regulations and the reasons behind them.

This is an egregious crime against wildlife, and is particularly reprehensible when it involves an endangered species struggling to make a comeback. We must work together to ensure any and all who were involved are held fully accountable”

“We are deeply saddened by the cruel and senseless killings of precious monk seals,” said Marjorie Ziegler, executive director of the Conservation Council for Hawai’i (CCH). “For our own sake and the good of the planet, we must learn to coexist with other species that share our island home.  If you know anything about any of these killings, please speak up.” CCH is a membership non-profit dedicated to protecting native Hawaiian plants, animals, and ecosystems.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization. Dr. Loyal Mehrhoff is the organization’s Honolulu-based endangered species recovery director. “Monk seals are still highly endangered and a very special species,” Mehrhoff said. “It is important to protect our seals from malicious acts.”

Hawaiian monk seals are endemic to Hawai‘i – a native species found nowhere else in the world. The species is critically endangered with an estimated 1,400 remaining in the wild.

Anyone with information about these deaths should call the NOAA OLE hotline at

1-800-853-1964 or the statewide DOCARE hotline at 1-855-DLNR-TIP or 643-DLNR (3567).

Nation’s First Judicial Outreach Week Comes to Hawaii

Commemorating America’s first National Judicial Outreach Week (March 5 – 11, 2017), Hawaii state judges are meeting with student and community groups to promote public understanding of the rule of law.  Judges will share their insights on how the courts apply this important concept in maintaining open and transparent government, ensuring fairness in our system of justice, and protecting the fundamental legal rights of all citizens.

Oahu Judge William Domingo shows a sketch of Lady Justice to 8th grade students who visited his courtroom at the First Circuit Court Building on March 7, 2017. Judge Domingo used the sketch to explain the Judiciary’s role in applying the rule of law equally for all people.

National Judicial Outreach Week is a new initiative of the American Bar Association Judicial Division, set to take place each year in the first full week of March.  During this week, judges and lawyers will host a variety of community engagements to discuss the rule of law – the legal principle that every citizen is subject to the law, including a country’s lawmakers, leaders, and judges.

“We are a nation where all people are equal under the law,” said Judge William Domingo.  “Our courts are the institutions charged with safeguarding this fundamental principle, so it is important for the public to have a firm understanding of the court and its legal processes.  This promotes trust in the fairness and impartiality of our system of justice.”

During the month of March, the Judiciary invites people to contact their local courthouse to inquire about having a judge speak to their school or community group on the rule of law, our system of justice, and the resources and public services available through the courts.

On Oahu (First Circuit) call the Judiciary History Center at (808) 539-4999.

On Maui, Molokai, and Lanai (Second Circuit) call the chambers of the Chief Judge at (808) 244-2860.

On Hawaii Island (Third Circuit) call the Program Services Branch at (808) 322-8726.

On Kauai (Fifth Circuit) call the Office of the Deputy Chief Court Administrator at (808) 482-2347.