CALEA to Examine Hawaii Police Department – Public Comments Welcome

The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA ®) will arrive on Hawaiʻi Island on July 13 to examine the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s policies and procedures, administration, operations and support services.

calea
The purpose is to verify that the Hawaiʻi Police Department continues to meet the 400-plus National Standards established for a law enforcement agency that are required for the department to maintain voluntary accreditation.

Part of this review will include a public comment session at 5 p.m. on July 14 at the Hawaiʻi County Council chambers at 25 Aupuni Street in Hilo. The session will be hosted by the visiting assessment team, which is seeking the community’s input as to whether accreditation should be maintained.

Chief Kubojiri encourages public comments. “As I’ve always maintained, this is not my police department, this is your police department,” Kubojiri said. “The process of being accredited ensures the public that their police department follows and maintains nationally recognized standards established for a law enforcement agency.”

Individuals who cannot attend the public information session are encouraged to phone in their comments to (808) 961-2270 on July 14 between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Written comments may be sent to CALEA®, 13575 Heathcote Boulevard, Suite 320, Gainesville, Virginia, 22030-2215 or through the CALEA® website at www.calea.org.

The comments are limited to the agency’s ability to comply with CALEA’s standards.

A link to the list of the CALEA® Standards the assessors will be reviewing to determine if the Hawaiʻi Police Department is in compliance is available on the “Accreditation” page of the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s website at www.hawaiipolice.com. A full copy of the Standards may be viewed at the Police Department’s main station at 349 Kapiʻolani Street in Hilo. These National Standards, as they relate to the practices employed by the Hawaiʻi Police Department, are what the assessors are seeking the public’s input on during public testimony.

Of the roughly 23,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States, the Hawaii Police Department is one of only about 1,200 that have been awarded CALEA Accreditation. The department was initially awarded accreditation on November 17, 2012.

For more information, you may call Lieutenant Kenneth Quiocho at 961-2260.

Hilo Coffee Mill Burglarized… Owner Responds

Hilo Coffe Mill was recently ripped off and the following was reported by one of the owners to me.   If you know who may be involved in this theft, please contact the police.

On June 10th at 3:40am thieves came onto the Hilo Coffee Mill property. We believe they jumped the fence on the Hilo Side. We have over 8 hours of video showing the entire event. The Police Department are working on it all now and will have a release of some sort soon.
Coffee mill thief
They first came onto the property, surveyed the area around our solar/warehouse. They then proceeded to go inside the warehouse and steal first our van, second our $9000 zero turn Hustler lawn mower, a weed wacker and then our Kawasaki ATV. There are other small items missing too.
Coffee mill thief 2

They left first with the van and the zero turn mower, plowing down our front gate. They turned left on the highway heading toward Mountain View. When they returned about 16 minutes later, they came from the Hilo side of the highway, leading us to believe they went through Hawaiian Acres from South Kulani and coming out at Road 8.

They then hooked up the ATV and actually had one of the thieves ride on the back of it because they couldn’t get it started. They once again turned left out onto the highway toward. Mountain View. This was at 4:51am

The good news is we have 8 hours of video and we recovered the van, with some damage, like the seat belt that was cut out and used as a tow strap for both the mower and the ATV, and the mower, which is pretty much totaled, to the tune of about $5000 in repairs. Yes, we have insurance but we do have a large deductible and have lost the use of the mower until it can all be settled.

We are still missing the ATV. I’ll post more videos and pictures shortly. Stay tuned because these no good SOB’s will be caught.

Many cars on the highway at that time of the morning. Someone must have noticed something funny going on…

Thanks for everyone’s support. Feel free to SHARE with anyone you think can help.

Katherine Hall-Patton
Hilo Coffee Mill

Hawaii State Judiciary Launches New Environmental Court

On July 1st, Hawaii will take the historic step of establishing the second statewide Environmental Court in the United States.  Hawaii’s new Environmental Court will have broad jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases affecting the environment.

JudiciaryAccording to Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald, “The goal of the Environmental Court is to ensure the fair, consistent, and effective resolution of cases involving the environment.  We are excited to be part of this new initiative.”

In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the creation of environmental courts and tribunals around the world.  To date, 350 environmental courts of some kind are operating in 41 countries.  The Vermont State Legislature founded America’s first environmental court in 1990.  No other statewide environmental courts were formed in the United States until former Governor Neil Abercrombie signed into law Act 218, Session Laws of Hawaii 2014.

Pursuant to Act 218, Chief Justice Recktenwald appointed Associate Justice Michael D. Wilson to serve as Chair of the Environmental Court Working Group, an assembly of court personnel from across the state, to manage the implementation of the new specialty court.  The Working Group has been preparing for the July 1, 2015 launch, starting with a report to the 2015 Legislature describing plans to implement the Hawaii Environmental Court.  Since then, environmental court judges for the district and circuit courts have been assigned, Circuit Court Rules were amended, case management systems were updated, and adjustments were made to some court schedules to accommodate environmental court calendars.

“With the Environmental Court, Hawaii will be better positioned to safeguard one of the most treasured environments in the world,” said Justice Wilson.  “By organizing the technical and legal environmental issues under the Environmental Court, the State Legislature’s intention of promoting and protecting Hawaii’s natural environment will be realized through informed, efficient and consistent application of Hawaii’s environmental laws.”

Two Miles of Fencing at Big Island Natural Area Reserve Vandalized – Repair to Cost Taxpayers $100,000+

Nearly two miles of ungulate proof fencing, surrounding the Pu’u Maka’ ala Natural Area Reserve (NAR), built in the early part of this decade, was recently cut and destroyed by vandals.

Fence Repair

Ungulate fencing is intended to keep feral goats, pigs and other invasive animals away from native plants. This is not the first time fencing in two units within this Hawaii Island Natural (NAR) was vandalized.  Aroutine inspection of the fencing by NAR staff from the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) revealed that vandals had cut through multiple sections of fence at intervals of 5-10 meters top to bottom.

DLNRChairperson Suzanne Case said, “Whatever point these vandals think they’re making, they need to realize that they and every other taxpayer in Hawaii, ultimately ends up paying for the replacement of this fencing.   Additionally, significant staff time will bespent to repair the damage which could take several months and takes staff away from other scheduled projects and regular duties.”

The damagehas been reported to the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE).     A first degree criminal property damage casehas been filed. Anyone caught and convicted of vandalizing or destroying state property faces a class B felony with fines in the thousands of dollars as well as 5-10 years in jail.

NickAgorastos, a NAR Specialist on the Big Island estimates it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair the damage.   He said, “This damage was done in one day and the cost estimate does not include the labor cost needed to remove ungulates that may have slipped through the damaged portions of fence.   It’sunfortunate that we all end up paying for someone else’s thoughtlessness and complete disregard for the purpose of ungulate fencing.”

Hundreds of milesof fencing around the state have been constructed for the express purpose of protecting watersheds and native plants; some of which are so rare there are only a few remaining. Pu’u Maka’ ala Natural Area Reserve is a high value, native forest, containing many sensitive natural resources.   It and many other state lands that are fencedcontinue to provide hunting and recreational access. Anyone with information on this crime is encouraged to call the DOCARE Hotline at 643-DLNR.

Watch “Protection of Hawaii’s Native Forests & Watersheds-A Discussion About Fencing & Invasive Species Control”

Big Island Police Searching for Shirtless Burglar

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a photographic image of a suspect involved in an attempted burglary at a business establishment on the 1100 block of Kīlauea Avenue in Hilo.
robbery suspectThe photo depicts the male suspect, who is described as being Caucasian, in his late teens or early 20s, approximately 5-foot-4 to 5-foot-9 with short hair. He was wearing a tank top or possibly no shirt, dark shorts, dark shoes, dark gloves and a light large-brim hat. He was carrying a dark backpack with reflective markings.
Robbery Suspect2
Police ask anyone with information about the person in this photograph to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Joel Field at 961-2381 or joel.field@hawaiicounty.gov.

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.

Two Officers Recognized as “Officers of the Month”

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized Detective Scott Amaral on Thursday (June 25) as one of two East Hawaiʻi “Officers of the Month” for June.

Aloha Exchange board member Joey Estrella presents an 'Officer of the Month' award to Detective Scott Amaral.

Aloha Exchange board member Joey Estrella presents an ‘Officer of the Month’ award to Detective Scott Amaral.

Detective Jesse Kerr, who shares the award, was unable to attend the ceremony and will be recognized officially at a later date.

The two Juvenile Aid Section detectives are being honored for helping the FBI locate a fugitive wanted in Colorado for kidnapping a 9-year-old family member.

When the FBI received information that the man and girl might be on Hawaiʻi Island, Detectives Amaral and Kerr were assigned to provide assistance. Using their investigative skills, they developed intelligence about the whereabouts of the fugitive and child. As a result, the man was arrested in a small town in Texas within 11 hours from the time the two detectives received the assignment. The girl was located and returned to her family.

“Both detectives deserve equal recognition for collaboratively getting the job done,” said Lieutenant Lucille Melemai, who nominated Amaral and Kerr for the honor. “They represented our department well.”

As “Officer of the Month,” Amaral and Kerr 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.

Statement From Governor’s Office on Mauna Kea Arrests

Eleven adults were arrested by the Hawai‘i Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) Wednesday, during a protest to stop construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea.

Mauna Kea Via UH

The arrests are unfortunate, but the state’s number one priority is the safety of the people on Mauna Kea – from TMT workers to protestors who are exercising their first amendment rights to peaceably assemble and protest in a civil manner.

We are disappointed and concerned that large boulders were found in the roadway leading to the summit of Mauna Kea. This action is a serious and significant safety hazard and could put people at risk.

Because of this, we are making an assessment to determine how to proceed.

We will be working to clear the roadway tomorrow. Therefore, construction is on hold until further notice.

**Governor David Ige is in Washington, D.C. for an energy forum with the Washington Post and meetings with Hawai‘i’s congressional delegation and federal officials.

State Commissioner of Securities Orders Concert Promoters to Cease and Desist

The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ (DCCA) Commissioner of Securities, Ty Nohara, issued a preliminary order to cease and desist and notice of right to hearing against concert promoters Ferdinand C. Jacobe, Gina T. Carlos, and P.B.C. Productions, LLC for violating state securities laws.

Click to read suit

Click to read suit

The order asserts that, between January 2012 and June 2013, Jacobe and P.B.C. Productions solicited investors among the local Filipino community to fund three concerts in Hawaii, guaranteeing returns of 10 to 40 percent within days of each concert.  The order asserts that P.B.C. Productions enlisted the assistance of an agent, Carlos, to solicit investors for the first two concerts.  As a result, more than 30 Hawaii residents invested a combined total of $666,000 into the concerts. Nearly two years have passed since the last concert took place, and many investors remain unpaid.

Jacobe and P.B.C. Productions are accused of failing to disclose to investors that they were substantially in debt to numerous past investors, and the proceeds of a future concert, as well as a portion of new investors’ funds, were needed to repay past investors, and investors’ funds would not be returned by the guaranteed deadline.

Jacobe, Carlos, and P.B.C. Productions also failed to inform the investors who were solicited by Carlos that Carlos would be receiving a 5 to 15 percent commission on the funds she collected from them.

State securities laws include anti-fraud provisions, requiring both securities and persons soliciting or transacting securities to be registered with DCCA’s Securities Compliance Branch.  The order asserts that Jacobe and P.B.C. Productions violated these anti-fraud provisions by employing deceptive schemes and devices to perpetuate fraud.  It further alleges that neither Jacobe nor Carlos was registered to transact securities in Hawaii, and the securities they sold to investors were also unregistered.

The order seeks total penalties of $200,000 in addition to a permanent injunction against Jacobe and Carlos for transacting securities in the state, disgorgement of commissions received, and rescission of the sales of the securities.

Anyone who has been solicited by Jacobe, P.B.C. Productions, or Carlos to invest in a concert or who may otherwise have information regarding this matter is urged to contact the DCCA’s Securities Enforcement Branch (SEB) at 808-586-2740 or toll free 1-877- HI-SCAMS.

SEB receives and investigates complaints regarding potential violations of Hawaii securities laws and prosecutes securities fraud as well as other securities law violations.

Thirty Meter Telescope to Resume Building Wednesday Morning

Statement from Henry Yang, Chair of the TMT International Observatory Board:

TMT laser

“After more than two months of consultation, education, and dialogue with many stakeholders, we humbly announce that the TMT International Observatory Board has decided to move ahead to restart the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the morning of Wednesday, June 24. Our period of inactivity has made us a better organization in the long run. We are now comfortable that we can be better stewards and better neighbors during our temporary and limited use of this precious land, which will allow us to explore the heavens and broaden the boundaries of science in the interest of humanity.

“We look forward to a positive relationship with all Hawaiians, while we understand that the majority of Hawaii’s people are supporting the TMT project. We deeply respect and are mindful of those who have concerns, and yet, we hope they will permit us to proceed with this important task while reserving their right to peaceful protest.

“As done at any construction site, we plan to first investigate and assess any possible oil leakage and ensure we can provide proper maintenance of machines and equipment so they operate safely and correctly – in order to protect Maunakea and preserve the sensitive environment. We will then begin to repair and install fencing in the interest of public safety.

“As we proceed, TMT is open and willing to allow cultural practitioners in the area of the construction site to continue customary and traditional practices. Allowing this practice to continue to occur will require further dialogue and mutual agreement to work out the details in order to establish a cooperative and harmonious environment for all parties.

“In an effort to be sensitive to and observant of the Native Hawaiian host culture, we will deepen our knowledge of the cultural, ecological, and spiritual aspects of the mountain and continue to learn how to better respect and appreciate Maunakea’s important cultural areas.

“On behalf of TMT, I want to express our sincere appreciation to the people in Hawaii for their understanding and support.”

Five Injured in Three-Vehicle Crash on Hawaii Belt Road

Five people were injured—one critically—in a three-vehicle crash Friday (June 19) on the Hawaiʻi Belt Road (Highway 19) at Maulua Gulch along the Hāmākua Coast.

Malua GulchResponding to a 9:14 a.m. call, police learned that a 2003 Toyota pickup truck traveling south near the 23-mile marker crossed the centerline and sideswiped a 2008 Peterbuilt tractor-trailer traveling north. The tractor-trailer lost control and crossed the centerline, colliding with a 2003 Chevrolet four-door sedan traveling south.

All occupants of the three vehicles were taken to Hilo Medical Center.

The driver of the pickup truck, a 40-year-old Hilo woman, was treated and released for minor injuries.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, a 49-year-old Hilo man, and his passenger, an 11-year-old Hilo boy, were treated for their injuries and released.

The passenger in the sedan, a 24-year-old Laupāhoehoe woman, was treated for her injuries and released. The sedan’s driver, a 23-year-old Laupāhoehoe man, was transferred to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu in critical condition.

Traffic Enforcement Unit investigators have initiated a negligent injury case and are continuing the investigation. It is unknown at this time if speed, alcohol or drugs were factors in the crash.

Hawaiʻi Belt Highway was closed in both directions for more than two hours. Traffic was then allowed to take turns using one lane until the road was reopened to all traffic at approximately 3:40 p.m.

Police ask anyone who may have witnessed the crash to call Officer Clarence Acob at 961-2293.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Hawaii Bishop Does Funeral for Accused Predator in Hiding, Victims Respond

A Catholic bishop recently led a funeral for an accused predator priest who was hiding in another country.

We just learned that Fr. Anthony Bolger, a priest who is publicly accused of sexually abusing a child in Hawai’i, died months ago while in hiding in Tijuana, Mexico.

Fr. Anthony Bolger

Fr. Anthony Bolger

http://www.hawaiicatholicherald.com/2015/01/30/obituary-father-anthony-bolger-1943-2015/

Hawai’i Bishop Clarence Silva even presided over Bolger’s funeral.  http://www.hawaiicatholicherald.com/2015/02/10/memorial-mass-for-father-anthony-bolger/

We are upset by Silva’s recklessness, callousness, and secrecy.

Fr. Bolger joins a long list of credibly accused child-molesting clerics who have been allowed by their Catholic supervisors to live unsupervised in the Mexico border town among unsuspecting families and vulnerable children. As best we can tell, the local Tijuana community was not warned of the accusations against Bolger and that children were put in direct risk. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2013/05_06/2013_05_09_TheStarAdvertiser_CatholicChurch.htm

Bishop Silva has done little or nothing to reach out and comfort the brave men and women who have come forward to say that they were sexually abused by Hawaii’s clerics. Instead of doing even the smallest thing to comfort the wounded, he salutes and honors those who may have caused horrible damage. Not only does this defy the way of Aloha, but Silva’s irresponsible actions deter other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers from speaking up. He’s also essentially encouraging other Catholic officials to behave in similarly hurtful ways in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases.

Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA, SNAP Western Regional Director,

Man Goes Ballistic at WalMart and Smashes 12 TV’s

A 48-year-old man has been charged with a felony after a dozen televisions were smashed while customers shopped at a “big box” store in Kailua-Kona.

Alexander Springer

Alexander Springer

At 6:49 p.m. Monday (June 15), Kona Patrol officers responded to a report of a disturbance at a store on Henry Street. They arrived to find a suspect outside the store with another customer.

Witnesses reported that the suspect, Alexander Springer, had grabbed a bat from the store and used it to destroy 12 televisions. One of the store’s customers stopped him and took him outside while waiting for police to arrive. Damages were estimated at $4,081.

Police arrested Springer, who has no permanent address, and charged him with second-degree criminal property damage, a Class C felony. His bail was set at $2,000. He was held at the Kona police cellblock until his initial court appearance on Tuesday (June 16).

Decomposed Bodies Found on the Big Island

Big Island Police are investigating two bodies that were recently found on the Big Island in states of decomposition.HPDBadge

  1. At 8:37 a.m. Monday (June 15), South Hilo Patrol officers responded to a report of a body off the road leading to the Hilo airport.They found the body under a makeshift shelter in overgrowth about 80-100 feet south of Kekuanaoa Street and approximately a half-mile east of the intersection of Kekuanaoa Street and Kanoelehua Avenue. The body was in advanced stage of decomposition. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday to determine the sex and cause of death. Fingerprints, dental records or both will be used to establish identity. The case is classified as a coroner’s inquest. Police ask anyone who may have seen someone riding a white bicycle into the bush area in that vicinity during the latter part of May or early part of June to contact Detective Clarence Davies at 961-2384 or clarence.davies@hawaiicounty.gov
  2. At 11:10 a.m. Tuesday (June 16), officers responded to a report of an unattended truck off the 15-mile marker of Saddle Road. They found a body in an advanced stage of decomposition.  An autopsy is scheduled for Friday to determine the sex and cause of death. Dental records will be used to establish identity.  The case is classified as a coroner’s inquest.

Bullet Hole Found in Door of Telescope on Mauna Kea

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a report of damage to an observatory at the summit of Mauna Kea.

A bullet hole was reported in the door of the Subaru Telescope

A bullet hole was reported in the door of the Subaru Telescope

Officers responded to a report late Saturday night (June 6) of what appeared to be a “bullet hole” in a door at the Subaru Telescope at the Mauna Kea summit.

The damage reportedly occurred sometime between Friday evening and Saturday evening.

Police ask anyone with information about this incident to call Officer Nelson Cacho at 961-2213 or 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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

UPDATE:

Hawaiʻi Island police have determined that damage to an observatory at the summit of Mauna Kea was not a bullet hole.

A detective investigated the scene Monday (June 8) and determined that a hole in a door to the observatory was caused by a bolt from an adjacent wall and that it had been there for approximately six months.

The case that had been initiated for this incident will be closed as unfounded.

Courts Order Native Hawaiian Roll Commission to Release Enrollment List

In a victory for transparent government, a state court has ordered the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission to release its enrollment list. The suit was filed by Judicial Watch with the assistance of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii after an open records request for the Roll was repeatedly denied by the Commission.

Native Hawaiian Roll Commision

In a decision that emphasized the importance of open government, the Court rejected the Commission’s reasons for denying the request, requiring the Commission to produce the list and pay attorney’s fees in the case.

Said former Hawai`i Attorney General, Michael A. Lilly, who represented Judicial Watch in the case, “Today, in a victory for open government, Judicial Watch won a case seeking a roll of over 125,000 people allegedly registered with the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission.”

Keli’i Akina, President of the Grassroot Institute stated, “With the release of the Roll, it will now be possible to answer concerns over the tens of thousands of names that have been placed on the list without the express permission of individuals. The fact stands that the vast majority of Hawaiians have chosen not to support the efforts of OHA and the Native Hawaiian Roll to create a sovereign government. Their voices can now be heard. And, hopefully, OHA will stop wasting public money on its unconstitutional push for sovereignty and, instead, spend it on housing, education, employment, and health services for those in need.”

“The Commission was established by the State of Hawai`i to prepare a roll of native Hawaiians,” continued Michael Lilly. “After only a handful of Hawaiians had registered with the Commission, it artificially augmented its roll with three other lists held by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.  The Commission refused to produce the roll in response to a freedom of information request by Judicial Watch. In granting Judicial Watch’s request for the roll, the Hawai`i Circuit Court held that the roll was a public record and thus ordered its disclosure. The Court pointed out that Hawai`i’s open records law was intended to ensure that the formation and conduct of public policy be conducted as openly as possible. The Court will assess against the Commission the reasonable attorney fees and costs incurred by Judicial Watch in having to seek judicial relief.”

Big Island Police Looking for Missing Swimmer in Kona and Body Found in Umauma Stream

Hawaiʻi Island police have initiated a missing person case in connection with a swimmer last seen in waters off OTEC Beach.
HPDBadgeIn response an 11:49 a.m. call reporting a possible swimmer in distress, Kona Patrol Officers made contact with a a 26-year-old man, who reported that he had been swimming with an acquaintance, 26-year-old Richard Demby of Kailua-Kona, but couldn’t find him after he returned to shore.

Fire Department personnel are searching the shoreline by helicopter.

Demby is described as 5-foot-11, 175 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

Police ask anyone with information about his whereabouts 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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

And in another release today:

Hawaiʻi Island police have initiated a coroner’s inquest case in connection with a body found Monday (June 1) in Umauma Stream.

In response to an 11:28 a.m. call reporting a body in the stream, North Hilo District officers found the partially submerged body of a woman.

Fire Department personnel extricated the body from the stream.

Detectives are still at the scene and have not yet made positive identification.

An autopsy will be ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Hawaii Supreme Court Dismisses Challenge to Marriage Equality Act

The Hawaii Supreme Court dismissed a legal challenge raised by four individual plaintiffs to the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act of 2013. The 2013 law changed Hawaii’s statutes regarding marriage so that same-sex couples could marry.

Attorney GeneralThe Supreme Court held that the plaintiffs were not harmed or injured by the Marriage Equality Act and therefore did not have standing to challenge it. “The most important part of the Supreme Court’s ruling was its conclusion that the ‘legislature’s decision to extend the right to marry to same-sex couples did not, in any way, diminish the right to marry’ for the plaintiffs or anyone else,” said Attorney General Doug Chin, quoting the opinion.

“This is an exciting time for marriage equality in our country, as we await the United States Supreme Court’s ruling that will govern so many other States,” said Deputy Attorney General Deirdre Marie-Iha, who argued on behalf of the defendants. “We hope that the United States Supreme Court will recognize, as our Supreme Court did today, that those who oppose marriage equality are ‘harmed not at all when others are given the liberty to choose their own life partners and are shown the respect that comes with formal marriage.’

Plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in 2013. The current governor and state director of health’s names were substituted in as defendants after the change in administration.

Department of Transportation Settles Hawaii Drivers License Lawsuit

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) and Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE), a non-profit organization, jointly announce that the parties settled a lawsuit yesterday regarding the translation of driver’s examinations required for Hawaii residents to obtain a license.

Hawaii Drivers License Sample

FACE filed a lawsuit in federal court in September 2013, alleging HDOT discriminated against foreign-born residents of Hawai’i by not offering a translated exam for a period of more than five years after previously existing translations were removed from service when additional questions needed to be added to the exam.

Throughout the case, and even with the settlement, HDOT disputed that there was any discriminatory motive involved in decision-making about the translated exams. “HDOT and our employees have always been committed to serving all of Hawaiʻi’s residents regardless of who they are or where they are from,” said HDOT Director Ford Fuchigami. HDOT currently offers the examination in thirteen languages, making Hawaii the only U.S. State with fewer than two million people to offer the exam in more than ten languages and the only state to offer the exam in a native language, Hawaiian. “We are proud of our current language access program and are dedicated to a positive and proactive approach to language access and will continue to look at additional ways to ensure that those with limited English skills can safely drive on our roads.”

FACE is pleased with the outcome and the commitment to keeping translations in place over the long-term. “This resolution is an answer to our prayers,” said FACE organizer reverend Tasha Kama, a minister at Christian Ministry Church in Wailuku. “It takes all of our families-local and immigrant-to make Hawaii work. The more languages and cultures included in our policies, the stronger we are as a state. We appreciate the opportunity to work closely with the Hawaii DOT to further language access for all our people.”

“HDOT is committed to ensuring all drivers have the knowledge and skills to drive safely on Hawaii’s roads,” said Director Fuchigami.

United States District Court Judge Susan Oki Mollway approved the settlement.

Big Island Police Investigating Puna Murder

Hawaiʻi Island police have initiated a murder investigation in connection with an incident in Puna on Saturday morning involving a father and son.

At approximately 9:15 a.m. Saturday, police officers responded to a reported domestic incident at a home in the Fern Acres subdivision. They arrived to find medics treating an unconscious 47-year-old man. He was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he died a short time later.

Forrest Keesler

Forrest Keesler

The victim’s 18-year old son, Forrest Keesler of Mountain View, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder. He was taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation.

Police ask anyone with information about this case to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Jefferson Grantz at 961-8810 or jefferson.grantz@hawaiicounty.gov.

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 Lobster Season Closed Until End of August

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) reminds the public that the season for taking ula and ula papapa (spiny and slipper lobsters) and Kona crabs in state waters is closed this month through the end of August.

Spiny Lobster

Hawaii Administrative Rules prohibit the taking, killing, sale or offering for sale, or possession of any ula, also known as spiny lobster (Panulirus penicillatus, P. marginatus) and ula papapa or slipper lobster (Scyllarides squammosus, S. haanii) from state waters during the closed season, which started May 1. It is also illegal to take, possess, or sell Kona crab during May through August.

“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,” said Suzanne Case, DLNR chairperson.

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 procuring 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 as a result of the passage of Act 77 by the 2006 State Legislature.

Also during the open season, 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.