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East Hawaii Officer of the Month: Jared Cabatu

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized Officer Jared Cabatu on Thursday (May 26) as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for May.

Aloha Exchange Club member Joey Estrella presents an 'Officer of the Month' award to Officer Jared Cabatu.

Aloha Exchange Club member Joey Estrella presents an ‘Officer of the Month’ award to Officer Jared Cabatu.

Cabatu was honored for his outstanding accomplishment in patrol operations that led to the recovery of a stolen federal vehicle.

On April 26, three pickup trucks were stolen from the University of Hawaiʻi Institute of Astronomy. In the days that followed, Cabatu worked to solve the case and learned that a vehicle matching the description of the ones stolen had been seen in the upper Hilo area. Following that lead, he located the vehicle in the Waiākea Uka area and determined that its license plate had been stolen from another vehicle. When he attempted to contact the occupants, they fled.

Officer Cabatu immediately communicated information about the vehicle and the suspects to his fellow South Hilo Patrol officers, leading to the recovery of the vehicle and the arrest of two men and a woman. As a result, detectives assigned to the case were able to develop additional leads and information.

Cabatu was previously named “Officer of the Month” In March 2013 and October 2015. As “Officer of the Month,” he is 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.

Kona Drug Court Food Drive for Hawaii Island’s Food Bank

judiciaryThe Kona Drug Court has selected The Food Basket, Inc., “Hawai‘i Island’s Food Bank,” as the focus of its 2016 National Drug Court Month community service project, to give back to the charity that provides for Big Island residents in need, including children from low-income or homeless families, elderly, veterans, and many addicts in the early stages of recovery.

The Kona Drug Court asks the West Hawaii community to help support The Food Basket, Inc., by dropping off donations of non-perishable foods to Drug Court volunteers, who will be dressed in red t-shirts, in front of the KTA Super Store in Kailua-Kona.

For more information on Friday’s food drive please contact Grayson K. Hashida, Hawaii Island Drug Court Coordinator at (808) 443-2201.

  • WHAT: Kona Drug Court Food Drive for Hawaii Island’s Food Bank
  • WHO: The Kona Drug Court
  • WHEN: Friday May 27, 2016, from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • WHERE:    KTA Super Store Kailua-Kona, in the Kona Coast Shopping Center,  74-5594 Palani Road, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii


State Conservation Officers Seeking Person of Interest for Mauna Kea Road Obstruction

Anyone who may have witnessed or have knowledge of rocks being placed on the   Mauna Kea Access Road, late afternoon, on May 16, 2016, is asked to contact the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE). This happened at the 5.5 mile marker of the summit road, at the 12,500 foot level. The rocks created a potential safety hazard as they were placed in the downhill lane, in the middle of a sharp right hand corner.

Rocks

DOCARE officers interviewed workers on Mauna Kea, who reported seeing a man in the area just before and after rocks appeared on the road.

Photos taken by a Hale Pohaku Visitor Center security camera show a shirtless man carrying a plastic gallon container and walking uphill along the road. A telescope worker confirmed that this was the person they witnessed on the road at about the time the rocks were placed.

Rocks personHe is described as 5’5″ – 5’8”, with a slim build. He was seen wearing light-colored white to light gray-colored board shorts and slippers, with a black-colored backpack. He was carrying an opaque plastic container.

If anyone has information about this incident you are asked to contact DOCARE at 643-DLNR.

Hawaii Attorney General Charges Eight Sex Offenders with Violating Registration Requirements

Attorney General Doug Chin announced that the Department of the Attorney General has charged eight sex offenders with Failure to Comply with Covered Offender Registration Requirements in the last three months. Most recently the Department has charged Randy Maunakea, Justin Jumawan, Mose Tauaefa, and Thomas Carreira.

Maunakea was charged on May 5, 2016 with four counts of Failure to Comply with Covered Offender Registration Requirements. He was previously convicted of four counts of Sexual Assault in the Second Degree on May 5, 2003. Maunakea failed to personally appear before the chief of police within 30 days of his birthday in 2014, 2015 and 2016, as required by law. Additionally, Maunakea failed to report a change of his address within three working days of the change. A bench warrant in the amount of $10,000 in the aggregate was issued against Mr. Maunakea and is currently outstanding.

Tauaefa was charged on May 6, 2016 with two counts of Failure to Comply with Covered Offender Registration Requirements. He was previously convicted of seven counts of Sexual Assault in the Third Degree on October 6, 2000. He failed to report a change of his address within three working days of the change and additionally signed a statement verifying that his registration information was accurate and current when the registration information was not substantially accurate and current. A bench warrant in the amount of $10,000 in the aggregate was issued against Tauaefa and is currently outstanding.

Carreira was charged on May 13, 2016 with two counts of Failure to Comply with Covered Offender Registration Requirements. He was previously convicted of Sexual Assault in the Third Degree in 1994. He also has two convictions for Abuse of Family/Household Member two convictions for Burglary in the First Degree, and convictions for Theft in the Third Degree and Theft in the Fourth Degree. Additionally, he has ten arrests for Contempt of Court. Carreira had a pending felony case for Failure to Comply with Registration Requirements and was granted supervised release and required to reside at the Institute for Human Services (“IHS”) as a condition of his release. He left IHS without updating registration information and failed to report in person for his quarterly periodic verification during the first week of January, 2015. Defendant has since be re-incarcerated for violating the terms and conditions of his supervised release and awaiting sentencing.

Jumawan was charged on May 23, 2016 with two counts of Failure to Comply with Covered Offender Registration Requirements. He was previously convicted of Sexual Assault in the Second Degree and Sexual Assault in the Third Degree on October 31, 2007 and is still on probation. He moved from his registered address on February 19, 2016 without notifying the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center within three days of the change, as required by law. Because he has failed to comply with the terms and conditions of his probation, a $20,000 bench warrant has been issued for his arrest. He has not yet been served and his whereabouts are unknown at this time.

The other charged defendants are Steven Young (charged with two counts on March 21, 2016), Justin Gonda (charged with one count on April 1, 2016), Damon Hookano (charged with two counts on April 22, 2016), and Dean Barbadillo (charged with three counts on April 22, 2016). The charges against the eight defendants are brought under section 846E-9(a) of the Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS). A conviction for these charges is a class C felony that carries with it a sentence of up to 5 years imprisonment, pursuant to HRS section 706-660. The minimum term of imprisonment shall be set by the Hawaii Paroling Authority, pursuant to HRS section 706-669.

All eight defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are found guilty of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

Click to search for sex offenders.

Click to search for sex offenders.

Attorney General Chin reminds the public that they can view an online directory of Hawaii registered sex offenders and other covered offenders, and sign-up for email alerts through the Department’s award-winning “Hawaii Sex Offender Search” mobile app. Those without a mobile device can also view an online directory of Hawaii registered sex offenders and other covered offenders, and sign up for email alerts at http://sexoffenders.ehawaii.gov.

Hawaii Department of Health Issues Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses – Posts Merit-Based Scores for Licensees

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) began issuing licenses today for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries.

Medical MarijuanaThe eight selected licensees have completed the full payment of licensing fees and were given the option of picking up their license or having it delivered by certified mail.

Licensees were selected based on the scoring of 13 merit criteria. The total scores used in the selection of each licensee are provided below and will be posted today at health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuanadispensary/latest-updates-and-news/.

City & County of Honolulu Score
Aloha Green Holdings Inc. 475
Manoa Botanicals LLC 470
TCG Retro Market 1, LLC dba Cure Oahu 470
Hawaii County
Hawaiian Ethos LLC 480
Lau Ola LLC 471.5
Maui County
Maui Wellness Group, LLC 510
Pono Life Sciences Maui, LLC 470
Kauai County
Green Aloha, Ltd. 433

DOH is in the process of notifying in writing all unselected applicants of their total score and ranking for their respective group. After all unselected applicants confirm receipt of their written notification from the department, the total scores of all applicants will be posted on the medical marijuana dispensary website.

For more information and updates from the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program go to health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuanadispensary/ and select “News & Updates.” Questions about the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Programs may be emailed to medmarijuana.dispensary@doh.hawaii.gov.

Police Arrest 15-Year-Old After Threatening Notes Found at Waiakea High School

Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested a 15-year-old boy in connection with threatening notes left at Waiākea High School in Hilo.

Multiple notes threatening violence were left on bathroom walls sometime between 3:30 p.m. Wednesday and 11 a.m. Thursday.
School Note
At 9 a.m. Friday, police arrested the suspect at the school. Because he is a minor, no additional details are available about his identity.

He is being held at the South Hilo police station while detectives from the Area I Juvenile Aid Section continue the investigation.

Hawaii Police Department Announces Promotions

HPDBadgeChief Harry S. Kubojiri has promoted the following seven sworn officers to the following positions:

Scott J. Kurashige, hired in 1990, was promoted from Area II Juvenile Aid Section detective to lieutenant assigned to Kona Patrol, effective April 1.

Jenny K. L. Lee, hired in 2004, was promoted from South Hilo Patrol officer to sergeant assigned to the Kaʻū District, effective May 16.

William C. Brown, hired in 2003, was promoted from South Hilo Patrol officer to detective assigned to the Area II Criminal Investigations Section, effective May 16.

Officer Nelson M. Acob, hired in 1999, was promoted from Hāmākua Patrol officer to sergeant assigned to the Communications/Dispatch Section, effective May 16.

Kalaʻe R. Lee, hired in 2004, was promoted from Area II Vice officer to sergeant assigned to the Kaʻū District, effective May 16.

Richard A. Itliong, hired in 2002, was promoted from South Hilo Community Policing officer to detective assigned to the Area II Juvenile Aid Section, effective May 16.

Gavin K. Kagimoto, hired in 2004, was promoted from South Hilo Community Policing officer to detective assigned to the Area II Juvenile Aid Section, effective May 16.

Hawaii Files First Lawsuit Against Takata & Honda Relating to Faulty Airbags

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affair’s Office of Consumer Protection, on behalf of the State of Hawai’i, today filed a lawsuit against Takata Corporation, TK Holdings, Inc., Honda Motor Co., American Honda Motor Co, and Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc. for making, supplying, and using airbags they knew to be unsafe.  Hawai’i is the first state to file a lawsuit against these companies for their roles in causing millions of cars to be sold with airbags that could explode, posing grave, sometimes fatal, dangers to the cars’ occupants.

Click to view complaint

Click to view complaint

Hawai’i asserts claims under the State’s consumer protection laws for unfair and deceptive conduct.  The complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, including a meaningful campaign to educate drivers about the need to seek repairs, restitution for car buyers, disgorgement of the companies’ profits from these airbags, and the maximum civil penalties allowed by law of $10,000 per violation.

The State’s complaint alleges that Takata made the decision to switch to cheaper ammonium nitrate to inflate its airbags despite the known risks of ammonium nitrate, a chemical principally used to propel rockets and for mining and demolition.  Though Takata’s own testing showed that the ammonium nitrate propellant was unpredictable and prone to explode, Takata sold its airbags to automakers knowing they would be installed in vehicles and sold to consumers.  The complaint quotes one former Takata engineer, who has testified that, prior to the launch of the new inflators, he warned a manager that ‘if we go forward with [ammonium nitrate], someone will be killed.”  As the complaint lays out, a dozen individuals have been killed when Takata airbags exploded in their cars, sending shrapnel through the vehicle, and more than one hundred have been injured.

The complaint also asserts that Takata hid its findings and doctored its data to hide the dangers of its airbags.  According to publicly available documents and the State’s complaint, even when Honda became aware of the problems, it continued to sell cars equipped with Takata airbags and inadequately pursued recalls—saving money while subjecting consumers to an ongoing risk of serious injury and death.

Hawai’i is one of four states that was the original focus of efforts to recall vehicles with Takata airbags because of the greater risks posed in areas with high humidity and high temperatures.  Roughly 70,000 vehicles with Takata airbags have been sold to Hawaii consumers.  Nationally, according to data reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, only one-third to half of these airbags have been repaired or replaced.

“Companies that supply and market goods to Hawai’i consumers are obligated to deliver products that are safe and to provide consumers with full, accurate, and timely information when dangers become known.  According to the facts alleged in the complaint, Takata and Honda put their own profits and reputations ahead of honesty and their customers’ safety.  We intend to hold them accountable for their conduct,” said Stephen Levins, Executive Director of the State Office of Consumer Protection.

The complaint asserts two causes of action against the Takata and Honda companies, but also names anonymous “Doe Defendants.”  The State will consider adding corporate or individual defendants based upon the evidence revealed during the litigation.

Consumers are strongly encouraged to visit http://www.safercar.gov/rs/takata/ or to contact their car dealer to determine whether their car is subject to a recall, to request required repairs, and to seek a replacement vehicle from the dealer until their airbag can be replaced or repaired.

The State of Hawai’i is also being assisted in this action by the Honolulu law firm of Cronin Fried Sekiya Kekina & Fairbanks and the Washington, DC office of the law firm of Cohen Milstein.

Hawai’i’s complaint is attached and available at http://cca.hawaii.gov/ocp/files/2016/05/State-of-Hawaii-v.-Takata-Corporation-Complaint.pdf.

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding the recall is available at http://cca.hawaii.gov/ocp/takata-recall-faqs/.

Hawaii Ranks Third in Nationwide Access to Justice Study

The Justice Index 2016 Findings, just released by the National Center for Access to Justice, ranks Hawaii among the top three states in the country for practices aimed at making access to justice a reality for all people.  The report measures the accessibility of each state’s justice system in four categories:  attorney access for low-income litigants; support for self-represented litigants; support for litigants with limited language proficiency; and support for people with disabilities.
Judiciary“We are very pleased that we are being recognized for providing Hawaii’s residents with some of the highest levels of service in the country,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald.  “The Justice Index Report not only helps educate the public about the challenges and unmet need for legal assistance that exists in our legal system nationwide, but also raises awareness of the many resources available.  Increasing access to justice requires a collaborative effort.  We are so grateful to all those who are committed and dedicated to making 100% access a reality for all.”

Hawaii was number one in the country for providing support for people with limited English proficiency (LEP).  The State Judiciary’s Office on Equality and Access to the Courts (OEAC) has improved and increased the services available to Hawaii’s growing LEP population.  The Judiciary annually provides interpreting services for LEP clients in as many as 45 different languages.  OEAC also conducts statewide mandatory staff training on language access services for all Judiciary staff, so that the Judiciary can uphold the highest standard of service.

“Language access has always been a priority for us.  These findings are the result of the commitment of our OEAC team and the 382 interpreters who are part of the Judiciary’s Court Interpreter Certification Program,” explained Rodney Maile, Administrative Director of the Hawaii State Judiciary.  “We are continuing to find ways to improve language access, and are currently working on translating court forms from English into the 12 to 14 languages most frequently encountered in our state courts.”

Hawaii ranked in the top five for providing support to self-represented litigants.  The Hawaii State Judiciary together with the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission and various community partners opened Self-Help Centers in every circuit in the state, where parties who cannot afford an attorney for their civil legal cases can get information from volunteer attorneys.  The Judiciary has worked with the Bar organizations on each island to increase the hours of operation and number of volunteers available to assist individuals who cannot afford an attorney.  Since the first Self-Help Center opened in 2011, volunteer attorneys and AmeriCorps Advocates have assisted more than 12,000 people, at almost no cost to the public.

The Hawaii State Judiciary also partnered with the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii and the Hawaii State Bar Association to make self-help interactive court forms available online.  Twenty-three of the most frequently used civil legal forms are now available online, accompanied by state-of-the-art software.  This software takes users through a step-by-step question and answer process to help complete the forms easily and correctly.  For those who do not own a personal computer or have Internet access, the Hawaii State Public Library System provides access to these “A2J” (Access to Justice) self-help forms at locations statewide.

Hawaii rankedtop seven in providing support for people with disabilities.  The Hawaii State Judiciary is recognized for providing website information on how to request an accommodation, using only certified sign language interpreters in court, and providing information on how to file a complaint for anyone who has difficulty accessing court facilities or services because of a disability.

Accommodations covered by the courts may include, but are not limited to, modifications to schedules to assist those with disabilities, the cost of providing sign language interpreters or computer assisted real-time transcription for persons who are Deaf or have a hearing impairment.

Chief Justice Recktenwald thanked Access to Justice Commission Chair, Justice Simeon R. Acoba, and his predecessor, Judge Daniel R. Foley, for their leadership on the Commission.  He went on to say, “None of this would be possible without the leadership and hard work of the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission as well as our partnerships with the Hawaii State Bar Association, county bar associations, William S. Richardson School of Law, Hawaii Justice Foundation, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii, AmeriCorps, and other legal service providers.  I would especially like to acknowledge the work of hundreds of attorneys who have volunteered their time and talents to help those with the greatest need of legal support.”

Big Island Police Week Festivities May 15th to 21st

Police Week festivities on Hawaiʻi Island will be held next week (May 15-21).

HPDBadgePolice Week is a nationally recognized week of activities in support of police work and in recognition of officers who have died or been disabled in the line of duty. In 1962 President John F. Kennedy proclaimed every May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week it falls in as National Police Week. In Hawaiʻi County, Police Week activities this year are scheduled from Monday, May 16, to Friday, May 20.

The public is invited to attend formal Police Week ceremonies on Monday, May 16th, 10:00 a.m., at the Hilo police station and Tuesday, May 17th, 10:00 a.m. at the Kona police station. Both ceremonies include pre-ceremony entertainment and a tribute to Hawaiʻi County police officers who gave their lives in the line of duty.

Police will pay tribute to Officer Manuel Cadinha, who gave his life in 1918, Officer William “Red” Oili, who gave his life in 1936, Officer Ronald “Shige” Jitchaku, who gave his life in 1990 and Officer Kenneth Keliipio, who gave his life in 1997.

During this year’s Hilo event, there will be a dedication ceremony for the new Police Memorial, “Ka Malu Aloha”, which has been erected adjacent to the East Hawaii Detention Facility. The wall will stand forever, in remembrance of these fallen heroes, who gave the ultimate sacrifice while protecting and serving the residents of the County of Hawaii.

Also during Police Week, station tours for all districts will be offered to the public. Station tours at the Hilo Police station will be on Tuesday, May 17th, with tours being held at 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Call Officer Jason Grouns at 961-3066 to schedule an appointment.

Senator Schatz Meets With Supreme Court Nominee Merrick Garland

Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) met with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, chief judge of the D.C. Circuit Court. The two met in Senator Schatz’s office on Capitol Hill to discuss the nominating process, his record and judicial philosophy.

Meeting Follows Garland’s Submission Of Senate Judiciary Questionnaire, An Essential Part Of The Confirmation Process For All Federal Judicial Nominees

Meeting Follows Garland’s Submission Of Senate Judiciary Questionnaire, An Essential Part Of The Confirmation Process For All Federal Judicial Nominees

“Chief Judge Garland and I had a productive discussion about his record and approach to the law, and it is clear to me that he is a well-qualified candidate for the Supreme Court. While I was glad to hear from him personally, the American people deserve to hear from him too,” said Senator Schatz. “We also now have Chief Judge Garland’s completed Senate Judiciary Questionnaire which I will be carefully reviewing. These documents hold key information on his judicial philosophy, opinions, and experience. Every member of the Senate should read it. Now that we have these documents, it’s time for Senate Republicans to do their job, take the next step in the process, and give Chief Judge Garland a fair and timely hearing and vote.”

Earlier today, Chief Judge Garland officially submitted his Senate Judiciary Questionnaire, as all previous nominees to the Supreme Court have done. The completed questionnaire is 141 pages long and includes 2,066 pages of appendices. It includes key information on Chief Judge Garland’s employment, honors and awards, published writings, litigated cases, judicial opinions, speeches, and interviews.

The standard Senate Judiciary Questionnaire is an essential part of the confirmation process for all federal judicial nominees. It is typically used by all senators to evaluate the nominee’s qualifications and then used as the basis for developing questions at the nominee’s confirmation hearing.

Judge Riki May Amano Affirmed as TMT Contested Case Officer

All seven members of the Hawai‘i Board of Land and Natural Resources (Board), in a decision released today, directed retired Hawai‘i island Judge Riki May Amano to proceed as the contested case hearing officer for the Conservation Use District Application (CDUA) for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) at the Mauna Kea Science Reserve.

TMT laser

In response to objections raised by certain parties (“Petitioners”) to Judge Amano’s selection as the TMT hearing officer due to her family membership in the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center (“‘Imiloa”) operated by the University of Hawaii-Hilo, the Board stated: “A ‘family membership’ does not confer any right to participate in ‘Imiloa’s governance or decision making, in contrast to organizations where members may vote for a board of directors or other officers,” and the membership simply allows her and her family to “view exhibits and displays at a museum that focuses on astronomy, Mauna Kea, and Hawaiian culture.”

In written disclosures to the Board last month, Judge Amano stated that she and her husband paid $85 per year since 2008 to maintain an ‘Imiloa family membership, which allows free admission to the astronomy center and discounts at the center restaurant and gift shop. Judge Amano further declared that her family membership expires on May 24, 2016 and will not be renewed.

The Board stated, “No reasonable person would infer that the possibility of this ‘benefit’ (‘Imiloa family membership) would override the hearing officer’s duty to make an impartial recommendation to the Board.”  The Hawai’i Revised Code of Judicial Conduct directly addresses the issue of how to treat Judge Amano’s membership if ‘Imiloa is assumed to be a party to the contested case. “The rule provides that a judge shall disqualify herself if the judge or her specific listed relative are a party to the proceeding, or an officer, director, general partner, managing member of trustee of a party.  While this list is not exhaustive, what is significant to the BLNR is that all of these grounds involve some kind of fiduciary or managerial relationship between the judge (or the judge’s relative) and the party.  Such relationships do not remotely resemble the ‘family membership’ at issue here,” said the Board in its decision.

The Board carefully deliberated as to Judge Amano’s statement that she initially saw no connection between ‘Imiloa and the TMT application, and her statement that she did not know that ‘Imiloa was part of UH-Hilo. The Board accepted Judge Amano’s explanation and added, “The Board would certainly encourage hearing officers to disclose a broad range of known relationships…but it will not disqualify Judge Amano for not disclosing her ‘Imiloa family membership, which even in connection with facts she did not know, is not something that a reasonable person would consider likely to affect the impartiality of the arbitrator. The Board finds that under the applicable legal standards, a reasonable person knowing all the facts would not doubt the impartiality of Judge Amano.”

The Board also found that the public notice soliciting attorneys to apply to serve as the TMT contested case hearing officer was properly published on January 29, 2016. Additionally the Board ruled that its decision to delegate the selection of the hearing officer to the Board Chairperson did not need to be made in an open meeting pursuant to chapter 92 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes (the “Sunshine Law”).  Citing legal decisions, the Board found that the Sunshine Law did not apply to boards exercising adjudicatory functions, such as conducting a contested case hearing. Further, the Petitioners’ claim that they should have received prior notice of the selection process was not required because, “The Board’s decision to delegate authority to a hearing officer and the selection of a hearing officer are properly adjudicatory functions.”

On December 2, 2015, the Hawaii Supreme Court remanded the TMT permit application to the circuit court to further remand to the Board for a contested case hearing.  On February 22, 2016, circuit judge Greg K. Nakamura remanded the matter to the Board.  Four days later on February 26, the Board met to restart the contested process.  A public solicitation for a hearing officer occurred, a three member committee evaluated applications, and the hearing officer was announced on March 31.  Three supplemental disclosures were filed by Judge Amano in April, followed by more opportunities for the Petitioners to respond. The Board gave all parties until May 2 to raise legal arguments for or against the selection process and selection of the hearing officer.

Today’s sixteen-page decision denies the Petitioners’ objections and directs Judge Amano to begin the contested case process.

Hawaii Police Community Satisfaction Survey Results

Chief Harry Kubojiri wishes to thank the 583 members of the public who participated in the Hawai’i Police Department’s 2016 Community Satisfaction Survey during the month of March.

As in previous surveys, Chief Kubojiri said the survey was a tool to assist him in:

  • identifying problem areas the community is experiencing with the Police Department
  • determining if he can rectify those issues through specific training of Police Department personnel
  • making changes to policies and procedures if necessary
  • clarifying misinformation about laws and/or police practices

“Your feedback has been invaluable in providing input into the impressions of the community and visitors to our island,” Kurojiri said. “Your input is one of the many tools we use in our continuing efforts to improve how we provide services to the public.”

The survey results can be viewed here.

Click to see all the results of the survey

Click to see all the results of the survey

The chief encourages the public to continue to provide feedback throughout the year by using the “Feedback” link on the Police Department’s website.

Hawaii State Senate Adjourns 2016 Regular Session

The Hawai‘i State Senate adjourned the 2016 regular session with a sense of accomplishment in passing a fiscally responsible budget, addressing priority needs for the state, and tackling a number of challenging issues as highlighted in the Hawai‘i Senate Majority Legislative Program at the start of the 2016 Session.

Capital

Over the course of this legislative session, Senators, along with their House counterparts, approved substantial funding to install air conditioning for our public schools, provided an unprecedented appropriation for homeless programs statewide, delivered additional support to meet the housing needs for Hawai‘i’s families, and improved health care services.

In his closing remarks, Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi (Dist. 8 -Kaua’i, Ni’ihau) reflected upon the trials the body faced this session with the passing of Sen. Gilbert Kahele, as well as the health challenges faced by Senators Breene Harimoto and Sam Slom.  He praised the courage of Senators Harimoto and Slom, and complimented the Senate staff for working hard under trying circumstances to get the work of the people done.

“In the face of difficulty, I congratulate each and every one of you for continuing to focus on the important work of the Legislature,” said Kouchi. “Through collaboration and cooperation, we are able to present not only a fiscally responsible budget, but also sound policy of which the citizens of Hawai‘i will see benefits.”

In alignment with the Hawai‘i Senate Majority Legislative Program theme of providing for our families (Mālama ‘Ohana), a $12 million lump sum appropriation for homeless programs is a recognition of this statewide concern and represents a significant opportunity to change the way to approach the homeless problem.  In understanding the holistic need to address this crisis, $160 million in funds for improvements at the Hawai‘i State Hospital, along with $3 million in general funds for the Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority and $75 million allocated toward the rental Housing Assistance Revolving Fund and Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund will support efforts to approach the homeless issue from a variety of angles.

In an investment in our children, lawmakers took a bold step and increased Preschool Open Doors base funding to $10 million, which will help struggling families with real opportunities for school readiness. Lawmakers also found a fiscally creative solution to fund a $100 million emergency appropriation for air conditioning and heat abatement measures that will help move forward the Department of Education program to cool schools.

In terms of nurturing our earth, (Mālama Honua) lawmakers provided substantial resources to study in-stream flow standards and assess water availability, a number of bills along with $1.6 million in general funds for various water infrastructure support statewide and more than $4.7 million in general funds was provided in bills for conservation efforts and the fight against invasive species.  More than $4.8 in general funds in various measures provide a solid foundation to reinforce agriculture as an industry moving forward.

By focusing on growing jobs and our economy, appropriations and measures to provide $4 million in grants and allocating funds to strengthen our infrastructure and position in the Pacific through the Hawai‘i Broadband Initiative, along with $1 million in general funds to budget for HI-Growth and $100,000 in matching general funds for the state’s Creative Labs program, fall in line with sustaining our communities (Mālama Kaiāulu).

Lawmakers passed measures that reflected good governance (Mālama Aupuni) by making steps toward taking care of our debts and obligations by approving $150 million for the Rainy Day Fund and $81.9 million to pay down unfunded liabilities.

“This puts us on a more solid financial footing going forward, knowing that if and when times get tough, paying less always helps,” said Sen. Jill Tokuda (Dist.24 – Kane‘ohe, Kane‘ohe MCAB, Kailua, He‘eia, ‘Ahuimanu), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

Lawmakers also provided $1.15 billion in general obligation bonds and $2.5 billion for projects funded by all other means of financing for capital improvement projects that will play a vital role in rebuilding our economy and strengthening our social infrastructure.

On the contentious issues this session, such as water rights and transient accommodations tax collection, the Senate displayed its ability to participate in healthy debate, yet continue to collaborate while keeping the best interests of the people of Hawai‘i in mind.

“One of the strengths of the Senate is our ability to have differing opinions, yet recognize when to put those sentiments aside to get to work and come up with solutions,” said Senate Majority Leader, Sen. J. Kalani English (Dist. 7 – Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe). “The measures we passed this session achieved our goal of improving the quality of life for our keiki, kūpuna, and nā ‘ohana who are most in need and we will continue to work to ensure what we’ve put in place this session will continue to move our state forward.”

The Hawai‘i Senate Majority 2016 Legislative Program can be viewed on the website: www.hawaiisenatemajority.com

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.