Video Proof of Compliance Checks Happening in Puna – Officer Lied in Today’s Paper

In today’s Hawaii Tribune article entitled “Puna Residents Sue to Get Pot Back” Police Capt. Robert Wagner is quoted as saying that the police here on the Big Island don’t do compliance checks.

Compliance Check

The bold statement is a lie!

…Both Snow and Ruggles said no arrests or police reports were made and no receipts were given for the plants. A check by the Tribune-Herald of the police’s June 14, 2012 incident bulletin contained no mention of either alleged incident.

Ruggles’ suit also asks for a court order “directing the Hawaii County Police Department to cease the activity known as ‘compliance checks.’”

“We don’t do compliance checks; I’ve never heard of a compliance check,” said Capt. Robert Wagner, commander of Hilo Criminal Investigation Division, which includes the vice section. He said the state Narcotics Enforcement Division is in charge of medical marijuana compliance and enforcement.

“We don’t even have a record of who has medical marijuana cards and who does not,” he said. He said if police serve warrants on suspected marijuana growers or dealers, they check first with NED to see if any medical marijuana licenses are assigned to the property.

Wagner confirmed there were marijuana eradication sweeps conducted by NED in Puna on June 14, 2012, and plants were confiscated in Fern Acres…

Here is a video of an August 14, 2013 raid on Mr. Ruggles Fern Acres Property doing a compliance check:

As you can see in the video… it appears that in the back of the truck they have a few plants of their own from another raid that happened (2:08 mark in the video above)

Big Island Man Files Writ of Habeas Corpus on Behalf of Rev. Roger Christie

A member of the The Hawaii Cannabis (THC) Ministry in Hilo has filed a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of his pastor, Rev. Roger Christie, who has been held by the federal government as a pre-trial detainee for over 3 years.

Roger Christie

Roger Christie in front of the former THC Ministry

Mike Ruggles, 56, a resident of Mountain View on the Big Island, filed the petition with the United States District Court in Honolulu on July 23, 2013.

Rev. Christie was arrested by federal authorities on July 8, 2010, charged with distributing marijuana to members of his congregation.He has been held without bail at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center for over 36 months.

“Roger was a pillar of the community and he is sorely missed at this time,” said Ruggles. “Since Roger has been gone, meth use and violent crime has gotten worse, not better. Roger’s influence on the community was more effective than 50 cops on the street.”

Christie founded his Cannabis Ministry in the early 2000s. The Ministry operated openly on the second floor of the historic Moses building in downtown Hilo, right across from Hilo Bay.

Federal authorities conducted an extensive investigation of the Ministry beginning in 2008.

Rev. Christie will argue for his right to base his defense on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act at a hearing scheduled for July 29th at 10:30 a.m. and July 30 at 10:00 a.m. in the Honolulu Federal Building Courtroom of U.S. District Judge Kobayashi.

“Our country was founded on religious freedom,” said Ruggles. “The government wants to shut down his religion. Whose religion is next?”

 

Medicinal Marijuana Lawsuit Only Includes 9 People

So finally the local newspaper(s) picked up on the story that the county of Hawaii was being sued by a medicinal marijuana user that I initially confirmed by the mayors office almost 2 weeks ago.

Of course… our newspaper has an apparent fact wrong:

…Michael Ruggles, 53, has filed a civil lawsuit against the county, seeking $4.5 million for “monetary damages and personal duress.” His lawsuit names 10 county officials, but Ruggles lays special blame at the feet of former vice officer John Weber…

From the paperwork I saw… it’s only 9 people total.

This makes sense to me as each county employee is insured up to $500,000.

Nine employees times $500,000 equals $4.5 Million if my numbers are correct.

Some folks have said… geez, why sue the county when the county is broke?  Well, each county employee is insured for acts that are covered by their lack of county protocol for up to $500,000.

Sounds to me like there was a lack of protocol and Mr. Ruggles is allowed his day in court to prove that.

I have known Mike on and off for the last decade or so as we were both elected as Student Governor Senators for HawCC and he is one of the most honest guys I know.

I know he has arthritis and gout, I know, that he has a card for smoking dope, and I also think I know him well enough to know that he wouldn’t do something stupid to put his life in jeopardy.

I truly think that Mr. Ruggles has every right to sue the county for what he is suing them for.

If our police can’t abide by the rules and protect law abiding citizens… who should we turn to?

Mayor Kenoi’s Office Confirms $4.5 Million Dollar Lawsuit

I mentioned the other day that there was a pending lawsuit against the county,  last night I asked Mayor Kenoi’s office about the pending lawsuit and this is what Public Information Specialist Hunter Bishop’s response was:

Damon,

We received a copy of a First Amended Complaint that was filed with the Court. We have turned the matter over to the Office of Corporation Counsel, which handles all legal matters for the County. We expect that they will respond appropriately in Court.

Hunter Bishop

I see in today’s paper… it expands a bit more on this:

“..To answer your question, unfortunately, there is an attorney who is working on your side, and I have just been served, so I can’t comment on anything,” Kubojiri said, an apparent reference to a lawsuit against the police, the county, Kubojiri, Mahuna, Mayor Billy Kenoi and others filed by Michael Ruggles, who was present at the meeting…”