DOCARE Seeking Information on Wildlife Incident

The DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) is seeking information on a wildlife incident on an East O‘ahu beach Friday morning May, 29, 2020.

DOCARE is seeking help in identifying the woman in the attached photo. Two dogs may be involved.

Anyone with information pertinent to this ongoing investigation is urged to contact the O‘ahu DOCARE  branch at (808) 587-0077 and reference case number 20-0878-OA. People can also provide anonymous information via the DLNRTip app. 

Department of Public Safety Inmate Population Report

There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the prisons or jails. 

PSD Population Report

From March 2 to May 29 there has been a substantial reduction in the jail population across the state. These reductions are due to the huge, up-front diversion efforts made by county police departments, PSD’s Intake Services Center Division and the State Judiciary.

More recent, additional reductions are due to the collaborative efforts of the state public defender’s office, county prosecutors, the Hawai‘i Supreme Court and the Supreme Court appointed Special Master, Judge Dan Foley. As the focus has shifted to the sentenced prison population, reports now include the prisons.

Note: The jail population decreases reflected for the time period in the graph above are inclusive of all reasons for release ordered by the courts. The prison population decreases reflected for the time period in the graph above include a combination of normal releases for time served, cases reviewed for parole approval in the normal course of business by the Hawaii Paroling Authority (HPA), and cases reviewed by HPA earlier than normal in consideration of the pandemic situation.

Inmate Testing 

The latest Inmate Testing Report is at: PSD COVID-19 information and resources webpage.

DOH Cites Unlicensed Adult Residential Care Homes & Home Care Agency

During this unprecedented time, the Hawai‘i Department of Health’s Office of Health Care Assurance (OHCA) has continued conducting investigations of unlicensed adult residential care homes (ARCHs) and other care services to ensure the health and safety of seniors.

OHCA has issued two Notices of Violation and Order (NOVOs) for two illegal ARCHs located at 45-1117 Cobb Adams Road in Kāneohe, Hawai‘i, and for an unlicensed home care agency. April M. Mabe, RN, of Cobb-Adams LLC; Dwayne N. Nasu of 565 Halekauwila Street, LLC; Ken Arima; and Linda Fong Arima (aka Linda Sau Khing Fong) have been ordered to immediately cease and desist operations of the unlicensed care homes and home care agency and to pay administrative penalty fees totaling $379,100. The individuals and companies have 20 days to request a hearing to contest the notice and order.

“The safety and wellbeing of our kupuna is our highest priority,” said Keith Ridley, OHCA chief. “If anyone suspects unusual or illegal activity or is uncertain whether a facility is licensed, please reach out to us and report it. We are here to help ensure that our seniors are receiving quality care at licensed facilities and agencies throughout the state.” 

Based on an unannounced visit and investigation conducted in response to complaints, OHCA determined that a complex network of companies and individuals consisting of Cobb-Adams LLC; 565 Halekauwila Street, LLC; April M. Mabe, RN; Dwayne N. Nasu; Ken Arima and Linda Fong Arima (aka Linda Sau Khing Fong); have been illegally operating two ARCHs or Expanded ARCHs (E-ARCHs). It was also determined that the Residence at Cobb Adams LLC (aka Cobb Adams Home Care Services), operated by April M. Mabe, RN, has been illegally operating as an unlicensed home care agency by providing services to residents living at the two unlicensed care homes.

In addition to requiring the individuals and companies to cease operations, they have been ordered to:

  1. Safely transfer the residents from the unlicensed care homes to a licensed adult residential care home or expanded adult residential care home within seven days; 
  2. Notify OHCA in writing within one calendar day after the residents have been safely transferred to a licensed or certified facility and provide the name and address of the licensed or certified facility; 
  3. Pay a fine to the Hawai‘i Department of Health totaling $344,000 for professional services of an unlicensed home care agency (HCA) conducted at an unlicensed adult residential care home (ARCH). This is based on $1,000 for each day of unlicensed operation times 344 days as calculated from the initial date of services provided to each resident at the unlicensed ARCH to the date of the NOVO, inclusive (June 14, 2019 to May 22, 2020);
  4. Pay a fine totaling $35,100 for the unlicensed care home based on a first violation of $100 for each day of unlicensed operations times 351 days as calculated from the date of admission into the unlicensed facility to the date of transfer of all residents, inclusive (June 14, 2019 to May 29, 2020). The transfer date is seven calendar days from the NOVO receipt date. 
  5. Disclose to the Hawai‘i Department of Health whether or not there are any other care home, home care agency, or any health care related entities or services owned or operated by COBB-ADAMS LLC, 565 HALEKAUWILA STREET, LLC, Residence at Cobb Adams LLC (aka Cobb Adams Home Care Services), April M. Mabe, RN, Dwayne N. Nasu, Ken Arima, or Linda Fong Arima (aka Linda Sau Khing Fong), or any other entity, agency, or organization owned, managed, or operated by these same entities or individuals in the same manner as 45-1117 Cobb Adams Road, Kāneohe, Hawai’i 96744 or other unlicensed care homes, home care agencies, or any health care related entities or services.

An ARCH and E-ARCH are defined as any facility that provides 24-hour living accommodations for a fee to adults who require at least minimal assistance in activities of daily living, personal care services, protection, and health care services. These adults do not need the professional health services provided in an intermediate, skilled nursing, or acute care facility, and are unrelated to the family that operates the ARCH or E-ARCH. 

A Home Care Agency (HCA) is defined as a public or proprietary agency, a private, nonprofit organization, or a subdivision of an agency or organization, engaged in providing personal care services or homemaker services to clients in the client’s temporary or permanent place of residence. An HCA does not include organizations that provide only housecleaning services, nor does it apply to an individual, including an individual who is incorporated as a business, or is an unpaid or stipended volunteer. 

The NOVO does not preclude or limit actions by any other public agency or private party. Whenever OHCA surveyors identify potential abuse or neglect, these incidents are immediately reported to Adult Protective Services (APS) for a thorough investigation. APS is part of the Adult Protective and Community Services Branch of the Hawai‘i Department of Human Services. 

State Monitoring for Fraudulent Unemployment Claims

The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) announced today that it is warning consumers about attempts made by criminals to file imposter claims in order to receive unemployment benefits. Multiple states have been victimized by fraudulent claims filed in recent weeks as part of a nationwide scam organized by a cybercrime gang that is believed to have obtained personal information through previous nationwide data breaches. The U.S. Secret Service issued a national alert about this international crime ring committing fraud against state unemployment programs on May 14, 2020.

Unemployment Website

“The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations takes its responsibility to prevent fraud in the unemployment insurance program very seriously,” said Scott Murakami, DLIR Director. “We are working with our federal, state and local partners to investigate and prevent fraud, while paying benefits to claimants as quickly as possible.”

The department was alerted that potentially fake claims may be filed using previously stolen or fraudulent personal information, however, no personal information from claimants have been stolen from the department. The department uses program integrity measures to prevent and identify fraud and is currently coordinating with the Hawaii Bankers Association to identify suspicious accounts.

“Hawaii residents who suspect an imposter claim has been filed in their name should contact the Unemployment Insurance Division at (808) 586-8947,” said Neal K. Okabayashi, Hawaii Bankers Association Executive Director. “It is unfortunate that criminals are capitalizing on the current COVID-19 emergency to file fraudulent unemployment claims using stolen identify information.”

Employers can assist the department by electronically filing wage data and Electronic Lower Earnings Reports through the unemployment insurance web application at www.uiclaims.hawaii.gov. The web application is secure, free, and easy to use, for more information please visit https://labor.hawaii.gov/ui/main/new-employer-website/.

HPD Cites 5 for ‘Prohibited Acts’ From May 20-26

Hawaiʻi Police Department has continued enforcement of this and previous orders when appropriate, primarily in cases of non-compliance after verbal warnings or when in conjunction with unrelated calls for service. 

During the ninth week spanning (May 20-26, 2020), specific to the offense of “Prohibited Acts” (Emergency Management), Hawaiʻi Police Department officers arrested two persons, and cited three persons, (total of 5 violations), broken down by district as follows:

  • Puna District:  1 person arrested, 1 person cited
  • Kona District: 1 person arrested
  • South Kohala District:  1 person cited
  • Kaʻū District: 1 person cited

None of the past week’s statistics involved visitors violating the 14-day travel self-quarantine.

During this past week:  Other unrelated criminal offenses, which prompted the police response and subsequent arrest of the suspects, involved Unauthorized Control of Propelled Vehicle (UCPV) and an outstanding Bench Warrant. Some of the behavior exhibited by violators to whom citations were issued consisted of disregarding repeated warning by police, and loitering/consuming alcohol in a closed park.

The Hawaii Police Department’s ninth week combined total enforcement stands at 352 individual offenses (100 arrests, 240 citations issued, and 12 additional cases).

Governor David Ige’s Seventh Supplementary Emergency Proclamation, dated May 18, 2020, Section 1, orders that: 

III. Act with Care

Pursuant to sections 127A-12(a)(5), 127A-12(b)(14), 127A-13(a)(1), and 127A-13(a)(7), HRS, all persons within the State of Hawaiʻi are ordered to stay at home or in their place of residence except as necessary to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors, as set forth in Exhibit B attached hereto, and as further designated below or by the Director of HIEMA.

With respect to persons residing in hotels, condominiums, townhomes, apartments, or other multi-unit dwellings, “place of residence” means the person’s individual hotel room or unit. To the extent, persons use shared or outdoor spaces when outside their residence, they must comply with the social distancing requirements set forth herein to the fullest extent possible. With the exception of persons subject to the traveler self-quarantine set forth below in Section IV, persons may leave their home or place of residence for the businesses or operations identified in Section III. A of the Eighth Supplementary

Emergency Proclamation (Proclamation) and/or to engage in permitted activities outside their homes or places of residence described in Section III.B of this Proclamation.

The Proclamation specifies the penalty associated with violations as follows:

  • 4 Criminal Penalties. (a) Any person violating any of these rules shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction, the person shall be fined not more than $5,000, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

Hawaiʻi Police Department has continued enforcement of this and previous orders when appropriate, primarily in cases of non-compliance after verbal warnings or when in conjunction with unrelated calls for service. 

Hilo Man Charged for Several Offenses, Found With Missing Minor

Big Island detectives have charged a 55-year-old Hilo man for several offenses stemming from an incident that occurred in Hilo on Monday.

Robert Alan Kinoshita

On May 25 at 1:06 a.m., South Hilo patrol officers responded to Maile Street on a report of the possible location of a missing minor female. Responding officers contacted a male, later identified as Robert Alan Kinoshita standing next to a parked vehicle, and upon approaching Kinoshita, he appeared to discard items he retrieved from inside the vehicle.

Upon checking, officers observed an unresponsive female in the passenger seat, who was identified as the missing minor. Due to circumstances surrounding this incident, officers initiated sexual assault and illegal drug cases. Kinoshita was arrested and transported to the Hilo Police Cellblock.

Detectives from the Area I Juvenile Aid Section and the Area I Vice Section executed search warrants on the vehicle and the items thrown from the vehicle and methamphetamine were located.

On May 26 after conferral with the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, detectives from the Area I Juvenile Aid Section charged Kinoshita with Sexual Assault in the First Degree and three counts of Promotion of a Dangerous Drug in the Third Degree. His bail is set at $80,000. Kinoshita is currently being held in the Hilo Police Cellblock awaiting his preliminary hearing in Hilo District Court.

HPD Thanks Public in Locating Wanted Man

Hawaiʻi Island Police would like to thank the public for their continued support and assistance in locating Jake Branch. 

On Friday (May 22) detectives from the Area II Special Enforcement Unit located and arrested 36-year-old Jake Branch without incident.

The arrest stems from an investigation that started on Wednesday (May 20) when Kona Patrol and Vice  Officers responded to a suspicious vehicle report above Ane Keohokalole Highway. Upon arrival, officers contacted and arrested 27-year-old Alexandra Barnes-Carrick within a vehicle for a narcotics violation. Officers also observed Branch, who was located outside of the vehicle and subsequently left the area.    

After further investigation, it was determined that the vehicle was taken from a burglary that had recently occurred in the 77-6000 block of Leilani Street, Kailua-Kona. The vehicle was towed to the Kealakehe Police Station where a search warrant was served and items within the vehicle connected Barnes-Carrick to the burglary investigation. Detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation and obtained eye-witness statements that identified Branch as the operator of the stolen vehicle, at which time an arrest warrant for Branch was obtained.

On Friday afternoon (May 22) detectives charged Barnes-Carrick with one count of promotion of a detrimental drug, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, burglary of a dwelling during an emergency, theft in the first degree, and three counts of violations of conditions of release. Her bail was set at $271,000.

On Friday evening (May 22) detectives charged Branch with one count of promotion of a detrimental drug, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, burglary of a dwelling during an emergency, theft in the first degree, and three counts of violations of conditions of release. His bail was set at $271,000.

Both parties were held at the Kealakehe Police Station, pending their initial court appearance today (May 26) at Kona District Court.

Anyone with information about this investigation is encouraged to contact Detective Kayla Makino-Kahuli of Area II Criminal Investigations Section at (808) 326-4646 ext. 227 or the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s non-emergency number at (808) 935-3311.

Police would like to remind the public that there are enhanced penalties for certain criminal offenses in light of the current COVID-19 Emergency Proclamation declared by Hawaiʻi Governor David Ige. These offenses include but are not limited to burglary, robbery, theft, and criminal property damage.

Huge Beach Party Busted By DLNR

Late Sunday night and into the wee hours of Memorial Day, officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement and the Honolulu Police Department worked to clear an estimated 200 people from a beach at the Mokuleia Section of Ka‘ena Point State Park on O‘ahu’s North Shore. Witnesses report the crowd was even bigger earlier in the evening.

PC: DLNR

When officers arrived at 10:30 p.m., they say before losing count, they recorded 170 cars. Three DOCARE officers, joined by five HPD officers, spent the next 4 ½ hours directing partiers to clean up their messes and to leave the area. A DLNR Division of State Parks employee captured photos before and after the party and said this morning the area was left, “spotless.”

PC: DLNR

That was not the case after large gatherings on Friday and Saturday nights. Saturday morning DOCARE officers cleaned up trash and pallets used to fuel giant bon fires the night before. Open fires on Hawai‘i beaches are illegal. Participants were also in violation of COVID-19 Emergency Rules, as well as not having permits for large gatherings in a state park. Saturday and Sunday night’s parties were promoted on social media.

PC: DLNR

Last night, due to the size of the crowd and the small law enforcement contingent, the goal was to disperse the crowd and get their messes cleaned up. Officers report that most people were compliant, but there were a couple of “knuckleheads,” who wanted to argue and push their luck. No citations were issued, however.

On the other side of Ka‘ena Point State Park, DOCARE officers report the Keawaula and Makua Sections were also packed by beach goers and park users. Many Illegal camping issues were addressed. 

PC: DLNR

DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla said, “This is exactly the kind of bad and selfish behavior we’ve all been asked repeatedly not to engage in during this emergency. It’s unfortunate, that at least in the case of the Sunday night party, from our officer’s contact and observations of those involved, many were off duty military personnel. This is a day when we remember the sacrifices of the men and women who’ve given their lives in defense of our country and its disappointing that the urge to socialize and party, at this particular time, overrides any obligation to duty and common sense.”

Quarantine Violators Arrested in Waikiki; One Charged With Animal Cruelty

Social media postings again helped lead to the arrests of two men, on Friday afternoon, accused of violating the State’s 14-day mandatory traveler quarantine rules.

Artyon Zhiryada

Special Agents from the Investigation Division of the Department of the Attorney General arrested 20-year-old Artyon Zhiryada of Happy Valley, OR and 19-year-old Dan Vlasenko of Vancouver, WA as they were leaving a condominium on Lewers Street in Waikiki. 

In addition to facing quarantine violation charges, Zhiryada faces an additional charge of Cruelty to Animals. Agents say he posted a video, among others, showing him shooting a feral chicken with a spear gun in an area parking lot. They say the pair arrived in Honolulu last Saturday, indicating they were staying at a friend’s condo. They immediately began breaking quarantine requirements and “showed off their escapades by posting their adventures on social media sites as they traveled to various locations around Honolulu.” 

Both men were booked and charged and have been unable to post bail at this time. For Zhiryada, bail is set at $4,500 and for Vlasenko it is $4,000. 

Attorney General Clare Connors commented, “We appreciate the assistance of those who reported these social media postings to us. Our special agents have arrested 15 quarantine violators in recent weeks and county police departments have arrested additional suspects. Once again, we must warn residents who return, and visitors who come to Hawai‘i, that they will face consequences for violating our COVID-19 emergency rules. Please do the right thing and if you cannot abide by the 14-day quarantine, postpone your trip to the Aloha State until the quarantine ends, for your own safety and the safety of everyone else.”

California Woman Arrested for Violating Quarantine

A 51-year old, Moorepark, CA woman was arrested this morning by a team of Special Agents from the Investigations Division of the Department of the Attorney General for violating the State’s 14-day travel quarantine.

Investigators say Misty Lynn Beutler arrived in Honolulu on May 9 to stay with her son at a Hawai‘i Kai condominium. A resident of the complex reported seeing the woman and her son unloading luggage that day. Two days later, the same witness reported seeing the pair enter the condo lobby carrying beach equipment. Then on Wednesday, the witness said she saw Beutler walking her son’s dog.

This morning investigators went to the complex to interview witnesses. As they were doing so, they saw Beutler and her son come out of the elevator and attempt to walk out of the building. She was arrested, booked and charged. Her bail is set at $2,000.

Hawai‘i Attorney General Clare Connors commented, “We again ask all visitors and returning residents to follow both the 14-day quarantine rule and all emergency rules in place right now. In addition to my office, law enforcement agencies across the State have cited hundreds of people for emergency rules violations and have made dozens of arrests for violating the travel quarantine. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation in these efforts.”

More Prisoners Released in Hawaii Due to Pandemic

From March 2 to May 22 there has been a substantial reduction in the jail population across the state. These reductions are due to the huge, up-front diversion efforts made by county police departments, PSD’s Intake Services Center Division and the State Judiciary.

More recent, additional reductions are due to the collaborative efforts of the state public defender’s office, county prosecutors, the Hawai‘i Supreme Court and the Supreme Court appointed Special Master, Judge Dan Foley. As the focus now shifts to the sentenced prison population, reports will be updated to include the prisons.

Note: The jail population decreases reflected for the time period in the graph above are inclusive of all reasons for release ordered by the courts. The prison population decreases reflected for the time period in the graph above include a combination of normal releases for time served, cases reviewed for parole approval in the normal course of business by the Hawaii Paroling Authority (HPA), and cases reviewed by HPA earlier than normal in consideration of the pandemic situation.

Inmate Testing Report:

  • If an inmate presents with symptoms of a respiratory illness, PSD Health Care Division’s staff will perform a full evaluation, including testing for COVID-19 and common infectious respiratory illnesses such as Influenza.
  • Health care staff conduct onsite specimen collection using the nasopharyngeal swab and submit the specimen to Clinical Labs for testing.
  • Inmates pending testing are immediately placed in medical isolation.
  • The facilities have longstanding outbreak management plans in place to quickly identify, isolate and treat communicable diseases. They remain vigilant in their efforts to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Big Island Inmates Sew & Donate 920 Face Masks for Those in Need

Inmates in the Hawai‘i Community Correctional Center (HCCC) and Kulani Correctional Facility (KCF) sewing program, under the direction of Hawai‘i Correctional Industries (HCI), made 920 cloth face coverings for those in need in the community. Today was the final day of distribution. The masks were made with materials that were donated by people from all over Hawaii Island.

PC: Hawaii Department of Public Safety

“The men assisted in choosing what organizations the masks would be delivered to and worked hard to quickly finish sewing them so they could be delivered to community organizations this week. They are thankful to be given an opportunity to use their recently learned sewing skills to give something positive back to the community,” said Kulani Warden Wanda Craig.

Tani Freitas – Kulani Correctional Facility employee – with Hope Services staff. PC: Hawaii Department of Public Safety

The masks were delivered to the following agencies, in the numbers requested:

• Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of East Hawaii
• Hope Services Hawaii 
• Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center
• Hawaii Care Choices (formerly Hospice of Hilo)
• Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home
• Legacy Hilo Rehabilitation & Nursing Center
• Life Care Center of Hilo

Inmates in the sewing program at the two Hawai‘i island facilities and at the Waiawa Correctional Facility (WCF), are producing as many as 4,000 masks a day for sale through HCI. HCI is confidently estimating that the program will be able to produce more than 300,000 masks for sale across the state by the end of June.

Tani Freitas – Kulani Correctional Facility employee with Karen Sawyer – Director of Nursing at Legacy Rehabilitation & Nursing Center. PC: Hawaii Department of Public Safety

“We would like to extend a huge mahalo to our new partner Aloha Air Cargo. They graciously offered to ship completed masks from Hilo to O‘ahu free of charge, and we can’t thank them enough for offering their service to us during these trying times,” said Shawntay Yasuda, HCI operations manager.

HCI is taking orders for cloth masks from state agencies and the public. Hawai‘i Correctional Industries can be reached at 808-677-6638 or by email at psd.hawaiici@hawaii.gov.

Arizona Visitor Posts Hawaii Excursions, Takes a Job & Gets Arrested

Wednesday afternoon, Special Agents from the Investigation Division of the Dept. of the Attorney General arrested an 18-year-old woman on charges of violating the State’s mandatory 14-day-quarantine rule and for unsworn falsification to authority.

Alyza Alder

Alyza Alder, of Gilbert, AZ, was taken into custody at a fast food restaurant in Laie, after a citizen notified authorities that she was allegedly in violation of emergency rules. The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority assisted law enforcement on this case.

Alder arrived on O‘ahu on May 6 and allegedly began posting photos of herself swimming off beaches in Lāʻie and Hau‘ula between May 8 and yesterday. Investigators say while she still should have been under quarantine, she took employment at the restaurant. She has been booked and charged and her bail is set at $2,000.

State Attorney General Clare Connors reiterated, “We are asking everyone – returning residents and visitors – to abide by our state’s 14-day self-quarantine order. The 14-day self-quarantine rules protect everyone’s health and safety. As we’ve said before, if you come to Hawai‘i with the expectation that you can ignore the self-quarantine order, you very likely will be reported, arrested and end up in jail facing hefty fines. All of us must do our part to protect ourselves, our families, friends and guests.”

HPD Reports 18 Violations of ‘Prohibited Acts’

During the eighth week spanning (May 13-19, 2020), specific to the offense of “Prohibited Acts” (Emergency Management), Hawaiʻi Police Department officers arrested four persons, cited eleven persons, and initiated criminal cases against three-persons (total of 18 violations), broken down by district as follows:

  • Kona District:  2 persons arrested, 5 persons cited, 2 criminal cases initiated
  • Kaʻū District:  1 person arrested, 3 persons cited
  • Puna District:  1 person arrested
  • South Kohala District:  3 persons cited
  • Hāmākua District:  1 criminal case initiated

The three criminal cases involved visitors reportedly violating the 14-day travel self-quarantine (however no arrest or citations to visitors in the last week).

During this past week:  Other unrelated criminal offenses, which prompted the police response and subsequent arrest of the suspects, involved Burglary, Theft,  Terroristic Threatening, Promoting a Dangerous Drug, and Obstruction of Government Operations.  Some of the behavior exhibited by violators to whom citations were issued consisted of disregarding repeated warning by police, traffic/motor vehicle offenses, congregating/loitering on/alongside the road, or at a park/beach area.

The Hawaiʻi Police Department’s seventh week combined total enforcement stands at 347 individual offenses (98 arrests, 237 citations issued, and 12 additional cases).

Governor David Ige’s Seventh Supplementary Emergency Proclamation, dated May 5, 2020, Section 1, orders that:

III. Safer at Home Pursuant to sections 127A-12(a)(5), 127A-12(b)(14), 127A-13(a)(1), and 127A-13(a)(7), HRS, all persons within the State of Hawai‘i are ordered to stay at home or in their place of residence except as necessary to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors, as set forth in Exhibit B attached hereto, and as further designated below or by the Director of HIEMA. With respect to persons residing in hotels, condominiums, townhomes, apartments, or other multi-unit dwellings, “place of residence” means the person’s individual hotel room or unit. To the extent, persons use shared or outdoor spaces when outside their residence, they must comply with the social distancing requirements set forth herein to the fullest extent possible. All persons may leave their homes or place of residence only for the businesses or operations identified in Section III. A of the Seventh Supplementary Emergency Proclamation (Procla mation) and/or to engage in permitted activities outside their homes or places of residence described in Section III.B of this Proclamation.

The Proclamation specifies the penalty associated with violations as follows:

  • Criminal Penalties. (a) Any person violating any of these rules shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction, the person shall be fined not more than $5,000, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

Hawaiʻi Police Department has continued enforcement of this order when appropriate, primarily in cases of non-compliance after verbal warnings or when in conjunction with unrelated calls for service. 

Motor Vehicle Fatality Rates in Hawaii Decrease in March During Quarantine

Preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council show that as Americans began driving less and covering fewer miles, the emptier roads became more lethal. Early data indicate a year-over-year 14% jump in fatality rates per miles driven in March, in spite of an 8% drop in the total number of roadway deaths compared to March 2019. The actual number of miles driven dropped 18.6% compared to the same time period last year. The mileage death rate per 100 million vehicle miles driven was 1.22 in March compared to 1.07 in March 2019. 

Through the first three months of 2020, the following states have experienced notable increases in the number of roadway deaths: Arkansas (16%), California (8%), Connecticut (42%), Illinois (11%), Louisiana (23%), Nevada (10%), New York (17%), North Carolina (10%), Oklahoma (9%), Tennessee (6%) and Texas (6%). 

States with notable decreases include Arizona (-4%), Hawaii (-32%), Idaho (-28%), Iowa (-13%), Maryland (-13%), Michigan(-12%), Oregon (-24%) and South Carolina (-12%). 

For the three-day Memorial Day weekend starting at 6 p.m. ET Friday, May 22, NSC estimates 366 potential fatalities. If the estimate holds, it will be the lowest number of fatalities for the holiday period since 2014. 

“Disturbingly, we have open lanes of traffic and an apparent open season on reckless driving,” said Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Right now, in the midst of a global pandemic and crisis, we should take it as our civic duty to drive safely. If we won’t do it for ourselves, we should do it for our first responders, our law enforcement and our healthcare workers, who are rightly focused on coronavirus patients and should not be overwhelmed by preventable car crashes.”

Quarantines and shelter in place directives across the country most likely account for a significant portion of the drop in the number of deaths. However, additional insight is needed to determine the alarming rise in death rates. Anecdotal reports indicate speeding, for example, has increased significantly since traffic diminished. Some states are also moving forward with ill-advised roadway tactics intended to address the COVID-19 pandemic but that could have far-reaching consequences. Among them are repealing requirements for teen drivers to pass road tests before acquiring licenses and relaxing hours of service rules for commercial vehicle drivers. 

Even with the declining fatality numbers in March, deaths on the road are up an estimated 2% through the first three months of 2020 compared to the same time period last year. This tentatively reverses gains made in 2018 and 2019. After three straight years of at least 40,000 roadway deaths, fatalities plateaued in 2018 and dropped an estimated 2% in 2019, according to preliminary NSC estimates

To help ensure safer roads, particularly during the pandemic, NSC urges motorists to: 

  • Follow state and local directives and stay off the roads if officials have directed you do to so. Many states are asking drivers to stay home except in emergency situations or for essential errands. 
  • Obey speed limits, even if roads are clear and traffic is light 
  • Be aware of increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic as people turn to walking and biking to get out of the house safely during quarantine. Conversely, pedestrians and bicyclists should remember that reduced traffic does not mean no traffic, and be careful when crossing or walking in streets. 
  • Practice defensive driving. Buckle up, designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation, get plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue, and drive attentively, avoiding distractions
  • Stay engaged with teen drivers’ habits and practice with them frequently – tips are available at DriveitHOME.org
  • Organizations and employers are encouraged to join the Road to Zero Coalition, a 1,500-member group committed to eliminating roadway deaths by 2050 

The National Safety Council has tracked fatality trends and issued estimates for nearly 100 years. All estimates are subject to slight increases and decreases as the data mature. NSC collects fatality data every month from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and uses data from the National Center for Health Statistics, so that deaths occurring within one year of the crash and on both public and private roadways – such as parking lots and driveways – are included in the estimates. NSC motor vehicle fatality estimates and supplemental estimate information, including estimates for each state, can be found here.

$550M Settlement With Nation’s Largest Subprime Auto Financing Company

The State of Hawaii through its Office of Consumer Protection (OCP), along with a coalition of 33 other states, today announced a settlement with Santander Consumer USA Inc. (Santander) that includes approximately $550 million in relief for consumers, with even more relief in additional deficiency waivers expected. The settlement resolves allegations that Santander violated consumer protection laws by exposing subprime consumers to unnecessarily high levels of risk and knowingly placing these consumers into auto loans with a high probability of default.

Today’s settlement stems from a multistate investigation of Santander’s subprime lending practices.

“This settlement sends a strong message to lenders that the consumer protection authorities will not tolerate attempts to take advantage of consumers by misleading them into taking out loans that they clearly cannot afford,” said Stephen Levins, executive director of OCP.

Based on the multistate investigation, the coalition alleges that Santander, through its use of sophisticated credit scoring models to forecast default risk, knew that certain segments of its population were predicted to have a high likelihood of default. Santander exposed these borrowers to unnecessarily high levels of risk through high loan-to-value ratios, significant backend fees, and high payment-to-income ratios. 

The coalition also alleges that Santander’s aggressive pursuit of market share led it to underestimate the risk associated with loans by turning a blind eye to dealer abuse and failing to meaningfully monitor dealer behavior to minimize the risk of receiving falsified information, including the amounts specified for consumers’ incomes and expenses. Finally, the coalition alleges that Santander engaged in deceptive servicing practices and actively misled consumers about their rights, and risks of partial payments and loan extensions.

Under the settlement, Santander is required to provide relief to consumers and, moving forward, is required to factor a consumer’s ability to pay the loan into its underwriting.

Santander will pay $65 million to the 34 participating states for restitution for certain subprime consumers who defaulted on loans between Jan. 1, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2019. For consumers with the lowest quality loans who defaulted as of Dec. 31, 2019 and have not had their cars repossessed, Santander is required to allow them to keep their car and waive any deficiency balance on the loan, up to a total value of $45 million in loan forgiveness. Santander will also pay up to $2 million for the settlement administrator who will administer restitution claims, and pay an additional $5 million to the states.

The settlement includes significant consumer relief by way of loan forgiveness. In all, Santander has agreed to waive the deficiency balances for certain defaulted consumers, with approximately $433 million in immediate forgiveness of loans still owned by Santander, and additional deficiency waivers of loans that Santander no longer owns but is required to attempt to buy back.

Under the terms of the settlement, Hawaii consumers will receive approximately $250,000 in restitution and $1.44 million in anticipated loan forgiveness.

Going forward, Santander cannot extend financing if a consumer has a negative residual income after taking into consideration a list of actual monthly debt obligations. Additionally, Santander is required to test all loans that default in the future to see if the consumer, at the time of origination, had a negative income. The test must include an amount for basic living expenses. If the loan is found to be unaffordable and the consumer defaulted within a certain amount of time, Santander is required to forgive that loan.

Santander is barred from requiring dealers to sell ancillary products, such as vehicle service contracts. Santander will also implement steps to monitor dealers who engage in income inflation, expense inflation, power booking, and Santander will enact additional documentation requirements for those dealers. Further, whereas Santander previously allowed these problematic dealers to waive documentation requirements on income and expenses, Santander no longer will allow such exceptions. If Santander has to use a default mortgage or rent payment value, the amount input must reasonably reflect the payment value for the geographic location. Finally, Santander will maintain policies and procedures for deferments, forbearances, modifications and other collection matters that all employees must follow.

Joining Hawaii in the settlement are the states of California, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington, who comprise the executive committee; as well as the attorneys general of Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

HPD Seeking Female in Theft Investigation

Hawaiʻi Island Police are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying a female suspect involved in a theft investigation that occurred on (May 12) in the Kealakekua/Kainaliu area.

It was reported that at approximately 4 p.m. an unknown female person left a clothing store in the 79000 block of Mamalahoa Hwy. without paying for several items.

The female suspect is described as having a tan complexion and a large build. She was last seen wearing a white shirt with blue “Adidas” letters and logo and blue jean pants.

Police ask anyone with any information about this case or the identity of the person depicted, to call the Hawaiʻi Police Department non-emergency number at (808) 935-3311 or Officer Leonard Warren at (808) 326-4646 ext. 253.

Committee to Meet on Quarantine Violators

The Hawaii Special Committee on COVID-19 will convene tomorrow, May 19, to assess and advise the Senate regarding the State of Hawaii’s COVID-19 plans and procedures to include, but not limited to:

1) Confirm the development of the state departmental plans and procedures;
2) Review and assess current state departmental plans and procedures;
3) Review and assess whether state departmental plans and procedures are properly and timely implemented to safeguard public health and safety; and
4) To communicate and disseminate information obtained therefrom.

At 2:30 p.m. the special committee will be meeting with Attorney General Clare Connors, Chief of the Honolulu Police Department Susan Ballard, a representative of the Facebook group Hawaiʻi Quarantine Kapu Breakers, and others to discuss the enforcement of the 14-day quarantine and stay at home orders.

Please note that there may be committee members or invited speakers participating remotely via video or teleconference.

The meeting will be available for live viewing on Olelo Channel 49 on Oahu and will go out live for pick up by neighbor island public access channels.

No public testimony will be accepted.

If you require special assistance, call 586-6800 or email your request to waysandmeans@capitol.hawaii.gov.

Kubota Sworn In as New Circuit Court Judge of the Third Circuit

Peter K. Kubota was sworn-in as Judge of the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit (Hawaii Island) during a special session convened by the Hawaii Supreme Court on May 15.  

Judge Peter K. Kubota

For the first time in state history, a judicial swearing-in ceremony was conducted by videoconference and broadcast live on the Judiciary’s YouTube channel where friends, family, and members of the public could watch. This break from traditional proceedings is one of many changes the Judiciary has implemented since February to ensure community health and safety while maintaining court operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald administered the oath of office from the Hawaii Supreme Court courtroom in Honolulu, while Kubota appeared before him in the Hale Kaulike Courthouse in Hilo. 

Guest speakers also participated by videoconference. They were, in order of presentation:  Hawaii County Bar Association President Michelle S.K. Oishi, West Hawaii Bar Association President Rebecca H. Colvin, Hawaii State Bar Association President P. Gregory Frey, Hawaii State Trial Judges Association Vice-President Margaret K. Masunaga, Judicial Selection Commission Chair Ronette M. Kawakami, Hawaii State Rep. Richard H.K. Onishi, Hawaii State Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi and Gov. of Hawaii David Y. Ige.

Judge Kubota has served as a per diem District and Family Court Judge in the Third Circuit since 2019. He has practiced law for 30 years, with a solo practice in Hilo specializing in estate planning, real property advice and litigation, and business law. Following his graduation from the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law, he was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1989.

Tourist Busted at Airport Trying to Leave Hawaii

So apparently coming to Hawaii while we have this 14-day quarantine being imposed on visitors has become a “cat and mouse” game for law enforcement officers in the islands.

Abdulla Aliyev (aka Turgut Aliev)

The latest “mouse” is a social media user that goes by the name of “Turgut” and appears to be someone who moved to the United States from Azerbaijan and now lives in Reseda, California.

According to a release, Abdulla Aliyev (aka Turgut Aliev), a citizen of Azerbaijan, who lives in Reseda, Californa was arrested early Saturday afternoon at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport one hour before he was scheduled to catch a flight to Los Angeles. At 11:30 a.m. he allegedly blogged that he was at the airport and was leaving in a few hours. He is charged with violating the 14-day quarantine law and unsworn falsification to authority. He was taken into custody by officers from the Airports Sheriff’s Division after they were alerted to his impending departure by Special Agents from the Investigative Division of the Dept. of the Attorney General.

It’s reported Aliyev arrived on O’ahu on May 1 and immediately began leaving an Airbnb condominium that he’d rented on Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki. Special agents say his social media posts showed him on the beach, at Diamond Head, at Foster Botanical Garden and at other locations around the island. He blogged while riding the bus.

Abdulla Aliyev (aka Turgut Aliev)

The attorney general’s special agents searched for Aliyev daily, after being alerted to his activities woh had been monitoring his social media posts. In response to one of his posts, in which someone wrote to tell him he was violation Hawaii’s COVID-19 Emergency Rules, he responded, “I know, that’s why Honolulu PD gave me a $460 ticket.” This was a false statement. Aliyev was booked on the charges and bail was set at $2,000.

At Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden

I’ve grabbed a bunch of screenshots from his Facebook account just in case he decides to make it private.

According to State Attorney General Clare Connors, “We and most people in Hawaii have little tolerance for anyone, either a visitor or returning resident, who flouts the emergency rules currently in place to protect everyone and to keep the coronavirus infection rate in Hawaii low. If you are out and about in violation of a self-quarantine order, it is likely you will be reported and arrested…”

Governor David Ige’s Seventh Supplementary Emergency Proclamation, dated May 5, 2020, Section 1, orders that:

III. Safer at Home Pursuant to sections 127A-12(a)(5), 127A-12(b)(14), 127A-13(a)(1), and 127A-13(a)(7), HRS, all persons within the State of Hawaiʻare ordered to stay at home or in their place of residence except as necessary to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors, as set forth in Exhibit B attached hereto, and as further designated below or by the Director of HIEMA.

With respect to persons residing in hotels, condominiums, townhomes, apartments, or other multi-unit dwellings, “place of residence” means the person’s individual hotel room or unit. To the extent, persons use shared or outdoor spaces when outside their residence, they must comply with the social distancing requirements set forth herein to the fullest extent possible. All persons may leave their homes or place of residence only for the businesses or operations identified in Section III. A of the Seventh Supplementary Emergency Proclamation (Proclamation) and/or to engage in permitted activities outside their homes or places of residence described in Section III.B of this Proclamation.

The Proclamation specifies the penalty associated with violations as follows:

  • Criminal Penalties. (a) Any person violating any of these rules shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction, the person shall be fined not more than $5,000, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.