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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?”

 

Hawaii Judge David Alan Ezra Moved to Texas to Help With Workload

I just noticed the following and I haven’t heard much about this locally:

Judge David Alan Ezra

Judge David Alan Ezra

Not many people would leave an office with a prime view of Honolulu’s harbor for a windowless office in San Antonio, but Senior U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra is doing just that.

Ezra, 65, is moving here to help the San Antonio-headquartered Western District of Texas, whose current judges are swamped largely with immigration and drug cases on top of a busy civil caseload…

…“It’s a combination of the need of the judiciary (in Texas) and my wife,” Ezra said. “I had indicated to the Administrative Office of the Courts that I was willing to move to the mainland and help. We have a very moderate caseload” in Hawaii…

East Hawaii Veterinary Center Sued By Equal Employment Opportunity Council For Sexual Harassment, Retaliation

Co-Owner Responsible for Vulgar, Offensive Slurs to Female Staff, Federal Agency Charges

Press Release:

East Hawaii Veterinary Center, LLC, a veterinary clinic in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii, violated federal law by sexually harassing, firing and/or forcing out a class of female employees due to their gender, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed yesterday.

Since 2005, at least six female employees, ranging from receptionists to a veterinarian, were subjected to extremely offensive, vulgar comments geared solely toward female staff by a co-owner of the clinic, according to the EEOC. On a near-daily basis, the co-owner insulted the women by calling them “worthless,” “whores” and other extremely vulgar epithets, and generally treated the women differently. The male staff was not subjected to such insults and hostile behavior.

Despite the company’s lack of an internal policy against discrimination, the EEOC asserts that one receptionist complained about the harassment to a different co-owner, who acknowledged that the behavior was inappropriate, yet took no action to stop it. Ultimately, the EEOC contends that the offending co-owner fired at least three of the victims and forced the others to quit.

Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court, District of Hawaii (EEOC v. East Hawaii Veterinary Center, LLC, Case No. CV 10-00559-BAE-LEK). The suit was filed after the EEOC first attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement. The EEOC’s suit seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for the class, as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent further discrimination at the East Hawaii Veterinary Center.

“Supervisors and top managers have a higher duty to ensure a workplace free of hostility,” said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, which has jurisdiction over Hawaii. “Women have the right to work without the utter degradation displayed here, and the EEOC will fight to ensure that employers pay for such injustices.”

Timothy Riera, local director of the EEOC’s Honolulu Local Office added, “It is important that owners and managers alike set the standard for a discrimination-free environment and ensure that employees are adequately trained to prevent, address and correct sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination.”

Open since 2003, the East Hawaii Veterinary Center is a locally owned and operated clinic which provides medical and emergency services for small, avian and exotic animalson the Big Island of Hawaii, according to the company’s website.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov .