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Wednesday, August 11, 2021
August 11, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:56 AM :: 2650 Views

Video: Ige Announces New Restrictions on Gatherings

Kaneshiro Indictment Coming Soon?

HNN: … Assistant United States Attorneys and an FBI agent paid a visit to the Honolulu Prosecutor’s office last month for a meeting that lasted about an hour, sources said.

Hawaii News Now cameras were waiting outside as the team, led by special prosecutor Michael Wheat, assigned to investigate public corruption exited the building on Richards Street.

Legal experts said there are a variety of reasons the group would meet with the city office at this point in the investigation.

Alexander Silvert, a retired federal public defender, believes the meeting was a courtesy call, letting the local officials know that an indictment is coming soon for the former head of the office, Keith Kaneshiro.

“At this point they’re there to say, we’re ready, Here’s what we got. Here’s what’s about to happen. We want to let you know this so that you can be prepared,” Silvert said.

But former city prosecutor turned defense attorney Megan Kau believes the meeting was needed to verify that files and records turned over by the office are accurate and complete.

“Because Keith Kaneshiro and his administration, even (former First Deputy) Dwight Nadamoto to an extent were uncooperative with the federal government, it’s very reasonable for Michael Wheat to believe that maybe I didn’t get everything,” Kau said….

read … Meeting with federal prosecutors could mean public corruption probe nearly finished

Jacquie Esser Part of Spriestersbach Coverup?

CB: … On June 14, 2017, Spriestersbach had his first court appearance and was represented by Nietzsche Lynn Tolan, a deputy public defender.

(Nietzsche Lynn Tolan is also known as Mrs. Trevor Ozawa.  She now works as OHA's legal counsel.)

The petition states Spriestersbach told Tolan that he was not Castleberry and that he provided her with his full legal name, Social Security number and date of birth.

Spriestersbach also said he was not on Oahu at the time the alleged crimes were committed in 2006 because he was being treated at a mental institution on the Big Island.

Tolan ignored Spriestersbach, according to the petition, and instead asked the judge to have him evaluated by a panel of three doctors to determine whether he was mentally fit to stand trial.

(Only because of a total screwup did a homeless schizophrenic finally get the mental health treatment he needed.)

Spriestersbach was transferred to the Hawaii State Hospital, where the petition states he was heavily medicated, including with doses of Haldol, an antipsychotic that “caused him to become despondent and catatonic.” (is a normal treatment for schizophrenia and in this case seems to have cleared his mind enough for him to relocate to his sister's farm in Vermont when he was released.)  

Court records show that Spriestersbach was subjected to at least five separate fitness evaluations and that he was represented by a carousel of public defenders, including Jason Baker, Leslie Maloian (appointed Family Court Judge July 9, 2021, confirmed by Senate July 29, 2021) and Jacquie Esser, (BOOM!) who after learning of the Innocence Project’s petition (panicked at the thought of how it could damage her reputation and so suddenly) described the case on social media as a “horrifying and grave injustice.”

(Lesson: She’s only in it for herself.) 

… Instead of trying to address what went wrong, the petition states that those who were culpable “attempted to sweep their mistakes under the rug.”

For instance, the petition highlights court records that show the judge in the case held a closed-door meeting with the lawyers involved, including from the Hawaii Attorney General’s Office, shortly after Spriestersbach was released. Yet few details have come out about what was actually discussed.

The only note in the record says Judge Shirley Kawamura told those at the meeting to “inform their administrators of the situation.”

No changes were made to set the record straight or remove Thomas Castleberry’s name from the list of aliases associated with Spriestersbach, which means that even today he could be arrested for being someone he is not.

Equally as concerning, Lawson said, has been the public defender’s office’s refusal to turn over all documents related to the case.

In emailed communications, Deputy Public Defender William Bento told Lawson in September 2020 that the attorney general had advised his office not to provide the Innocence Project with the full case file related to Castleberry’s 2006 drug charges.

The reason: since Spriestersbach was determined not to be Castleberry, he no longer had a right to access those files….

Bento also questioned whether the documents would be used as evidence in a future lawsuit.

Most recently, Lawson said the innocence project has discovered that the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center, which is run by the attorney general, has updated its publicly available file on Spriestersbach with a new mugshot — one that, Lawson said,  makes him look more Castleberry.

Timestamps show the changes appear to have occurred after Spriestersbach was released from the Hawaii State Hospital….

While living on Oahu, Spriestersbach had a handful of run-ins with law enforcement related to being homeless and had been cited several times for trespassing, including on school property.

During one of these incidents in 2011, Lawson said, Spriestersbach told officials he was someone else. Spriestersbach gave them the name of his grandfather — William Castleberry….

documents obtained by the Hawaii Innocence Project show that at some point between 2006, when a judge approved the warrant, and the day Spriestersbach was arrested by HPD, someone had handwritten Joshua Spriestersbach’s name underneath Castleberry’s, effectively declaring the two men one and the same…. 

Background: Lucky Dude: Mistaken identity gets homeless man the forcible mental health treatment he needed--Now he lives on 10ac Farm in Vermont  

HNN PODCAST: On ‘The Other Side of Paradise,’ a case of mistaken identity lands man at State Hospital

read … Hawaii Mistaken Identity Case: ‘They’re Just Trying To Cover It Up’

Hawaii GOP Joins Anti-Vaxxers

CB: … Multiple protests are held statewide as GOP leaders increasingly reject vaccine mandates and government restrictions….

While the protests are small, the participants are passionate and the events are organized by groups like Knights of Aloha, which brought together dozens of people at the Hawaii State Capitol Friday, and For Our Rights, which led some of Monday’s protests….

The website for Hawaii’s chapter of For Our Rights says it’s a nonprofit formed in response “to blatant government overreach” in the wake of COVID-19: “We are committed to serving the people of Hawaii by providing resources and the education needed to stake claim to your God-given unalienable rights, enumerated in the Bill of Rights and protected under the Constitution of The United States of America.”

The website for Knights of Aloha says its vision is “to promote and uphold the values of faith, family, and freedom in Hawaii, the continental United States, and the rest of the world.”

Self-billed as “a grassroots political action committee,” it recently registered a super PAC with the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission….

Tyffiny Keliiaa, chair of the PAC, said Knights of Aloha plans to endorse candidates for the Legislature, governor and Congress “when the right candidates step up to the plate. We want to get people excited about something, to bring change.”…

(Lesson: Trump is gone but the crazies remain.)

Keliiaa said the group was formed last fall in support of former President Trump, who Keliiaa says deserves credit for his policies….

(Reality: Trump spent his last year in office pushing vaccine development via ‘Operation Warp Speed’ and has been vaccinated himself after getting COVID.  Now his followers are anti-vaxxers.  Why?  Because they are the crazies left behind when a political movement fails.)

The wave of protests are coming as leaders in the Hawaii Republican Party are speaking out about their adamant opposition to what they see as government overreach. On Friday the party issued a press release with statements from its top leaders.

“Stop treating people who choose to not get the vaccine as if they are ignorant,” said First Vice Chair Lynn Finnegan. “Threats and strong-arming to force people to get vaccinated is just not right.”

Said Party Chairwomen Signe Godfrey, “We fully support people who decided to get the vaccine and those who did not get the vaccine. Government bully tactics should not be allowed.”…

In the meantime, State Rep. Val Okimoto, the House minority leader, wrote to Ige last week saying she objected to vaccine messaging statewide and nationally….

Brett Kulbis, chair of the Honolulu County Republican Party, argued in a recent email to party members that the Ige administration throughout the pandemic “established a pattern of making arbitrary decisions that impacted the privacy and personal freedom of every resident. They have intentionally created a culture of fear and coercion that all residents should find shocking. This new assault is again nonsensical, not backed by science and unconstitutional.”…

The disdain for vaccine mandates even comes from the GOP’s most recent nominee for governor, Andria Tupola. Now on the Honolulu City Council, the former House minority leader disclosed that she is not vaccinated, although she said “she has some degree of natural immunity” to the coronavirus because she was infected last year during a trip to Utah….

read … How Opponents Of COVID Measures Are Stoking Local Resistance

Some healthcare professionals are working up to triple shifts amid rise in COVID-19 hospitalization

KITV: … Many healthcare professionals say the rise of COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state is taking a toll on them physically and mentally. As of Tuesday, 241 people are hospitalized for Coronavirus in Hawaii. 96 of them at a Queen’s Health Systems facility.

There’s also hundreds of other patients hospitalized for other reasons. Combined with the Coronavirus patients, staff at Queen’s are very busy.

Some nurses and doctors are working double or triple shifts to deal with the demand.

Queen's Medical Center president Jason Chang says there are mixed emotions among staff at the hospital.

"Those that are frustrated, quite unhappy with what's happening in the community. A lot of this is preventable,” Chang said.

Lieutenant Governor Josh Green and Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi saw firsthand how busy a COVID-19 unit is at the hospital during a tour Tuesday morning.

“This is not a bad late night movie, this is our reality. This isn't make belief, this is reality and we have to deal with it,” Blangiardi said.

Staff say the current patients are sicker that those hospitalized before.  Each nurse typically cares for five patients, but now they can only work with about two patients.

The hospital reports many COVID patients are unvaccinated and say they wished they changed their mind about getting the shot. 

"Patients that are most of the time, either about to get ventilated, or they see their condition deteriorate. They make the plea they'd like to get vaccinated, which is a little too late at that point,” Chang said. …

read … Some healthcare professionals are working up to triple shifts amid rise in COVID-19 hospitalization

City to accept 5,000 new rent relief applications from Honolulu residents

SA: … The city will accept 5,000 new applications starting at noon Thursday from renters who need relief and are struggling from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Households making 80% or less of Oahu’s median income can apply. For a household of four, that is $100,700 a year.

To qualify, a household must show it is struggling financially because of the pandemic, have at least one member at risk of losing housing or at least one member has been unemployed for 90 days when applying….

read … City to accept 5,000 new rent relief applications from Honolulu residents

‘The tensions are very high’: Latest COVID-19 outbreak forces lockdown at Hawaii’s largest prison

HNN: … The Halawa Correctional Facility has been on lockdown for the past week due a new COVID-19 outbreak at the prison.

A total of 48 Halawa inmates have recently tested positive and another 147 have been placed in quarantine because they are suspected of being in contact with other infected inmates.

State Sen. Kurt Fevella, R-Ewa Beach, said the failure to contain the new variant has prisoners fearful and angry.

“Some of the inmates are feeling they are not getting correct information on the new variants and they might die. So the tensions are very high,” he said….

read … ‘The tensions are very high’: Latest COVID-19 outbreak forces lockdown at Hawaii’s largest prison

Corona Virus News:





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