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Saturday, March 21, 2009
March 21, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:05 AM :: 9773 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Kenoi associate Motta: Guilty on all counts in Pali shooting (Waihee named in article)

CLICK THESE LINKS TO GET THE REAL STORY:  Malu Motta: “I need one governor so he can pardon me.” , Kenoi Fundraiser payout? Gotti lawyer on Pali murder case , Billy Kenoi at Shooters—and the Pali shooter—the connectionsBilly Kenoi helped Pali Shooter

Today, a jury in federal court found Ethan Motta and Rodney Joseph, Jr. guilty of murder and other related charges.  It took the jury less than two days of deliberating to reach the verdicts which were announced around 3:45 Friday afternoon.

Taliese’s sister said, “I'm just so glad it's over now my brother can finally rest in peace.”

A third defendant, Kevin Gonsalves, already pleaded guilty to murder and other charges last year.  He’s serving a 27-and-a-half year sentence in federal prison.  Meanwhile, Motta and Joseph face life in prison without the parole.

(The mayor's friend is going away to the Big House for ever.  Hey maybe this will get a mention on page C-13 of the Hawaii Tribune Herald?  West Hawaii Today?)

Star-Bulletin:

During the trial, Motta claimed he never intended to shoot anybody and that he fired in self-defense.  Motta’s mother was disappointed with the ruling.
“I’m just totally shocked that they would come out with this. I really believed that they didn’t understand the way it works,” said Mokihana Motta.  She said her son was a “caring Christian who was just trying to help.”

Nakakuni said the outcome would serve as a warning to organized crime in the islands.  “We think the verdicts should also send a message to Hawaii organized crime that they can’t remain below the radar and they’re also not above the law,” Nakakuni said.

According to evidence and testimony the government presented during the trial, all of the men involved in the case, victims and assailants, were involved in illegal activity.

(The victim) Taliese (who was also allegedly part of the 'security' gang) was found guilty for murdering a fellow prison inmate in 1982 but was released on parole after Gov. John Waihee commuted his prison sentence in 1994 to life with the possibility for parole from life without parole.

(Waihee is part of this too!  But in this story as with most: Kenoi?  Town? The cop from Kona? Who dat?)

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Motta defense plans appeal on technicalities

Motta's Honolulu lawyer, Walter Rodby, said outside court that he and co-counsel Charles Carnesi of New York plan to appeal the case and feel their chances of overturning the verdict are very good.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard a case that challenged the wording of jury instructions given to juries in racketeering cases tried in Hawai'i and other courts in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Rodby said.

He said he believes the high court will rule that the jury instruction language used by Mollway and other judges in the 9th Circuit is unconstitutional and that means the convictions of Motta of Joseph would be set aside.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Brady, who prosecuted the case here, was traveling on the East Coast yesterday but Nakakuni said of Rodby's comments, "That's his view of the law, but we believe that we have a very strong case on appeal."

(Obvious question: Will Mayor Billy Kenoi participate in another fundraiser to pay for all this lawyering?  Surely some intrepid reporter will ask this question.  Not!)

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Legislature Considers 17 Tax Increases: "Honolulu Tea Party" Set for April 15

Dozens of tax increase bills crossed over from both the House and Senate last week Thursday, March 12, 2009.

Among the tax bills most damaging to the taxpaying public and businesses being considered are:

SB 1346 — Increases the General Excise Tax to fund public education but exempts groceries, medical expenses and a portion of rent from the GE tax. This bill barely passed Third Reading in the Senate with 14 votes in favor, 5 against and 6 excused.

SB 199 — Sunsets and repeals all tax credits.  (and 15 others....)

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State Diverts On Superferry Environmental Study

"The DOT has instructed Belt Collins, Hawaii, to cease all work on the Act 2 EIS. DOT will now refocus its efforts towards completing a Chapter 343 environmental review of harbor ferry improvements, making maximum use of existing data," DOT officials said in a written statement.

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More than 1,200 Hawaii jobs lost in February mass layoffs

In February, Maui Land & Pineapple Co. announced it was laying off 98 workers, and several notable restaurants, including Nick's Fishmarket, Brew Moon and E&O Trading Co., announced their closings.

The number of workers affected by mass layoffs has generally been increasing over the past 12 months, with the total ballooning to more than 1,000 in four of those months. In April, 1,583 ex-workers filed unemployment claims stemming from such events, which included the shutdowns of Aloha and ATA airlines.

May had 1,118.

The tally hit 1,650 in December. During that month, Hilo Hattie and Acutron Co. announced 90 layoffs, and Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar furloughed 700 employees for a week.

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GM Taro ban: Maui Council pushes back in the name of home rule

WAILUKU - The issue of genetically modified crops, especially taro, found its way back to the Maui County Council on Friday - except this time it was folded into a larger issue of county home rule.

Council Member Sol Kaho'ohalahala introduced a resolution at the regular council meeting in opposition to a bill from the state House of Representatives. The House bill, which has now passed to the state Senate for review, would preempt any county's ability to ban or restrict the testing, growth and sale of genetically modified plant organisms (GMOs).

The council voted unanimously in favor of Kaho'ohalahala's resolution, although council members gave no indication Friday that they would seek a county GMO prohibition in the near future.

"Home rule is home rule, and don't you try and mess with it," said Council Member Jo Anne Johnson.

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Rat Lungworm: Big Isle parasite victims emerge from their comas

Two people who contracted rat lungworm disease have emerged from comas, and a third has recovered enough to walk and live at home on the Big Island, relatives and friends said. 

Halda said Silka, who lived on the Big Island for nine years, hoped to establish a center for meditation.  "Her vision was to have a place where people could come and have a peaceful retreat," he said.

(Advice: Not only wash but cook your veggies and use chemical pesticide to kill the slugs which carry Rat Lungworm disease.)

RELATED: News to Puna: Raw Food=Rat Lungworm , Organic food tied to Puna Rat Lungworm outbreak -- more cases reported

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Bill would enable couple married 63 years to live in same care home

Should Senate Bill 190 SD1 become law, it would reunite a Big Island couple whose plight helped lead to the bill's introduction.

Eighty-nine-year-old Sidney Kaide of Hilo lives in a community care foster home.   His 87-year-old wife Terry does, too.

But because of state law, the Kaides — married for 63 years — haven't been able to live together the last two years.

Sidney lives in a home in Kaumana, Terry lives in a facility in Papaikou.

Today, Terry Kaide and her daughters, Charlotte Kaide and Gale Sakaguchi, were at the state Capitol to urge representatives to vote in favor of SB190 SD1.

Community care foster homes like the ones the Kaides live in can take in up to three patients and are regulated by the state Department of Human Services.

Because they are intended to service low-income Medicaid recipients, the state limits them to one private-pay client each.

The Kaides do not require government assistance, which means a community care foster home can't take both of them in without violating the law.

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