by Karen Ann Hunt, office of Rep Kym Pine
Karen’s Law is now in the Senate, referred to Chair of Human Services, Suzanne Chun Oakland and Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Brian Taniguchi. It will be hard to get a hearing for Karen’s Law hearings without ample public support. If Karen’s Law is not heard, the bill will simply die. Please help in our campaign to protect victims and ensure that criminals stop getting away with such heinous acts of crime. If we want to see progress at the State Capitol, we as citizenry will have to take politics into our own hands. We will have to lobby at the Hawaii State Legislature to counteract special interest groups that have diluted the Capitol’s ability to ensure a safe Hawaii.
To help please send testimonies in support of hearing Karen’s Law to both:
email@example.com addressed to Chair Suzanne Chun Oakland
firstname.lastname@example.org addressed to Chair Brian Taniguchi
Please cc me @ email@example.com
"Karen's Law", HB819HD2, passed out of the House. The measure passed with the exception of no votes placed by Representatives Lyla Berg, Roy Takumi, Faye Hanohano, Sylvia Luke, Hermina Morita, Mark Nakashima and Scott Saiki.
Representative Glen Waikai stood up in strong support of HB819HD2 and said: "Karen Ertell did not deserve to be killed, raped, and robbed. Vernon Bartley does not deserve leniency. There are some children who should never be allowed to grow up to be an adult predator."
Representative Waikai went on to state: "The interview I did with John Sua's victim ten years ago really touched me. The man, from Waipahu (can't recall his name), did not provoke the attack but got a knife in his neck. All because the justice system coddled Sua. We gave him a second chance and he took the opportunity to send a man to a nursing home for the rest of his life. Our neighbors deserve to be safe. Thanks for introducing this important bill."
"Karen's Law" was killed in House Judiciary last year by Tommy Waters. HB819HD2, introduced by Representative Pine and Representative Mizuno, would mandate that juveniles, 15-17 years of age charged with first or second degree murder, be automatically tried as an adult. "Karen's Law," would save the taxpayers' money in facing this financial deficit by cutting court proceedings down from two to one and help the families in their grieving process. As the law currently stands, juvenile crime offenders, charged with 1st or 2nd degree murder can face two trials, one to determine which court to try them in and then another trial to decide guilt or innocence.
On May 25, 2007, Karen Ertell was brutally raped and murdered in her home in Ewa Beach. Karen Ertell was the only real mother that her foster daughter, Malanie McLellan had ever known. She described Karen Ertell as a giving, loving person who saw the best in people, and who was a vibrant woman whose life was very full Melanie was nine months pregnant with Karen's grandson. Her senseless murder also left behind her loving partner – Kevin Callahan, her heart-broken mother and family, and hundreds of friends and business associates.