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January 4, 2020 News Read
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BWS Fined for Runoff from Nuuanu Dam

Electric Rates Going Down: HECO, PGV Agree to Dump 'Avoided Cost' Scam

Hawaii 2nd-Worst State for Retirement

Hawaii Homelessness Summit 2020 set for Capitol

Homeless News: Supreme Court Ruling Makes Sentencing Lighter for Rapist – Kidnappers Statewide

MN: … The Hawaii Supreme Court sent a Maui kidnapping case back to 2nd Circuit Court for retrial in a ruling that clarifies the charge of kidnapping, the defendant’s attorney said Friday.

In an unanimous ruling Thursday, the high court ruled that trial judge Peter Cahill erred in failing to instruct the jury adequately on the “restraint” of the victim needed to convict for kidnapping in the case of (a homeless dude from Kahului Safeway homeless camp) David Sheffield.

Sheffield was found guilty of kidnapping on Dec. 20, 2016, for grabbing a Makawao woman by her backpack, dragging her toward some bushes and threatening to rape her as she was trying to hitchhike home from Kahului on the night of Nov. 16, 2015.  (He followed her from the homeless camp at the former Kahului Safeway site.)

Sheffield was sentenced to 20 years in prison on the Class A felony.

(This is what it takes to force the homeless into shelter.  But it is a Pretend Sentence: The real sentence will be determined by HPA, as always.)

“This is new law,” said Matthew Kohm, Sheffield’s attorney, on Friday. “The law of kidnapping has changed.  “I’m very happy that he (Sheffield) is going to get a new trial.”

The use of the kidnapping charge “is a little bit troubling in Hawaii,” Kohm said. He noted that prior to the trial, prosecutors dismissed a third degree assault charge, a misdemeanor with maximum of 1 year in jail, and pursued the Class A felony kidnapping charge, which has a mandatory 20-year sentence.

In arguing his case before the high court, Kohm said kidnapping should be applied in only “the most severe conduct” and should not be a “companion charge” for robbery, assault or sexual assault. When there is a threat but no severe crime committed, “prosecution for kidnapping instead of attempt may amount to an end run.”

In its ruling, the high court noted that instead of being prosecuted for attempted assault in the third degree or a sex offense, “Sheffield was tried and punished solely for kidnapping.”

During the trial, the victim, a 24-year-old University of Hawaii Maui College student at the time, testified that she thought she had missed the last bus Upcountry after her anthropology class got out later than usual.

She had walked through Kahului to the intersection of Dairy Road and Hana Highway when she was confronted by Sheffield, who had been following her and trying to talk to her, she testified. The victim said Sheffield blocked her way as she was crossing the highway to go toward Marco’s Grill & Deli and said, “I want to f– you.”

He tried to hit her but missed before grabbing the loop at the top of her backpack when she turned to run away, she said. She said Sheffield dragged her several steps toward the bushes before struck his chest with her palm and spun away from him, before he grabbed her again and she again got away….

MN: Boyfriend Provided Rapist with attitude adjustment the next day.

read … Soft on Crime

Homeless Mayhem: Knife threat just latest incident in Kahului Safeway area

HTH Flashback Oct 4, 2019: … 55-year-old Kim Bak-Young said she avoided injury while being threatened with a knife last week at a Kahului building in an area plagued by homeless issues and other incidents, including a shooting.

(This is what is going on at the Kahului Safeway site three years after the rape-kidnap case described in the article above this one.  Keep reading, there’s more.)

Bak-Young was walking up the stairs of the Kahului Office Center across the street from the old Safeway along Hoohana Street around 10 a.m. Sept. 26 when she was met by an man in his 60s coming the opposite way down the stairs.

The man, who was barefoot and unkept, asked her for money.

Bak-Young told the man she didn’t have any money. The man then demanded her bag, which she gave him because it contained only paperwork, which she could replace.

The man pulled out a kitchen knife with about a 6-inch blade….

On Sept. 12 at around 4 a.m., a homeless man shot at another homeless man on Hoohana Street near the Kahului Office Center and the old Safeway. Police said the victim was shot with a 1942 U.S. Navy World War II MKV signal flare pistol loaded with a 12-gauge birdshot shotgun shell.

The victim, who was shot in the back of the head and upper back, survived. Manuel Nunes Jr. has been charged with attempted murder in the shooting.

Hours earlier at around 5 p.m. Sept. 11, a 41-year-old man driving an Acura hit cars and climbed over a raised parking island in the old Safeway parking lot fronting Kamehameha Avenue and died from his injuries. Witnesses said the man, who frequented the parking lot, appeared to be suffering from a ‘medical’ condition. He was identified as Jeremy Tackett, 41, of Kahului….

read … Knife threat just latest incident in Kahului area

ANOTHER Homeless Alleged Rapist Arrested -- Attacks in Honolulu Office Building

HNN: … A homeless man was arrested after sexually assaulting two women in a Makiki office complex Thursday in an attack that has workers in the area shaken.

The 39-year-old is facing multiple charges stemming from the incident.

Police sources say the incident happened at the Interstate Building, where surveillance cameras captured the shirtless man standing inside the lobby Thursday afternoon.

One of the victims told police that she encountered the suspect in an elevator allegedly committing a lewd act.

When she turned to run, he chased her, pushed her down some stairs and sexually assaulted her, police sources said.

Around the same time, a second woman was allegedly groped by the 39-year-old inside an elevator….

People who work at area businesses say problems with homeless and people on drugs have gotten much worse over the past year.

“It’s just been unbelievable. We see it all day, every day,” said Loving Farias, the manager of Trophy House, Inc. “The landlord gave us some mace. So I literally walk with that in one hand and my cane in the other.”

Sources confirm witnesses to one of Thursday’s attacks followed the suspect out of the building and surrounded him so he couldn’t get away.

During the arrest, officers found a syringe in the man’s pocket, sources said.

Hawaii News Now is not naming the man because he hasn’t been charged. But the suspect’s criminal history dates back more than two decades with 37 convictions, including for nine drug-related felonies.

(That’s nearly 2 conviction per year for 20 years and yet this bum is out on the streets.  And efforts are being made to release more of his kind.)

In late October, a judge found that same man guilty of indecent exposure….

Three other homeless busted recently:

#2 Canadian Police Catch Homeless Dude from Connecticut Allegedly Raping Woman in Kailua-Kona Park

#3 Different Homeless Dude (from Pennsylvania) busted at Kailua-Kona Pier: Alleged Synagogue Vandal Arrested in Kailua-Kona

#4 Fourth Homeless Dude: South Kohala campground rape suspect trial set

read … Another Homeless Rapist

Aloha Stadium: HCDA, Stadium Authority Fight for Control of Next Big Boondoggle

SA: … The act also gave authority for developing the district to the state Hawaii Community Development Authority — a reasonable move given HCDA’s experience in complex land-use matters honed from overseeing Kakaako’s revitalization. HCDA has received its share of criticism over aspects such as insufficient affordable housing requirements, but seems to have improved its community responsiveness.

(Idea: Combine the new jail construction project with the Aloha Stadium project so the cronies and insiders will be able to build their own future homes.  They shoulda done this with Rail.)

But now, executive director Aedward Los Banos is leaving HCDA, and this week, the Star-Advertiser’s Ferd Lewis reported that talk is swirling about shifting HCDA to an advisory role, deferring development of the project to the Stadium Authority and the state Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS). Currently, the governor-appointed, nine-member Stadium Authority governs the use and management of the stadium only. The rationale given for this proposed shift is the desire to expedite completion of a new 35,000-seat stadium in time for the 2023 University of Hawaii football season, and that hedging by the 17-member HCDA board could slow progress. Ironically enough, DAGS itself does not have a great reputation for quick and clear operations.

(If they were smarter, they would each be fighting to ensure that the other gains control of the project.)

Expect a bill in the upcoming Legislature to try to clearly delineate roles and responsibilities, said one state senator. Good luck with that, given at least three state agencies, and various politicians, in this turf battle. Taxpayers, keep your eyes on the ball….

(BTW: Aloha Stadium is yet another project located at sea level, thus proving again that NOBODY believes in sea level rise.)

read … Aloha Stadium leadership

State senators grill University of Hawaii on salary funding details

SA: …University of Hawaii officials Friday were unable to answer pointed questions from state senators about who should pay for what could be more than $14 million worth of “fringe” employee benefits for an estimated 1,076 UH salaried positions paid through tuitions rather than the state’s general fund….

Friday’s hearing followed a similar one in December in which state Sen. Donna Kim — chairwoman of the Senate Higher Education Committee — grilled Lassner and other UH officials over hiring an outside firm to help recruit new students and for giving his vice presidents raises when student enrollment overall has dropped….

At the start of the hearing, Lassner addressed Kim and other senators by saying, “There’s no better way to start a new year than to be here with you.”…

state Comptroller Curt Otaguro told senators that he could find no evidence documenting the arrangement in the Department of Accounting and General Services’ payroll system.

“I have not been able to locate any authorization within the DAGS accounting system,” he said.

Kalbert Young, vice president for budget and finance and the UH system’s chief financial officer, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser following the hearing that the agreement was likely made as a way to save jobs during a time of financial crisis.

“It was during a downturn in the economy, two recessions ago or maybe three,” Young said. “It never got cleared up when the recession was over, and then the next recession happened and it didn’t clear up after that.

“These positions were previously paid for through general funds,” Young said. “If UH could help out the state (by paying salaries through students’ tuition), that would save the state, and then the state could continue to pay for the fringe like they always had been. It saved the state the need to find tax money, general funds, and preserved these positions at UH. This was an arrangement developed under the historical context at that time. They were trying to find a way to maintain the status quo. Fast-forward 15 years and people will say, ‘Hey this doesn’t make sense.’”

Young said he was not being facetious when he told the senators, “It’s only money.”…

CP: Breaking Down ‘Administrative Bloat’

read … State senators grill University of Hawaii on salary funding details

Hawaii's New Asset Forfeiture Rules Take Effect Jan. 17

HPR: … New requirements will apply to local enforcement authorities in seizing cars and other property of criminals under long-awaited asset forfeiture rules issued by the Hawaii attorney general on Dec. 31.

The rules take effect Jan. 17 and require county prosecutors to describe the crimes that justify the seizure of private property under state statutes and to petition the attorney general for approval.

The seizure program, known as civil asset forfeiture, is used in all 50 states to confiscate financial and other property of criminals. Some states require a criminal conviction before the property can be taken but most jurisdictions, including Hawaii, require police only demonstrate probable cause to initiate a seizure.

Hawaii's asset forfeiture program has been in place for over 30 years, but administrative rules had not been previously issued. 

Last year, Gov. David Ige vetoed a measure that supporters said would have placed needed restrictions on law enforcement agencies' use of asset forfeitures in response to reported abuses. Among other limitations, the bill would have required the sale of seized property to proceed only after owners were convicted of felonies.

Ige said H.B. 748 was too restrictive and that enough protections existed under current laws. But he called on the attorney general to issue the administrative rules for the ongoing asset program by the end of 2019….

read … Hawaii's New Asset Forfeiture Rules Take Effect Jan. 17

Helicopter tour company pushes back against claims industry is unsafe

HNN: … Richard Schuman, the owner of Magnum Helicopters, called the statements unfair.

Magnum Helicopters was not involved in last week’s helicopter crash, but said Case was causing everyone who takes helicopter tours unnecessary fear.

“I don’t believe the government has to be more involved in what we do,” he said. "I can tell you owner operators are very interested in the safety of their organizations.

Schuman claims the chances of being a tour helicopter crash are significantly lower than other popular recreational activities….

KITV: Case replied, "If Hawaii's tour helicopter/small aircraft industry does not view twenty-one tragic deaths in one year alone as any safety concern, if it believes widespread public concern is not important, then we have a much much larger problem."

SA Editorial: Air tour safety can be improved

SA: Hawaii helicopter company owner refutes Ed Case’s accusations that tour helicopters are unsafe

read … Helicopter tour company pushes back against claims industry is unsafe

FEMA Evaluates Hawaii Hurricane Logistics Support

DM: … Dewberry, with the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA), American Logistical Aid Network (ALAN), and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Transportation and Logistics, deployed a team of supply chain analysts, engineers, geospatial information system (GIS) technicians, and emergency management professionals to Washington, D.C., to support the FEMA LMD in collecting and analyzing data on the private-sector supply chain for Hawaii in preparation of Hurricanes Erik and Flossie that threatened the Hawaiian Islands on August 2, 2019….

read … Dewberry Completes FEMA Logistics Support Contract Task Orders

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