Monday, October 21, 2019
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, August 11, 2019
Soft on Crime – Because of the Money
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 994 Views :: Kauai County, Law Enforcement

Soft on Crime – Because of the Money

by Tom Yamachika, President Tax Foundation Hawaii

In the news recently was a stunning announcement by Justin Kollar, who is the Kauai County Prosecutor. State law says that for folks driving without a license or driving without insurance, heavier fines and more jail time apply to repeat offenders. He said that he has decided to prosecute all cases under his watch as first-time offender cases, no matter how many prior convictions the defendant may have or how quickly those priors were accumulated.

Why? He said in a recent interview that the repeat offender penalties do nothing to make the roads safer, add more people to crowded jails, and trap the working poor in a cycle they can’t get out of. They can’t pay the fine and must work to earn the money to pay it, they need to drive to get to work, they get pulled over, and then they owe more money they can’t pay.

Prosecutors traditionally have had wide discretion in deciding what kind of criminal charges to bring against a person, or whether to bring charges at all. For instance, a prosecutor might not charge motor vehicle drivers going 60 mph in a 55-mph zone, but may go to court when the driver has gone over 70 mph.

Consider this actual example: a Delaware grandmother sent her granddaughter to her third-grade class with a birthday cake (hers) and a knife so it could be shared. The teacher used the knife to cut the cake but had to report the girl for bringing a weapon to school. The school district, which had a zero-tolerance policy on weapons, felt it had no choice but to follow that policy to the letter and expel the girl for a year.

So yes, it is important that there be prosecutorial discretion. Prosecutors need it to refrain from charging cases that aren’t supported by the evidence, or to refrain from punishing people who, although violating the literal terms of the law, really haven’t done anything that the law was designed to prevent.

At the same time, discretion can mask more insidious behavior such as racial discrimination (prosecuting all speeders if they are black, for example, while exercising more restraint on others) or graft (a defendant can skate, for example, if he knows the right people to pay off).

This case seems to be about another issue: infringement upon the kuleana of other institutions. Mr. Kollar is an elected Kauai County official. The laws of which he is complaining are state laws. They were put into place by our state legislators and governor, who had the interests of the entire state at heart when they enacted the enhanced penalties for repeat offenders. If he has a problem with how these laws are applied to the working poor, shouldn’t he go to the Legislature and suggest appropriate amendments? Apparently, he prefers to take the matter into his own hands. Maybe he thinks that this grandstanding will help him get re-elected.

But what about the plight of the working poor? The Hawaii ACLU is quoted as saying that driving without a license or insurance is only about inability to afford paying premium payments or fines, which doesn’t make you more dangerous on the road. I respectfully disagree. The ability to drive a car is a privilege, not a right. Taking away the privilege is a possible consequence of doing something unlawful. Is it fair? The folks who get whacked for driving without a license or insurance the second or third time intentionally got behind the wheel without appreciating the responsibility. Is it fair to the other drivers who must bear more costs of car-related injuries, deaths, and property damage because these folks won’t? I, for one, would rather not be on the road with people who reject the responsibility that comes with a motor vehicle.

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

Conservative Forum for Hawaii

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop 

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT