by Karen Hunt
Karen’s Law passed out of the Human Services Committee in the Senate yesterday. Thanks to you, we have had an amazing amount of testimony in support over the past few weeks. If we continue with this momentum, we have a great chance of passing a much needed law for Hawaii.
If passed, HB819SD1 will positively impact criminal activity. Juvenile crime offenders will think twice. This is a positive step in the right direction towards cleaning up crime.
Among others, the daughter of Karen Ertell; Malanie and Sheryl Nelson all gave compelling testimony in person. Reverend Daniel de Gracia and Captain Robinson of the Honolulu Police Department also testified in support of Karen's Law. Representative Pine and the staff believe they could not have gotten Karen’s Law this far without such a wonderful community that strongly supports this measure.
The next step will be to get the Chair of the Senate Judiciary and Government Operations Committee, Brian Taniguchi, to hear the bill. We first have to send in testimony on behalf of getting the bill heard. Upon deciding to hear Karen’s Law, we then have to send in testimony in support of having Karen’s law passed. If you haven’t already sent in testimony to Chair, Brian Taniguchi, please help and do so. The email address ware listed below.
This will be the toughest committee to get Karen’s Law through as there is opposition to the bill with its committee members. JGO Committee members are; Chair Brian Taniguchi, Vice Chair Dwight Takamine, Senator Robert Bunda, Senator Sam Slom, Senator Mike Gabbard, and Senator Clarence Nishihara.
Please send in testimony to:
The first address will ensure that all Senators that will eventually hear the bill, as well as those on the committee, will receive the testimony in support of Karen’s Law.
The second address will go into keeping a record for all testimonial support that will be outlined during the committee hearing.
"Karen's Law" was killed in Judiciary last year by Tommy Waters. HB819SD1 will now go to the Senate to be heard. HB819SD1, 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.