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Saturday, November 28, 2020
November 28, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:18 PM :: 1698 Views

Ige Approves -- Kauai to Opt-out of Tourism Reopening

Drive-Thru City Lights -- Opens December 9

DoH Refuses to Disclose COVID Nursing Home Inspection Reports 

SA Editorial: … Kokua Council is right to call on the DOH to provide more timely information after unannounced inspections of nursing homes hard-hit by COVID-19, including the Yukio Okutsu home, and to post inspection reports on DOH’s website. State law requires such unannounced inspections, plus timely posting of reports within five days of inspection conclusion.

The Yukio Okutsu home, tragically, saw more than two dozen coronavirus deaths and more than 100 testing positive. At least three lawsuits have been filed against then-operator Avalon Health Care, and the state’s Hawaii Health Systems Corp. is taking over operations.

Being directly responsible for Yukio Okutsu operations would seem to be impetus for the state to step up transparency about recent inspections at the facility. Instead, the DOH’s Office of Health Care Assurance, while saying it has continued nursing-home inspections overall throughout the pandemic, said inspections of Yukio Okutsu are federal and that law requires posting of inspection reports of only “state-licensed care facilities.”

That sounds appallingly weak. What the lower bounds of law require should not be an excuse here, given Yukio Okutsu’s tragic recent history; the bar should be higher, at what is the right thing to do.

And the right thing, as far as the public and nursing-home families are concerned, is to provide as much disclosure as possible, to ensure that optimal life-saving conditions are being met in Hawaii’s most-vulnerable facilities ….

read … Reporting on care homes during the pandemic

Mandatory Test on Arrival for Tourists?

SA: … The way to “perfect the system” for testing inbound Hawaii passengers for COVID-19 would be to extend the mandatory preflight testing to four days from three and then require a second test upon arrival, Lt. Gov. Josh Green told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii online video program….

The extra day to get tested for COVID-19 before boarding a Hawaii-bound flight would allow passengers more time to find a test site on the mainland and receive their results earlier. A second test upon arrival would provide an extra layer of reassurance for worried island residents and their mayors, who are calling for new requirements.

But Green said there is little reason to change the current system because it’s working, although concerns remain over its effects on a battered tourism-based economy.

“I don’t know why people would want to make wholesale changes to a system where we’ve got the lowest rate in the country of COVID,” Green said. “We’ve got the lowest mortality rate in the country of COVID. The active cases per capita, I believe, are the lowest in the country, and we’re the only (state) that has significant travel because we have the Safe Travels program.”….

read … Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green offers way to ‘perfect’ COVID-19 testing

Key document missing from records unsealed in “Painkiller” lawsuit

ILind: … On Tuesday, the U.S. District Court in Honolulu unsealed a set of documents concerning forensic evidence from the search of Mike Miske’s Boston Whaler “Painkiller” in 2017. The the release of these newly public documents, which were the basis for my post here on Wednesdy, came as the result of a lawsuit brought by the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest earlier this year (“In re Motion to Unseal Court Records“).

The documents originated in legal actions brought by Hawaii Partners LLC beginning in 2017 which sought to have to boat returned as quickly as possible, and also tried to block the FBI from completing its forensic examination of potential evidence seized during the search of the boat. Hawaii Partners is a company that was founded and controlled by Mike Miske, and which claimed ownership of the boat. The legal wrangling over the terms of the search warrant and the release of the boat continued for a year after the Painkiller was returned to Hawaii Partners in May 2018.

But one key document–potentially the most interesting one–wasn’t among the documents made public this week, and there was no comment on its absence.

The missing document is an “ex parte” letter from government attorneys to Judge Leslie Kobayashi dated February 8, 2019. The “ex parte” designation means that it was meant to be read only by the judge, and not disclosed to the other party in the case, Hawaii Partners, or the company’s attorneys.

At the time the letter was written, the disabled boat had already been returned to Hawaii Partners, and the legal fight had turned to whether the FBI should be allowed to continue its unfinished analysis of physical items that had been removed from the boat, along with digital data it had retained.

The context of the dispute at that time can be found in an order signed by Judge Kobayashi on January 10, 2019, granting in part and denying in part a motion by Hawaii Partners to return everything taken under the authority of the search warrant. However, Judge Kobayashi asked for additional legal briefs to be filed concerning one remaining legal issue.

At that point, the government asked for permission to the ex parte letter. On February 4, 2019, Judge Kobayashi issued an order regarding the letter.

The Court will receive the Government’s ex parte letter and, after review, will determine whether the submission should remain sealed in its entirety, or whether the submission should be produced to Movant and/or filed in whole or partially redacted. The Court reminds the Government of its obligation of fair play, and notes that filing documents under seal is appropriate when the Government can demonstrate a “compelling reason” for filing the information under seal.

Although the letter was presumably submitted, it was never listed in the court docket, and the judge never issued a further ruling clarifying its status….. 

ILind: A look back at my reporting on the Miske case

Related: Megan Kau Hired by Miske – Will she be 3rd Prosecutor in a row to have a Miske Connection?  

read … Key document missing from records unsealed in “Painkiller” lawsuit

Soft on Crime: Assault Police Get out, do it Again

SA: … Maui police have arrested a 28-year-old man for suspicion of attempted second-degree murder of an off-duty officer in Kihei.

At about 10 a.m. today, police arrested Tomasi Caones-Paahana, of Wailuku, after responding to reports of an early-morning assault fronting a Kihei establishment.

Patrol officers responding to the scene at 1 a.m. discovered the victim to be an off-duty Maui police officer….

2013 Same Guy Same Thing: Scuffle with police described in hearing

read … Maui police arrest man, 28, for suspicion of attempted second-degree murder of off-duty officer

Hawaii Judge Blocks Police Union Attempt To Keep Cop Misconduct Secret

CB: … Hawaii’s police union has lost its first legal battle in an ongoing fight to keep officer misconduct records hidden from public view.

On Friday, First Circuit Judge Dean Ochiai ruled that when a police officer is suspended or fired for misconduct such information is a matter of public record under state law.

Ochiai specifically cited Act 47, which was signed by Hawaii Gov. David Ige in September. The legislation eliminated a decades old exemption in the public records law that effectively kept information about officer misconduct confidential except in the rare circumstances that resulted in discharge or termination….

read …  Hawaii Judge Blocks Police Union Attempt To Keep Cop Misconduct Secret

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