Applicants Sought for Hawaiʻi Elections Commission
Feds Collect $2M in Fines
Sneaky Oahu Democrats Meeting to Nominate Replacements for Rep Yamane HD37
Judiciary Uses ‘Prosecutorial Misconduct’ as Excuse to let 24 Gangsters Escape Justice--Now They Want to Go Further
CB: … Iosefa Pasene could have spent the rest of his life in prison.
Blamed for a 2009 Chinatown murder he says he didn’t commit, Pasene went through three trials. The first two ended in mistrials after jurors couldn’t agree on a verdict. At a third trial in 2014, he was convicted and sentenced to life behind bars.
(He was convicted of murder, but then ….)
But a decade after the murder, in 2019, the Hawaii Supreme Court threw out Pasene’s conviction, saying it was tainted by prosecutorial misconduct.
In its opinion, the Supreme Court said prosecutor Rodney Veary displayed a “persistent failure” to abide by legal and ethical standards in the case.
In his opening statement alone, the court sustained six objections. Throughout the trial, Veary improperly attacked Pasene’s defense by mentioning allegedly damaging camera footage that wasn’t in evidence. He asked leading questions of witnesses. And he later mocked the idea of the presumption of innocence, noting that mafioso John Gotti and cult leader Charles Manson were also presumed innocent at trial….
Pasene is now a free man and is suing the City and County of Honolulu….
(He is going to get money.)
Pasene said he filed a complaint against Veary with the agency that regulates Hawaii’s lawyers. But the now former prosecutor, who could not be reached for comment, never faced any public discipline for his conduct.
In theory, lawyers have an incentive to follow professional rules, including trial rules. If they don’t, their licenses to practice law are on the line.
Prosecutors, however, have little to fear….
(Translation: The ex-convict wants the prosecutor to be prosecuted.)
“Where’s the hammer? There is none,” said (convicted felon) Ken Lawson, co-director of the OJ Simpson Hawaii Innocence Project….
(Translation: The ex-convict wants the prosecutor to be prosecuted.)
Hawaii judges have identified numerous instances of prosecutorial misconduct in the last four decades, a review of appellate court records shows. In more than two dozen cases, the misconduct was so serious that judges threw out indictments, convictions or sentences because they determined the original proceedings violated the defendant’s constitutional rights….
(Translation: 24 Gangsters have walked free after their lawyers used this excuse.)
HLN: Gotti, Manson, and what not to do when Prosecuting
CB: How Attorney Discipline Works In Hawaii
read … ‘Where’s The Hammer?’ Hawaii Prosecutors Dodged Public Discipline For 40 Years Despite Misconduct
Green Goes Wobbly on GE Tax Cuts
HNN: … As a candidate, Gov. Josh Green repeatedly promised a dramatic tax reform ― eliminating the 4.5% excise tax on food and drugs.
But after lawmakers have said that was probably unrealistic, he’s floating potential compromises.
With repeal now appearing unlikely, Republicans are crying foul.
In an interview Tuesday morning on Hawaii News Now Sunrise, Green said he wasn’t giving up on repealing the excise tax, but he also cited political realism.
“I’m proposing that bill, and I’m going to fight for it,” Green said.
“The challenge here is that the Legislature doesn’t love that bill because (they falsely claim) 30% of the general excise tax that is paid in the state does come from tourists and I respect that (even though tourists actually pay only 14.1%)”…
REALITY: GE Tax: Audit Shows Tourists pay only 14.1% of Rail Surcharge
read … Candidate Green promised major tax reform. For Gov. Green, delivering on it is proving tough
“I am so pissed off”--Carpenters Union Operative Ikaika Anderson Bumbles Through Senate Hearing
CB: … Lawmakers expressed frustration over the lack of details on the current spending plan as well as ideas for the future. Anderson and his staff appeared unprepared to discuss their plans for the $600 million and at times struggled to find answers to the senators’ questions while shuffling through paperwork.
“We’re sitting here having this discussion on $600 million given last year. We have people dying on the list, and people won’t get their homes because we’re sitting here doing this crap,” Senate Vice President Michelle Kidani said. “It’s very irritating sitting here not having the information we need to get homes to our kupuna. I don’t know how you guys feel but I am so pissed off.”…
Complicating matters is a federal requirement under the American Rescue Plan act that requires the state to maintain proportional funding to public education programs, which could limit the amount of money DHHL actually spends until ARPA funds are depleted….
The committee recessed until later in January to allow time for Anderson to meet with the Hawaiian Homes Commission. A commission meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday, but the agenda was not posted as of Tuesday afternoon….
SA: “We expected you guys to come here prepared,” said Keith-Agaran
read … DHHL Weighs Possible Changes To $600 Million Spending Plan
Former Maui senator (and cocaine dealer) has paid $75,000 of his $100,000 fine
MN: … The Hawaii U.S. Attorney’s Office collected nearly $2.1 million from criminal and civil cases in fiscal year 2022, including $75,000 from former Maui state senator J. Kalani English as part of a $100,000 fine for accepting bribes while in office….
In August, the District of Hawaii recovered $75,000 from English, the former majority leader of the state Senate, in partial payment of the $100,000 fine imposed for honest services wire fraud. Last year, English pleaded guilty to taking bribes in exchange for influencing legislation on cesspools. He was sentenced to 40 months, or just over three years, in federal prison, in addition to the fine….
Related: Feds Collect $2M in Fines
read … Former Maui senator has paid $75,000 of his $100,000 fine
Death Penalty Phase Begins For USO ‘Enforcer’ In Arizona
CB: … Johnson described for the jury in explicit detail Maugaotega’s rape of a 57-year-old woman in a Honolulu apartment during a home-invasion robbery in 2003, and recounted how Maugaotega shot a Punchbowl man in the chest with a .45-caliber pistol that same year when the man returned home to find Maugaotega burglarizing the property….
The jury already has heard gory descriptions of the slaying of Nunuha, who was dragged off his bunk in his cell in the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona, and stabbed more than 150 times by Maugaotega and another inmate. Maugaotega told police he carved the initials of his gang on Nunuha’s chest, according to trial testimony.
“What he did to Bronson Nunuha is exactly who he is, and who he has been,” Johnson told the jury. “For him, violence like you saw, the pain that you saw — to him, that’s just a Thursday.”
Johnson also alleged Maugaotega stabbed two correctional officers in 2011 with homemade knives or “shanks” he made in his cell. Criminal charges are pending in that case.
Maugaotega has been described as a leader of the USO Family prison gang, which federal officials have described as the dominant gang in the Hawaii correctional system….
read … Death Penalty Phase Begins For Hawaii Prisoner In Arizona
‘USO Family’ inmate facing repeal of probation after Auto Break-ins at Makapuu Point
SA: … A man sentenced to four years and two months in prison in 2015 in connection with his role in the “USO Family” prison gang must demonstrate Wednesday why his federal probation should not be revoked….
Unea was indicted with 17 others in September 2013 when agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, State of Department of Public Safety and Honolulu Police Department took their investigation of the prison gang, operating in and out of Hawaii’s prisons and jails, to federal prosecutors….
Lee also was charged with six counts of making false claims for income tax refunds for four of the other defendants. According to the indictment, the filing of fraudulent tax returns for refunds was a method used by USO Family to fund its operations, including bribing prison guards.
Unea was arrested Jan. 2 by Honolulu police, for driving without a valid driver’s license, according to a request modifying the conditions for supervision filed Jan. 3. HPD officers were investigating an increase in vehicle break-ins at the Makapuu Lighthouse area in Honolulu.
Unea’s car was allegedly identified by an HPD officer as a “possible vehicle involved in the recent criminal activity and … conducting surveillance in the Makapu‘u Lighthouse area.”
Police officers “observed Mr. Unea driving two individuals known to be previously involved with drugs and property crimes and conducted a traffic stop.”
Unea was arrested for driving without a license, and during the arrest police officers allegedly saw items in Unea’s car that “HPD suspected could be stolen and impounded his vehicle.”…
read … ‘USO Family’ inmate facing repeal of probation
Hawaii Hospital Giant Reaches Tentative Deal With Nurses
CB: … Nurses at Straub Medical Center got a New Year’s gift this week in the form of a tentative agreement that union leaders say includes provisions that will make working easier for caregivers and provide better treatment for patients. But it remains to be seen whether the concessions will be enough to sway the 400-member union.
Voting on whether to accept the new contract began on Monday, and by Tuesday about half had already cast their ballots, said Dan Ross, president of the Hawaii Nurses Association, which represents the Straub bargaining unit. The nurses have until noon Friday to vote, he said….
read … Hawaii Hospital Giant Reaches Tentative Deal With Nurses
DOE slow to assess schools’ vulnerabilities to violence
SA: … Even though school shootings and mass shootings nationwide have hit historic levels — with a record-high 51 school shootings that killed or injured 140 people in 2022 — fewer than half of Hawaii’s 258 public school campuses have been evaluated for vulnerabilities to targeted violence, and department officials say it will take three more years for them to finish.
Meanwhile, threats of harm or violence received by the islands’ public schools are rising dramatically, state schools Superintendent Keith Hayashi reported Tuesday in a school-safety briefing before lawmakers on the state House Education Committee.
There were 103 threats to students and/or staff in 2019, falling to 47 during remote learning in pandemic 2020 but then spiking again to 124 in 2021 and 152 in 2022, Hayashi said….
MN: Active shooter training, safety protocols discussed at House Education Committee
HNN: 2 adults arrested for assaulting students in stands at high school basketball game
read … DOE slow to assess schools’ vulnerabilities to violence
Crew members, air ambulance wreckage recovered from ocean
KHON: … After a weeks-long search, NTSB said they recovered the flight crew, who were fatally injured, and the majority of the wreckage on Tuesday, Jan. 10….
The recovery effort came just after a deep-water search for the wreckage began on Sunday, Jan. 8. By the following day, the search vessel MV Island Pride detected a series of pings from a beacon installed on the cockpit voice recorder of the air ambulance.
The wreckage field was about 6,420 feet underwater and 1,200 feet south of the last data point received from the aircraft….
The NTSB said an investigation is underway and is expected to be completed in 12 to 24 months….
read … Crew members, air ambulance wreckage recovered from ocean