Brief Report from Kat: Native Hawaiian Justice Task Force

I have attended both task force meetings this week (Monday, October 23 and Tuesday, October 24). The task force is plodding through the findings by the person hired to write the report to the legislature. I have been on or observing many of these legislatively-appointed groups but I have never seen a process like this where the entire 9-member task force is going over every word in the findings. Hence, the task force gets through a limited number of sentences per 2-hour meeting, mostly because the AG’s designee, Paul Perrone and the Prosecutor’s designee, Patricia Nakamitsu are constantly stalling the process with manini things.

The group will get through a finding and start on the next one and Ms. Nakamitsu will say “Can we go back to …” Mr. Perrone has asked for research cites on things that are widely known and where the research is common knowledge, such as visitation, housing, employment, etc. This is just a tactic and has tried the patience of the entire group. As a result, Perrone and Nakamitsu are the outliers of the group.

I tape recorded Tuesday’s meeting and also asked a videographer to attend. Hence, Perrone was less caustic (although he can’t seem to help his rudeness as he called the researcher/member a ‘so-called criminologist’). I haven’t transcribed the tape but it is pretty boring and I don’t think the video will show much as Perrone was less harsh than at other meetings. I am glad the community got to witness his horrid behavior.

One funny thing happened, though. When Jack Tonaki, the Public Defender said visitation was a human right. Perrone immediately jumped on that and I muttered “Human rights? They don’t care about human rights.” Perrone turned around and said something like I’ve had enough of you. Stop it. I cracked up as the entire group has had enough of his crap. He is totally unaware of his own behavior and takes no responsibility for his rude outbursts.

I want to add that former Judge Michael Broderick has really been patient, inclusive, and respectful. He allows 10 minutes at the end of each meeting to hear from the community. He has a difficult job and he is not responsible for picking the members of the task force. He was really moved by the testimony that the Task Force heard when they visited all the islands. He cares deeply about the issue (he is married to Maile Meyer; his children are Hawaiian) and he has been honest and up-front. He is in an unenviable position but has been pushing through to get a meaningful outcome from the task force. He is always reminding the task force of things the community said.

Related Documents:
NHJTF 9/4/12 Meeting Minutes
NHJTF Draft Findings with Comments
NHJTF Memo re: Kassenbaum Research


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