Well, we are now past the mid-point of the session and we still have some good bills in play.
CAP WATCH 2014 Justice Bills – Crossover Report
CAP has also racked up some victories and some new partnerships that helped us defeat some ill-conceived bills. For instance, there was a bill that would have allowed law enforcement access to juvenile justice records. We were shocked when we saw this bill because juvenile records are sealed. They are not considered criminal and thus are adjudicated in family court. This is common knowledge. Yet in testimony prosecutors said that they need to know if the person is a ‘repeat offender’ (counting youthful offenses). All law enforcements (cops and prosecutors) and the AG were all in strong support. Here’s the inside story on how we helped defeat both the House and Senate versions of this bad bill:
I was just monitoring the bill because it is appalling that law enforcement would ask for records that they know are sealed. At the 1st Senate hearing, and after the police, prosecutors and AG all testified in strong support of releasing this sealed information, I couldn’t sit quiet anymore. There was a man sitting a few seats down from me who I kind of recognized but never met. He turned out to be a prosecutor from Maui and right before I spoke he had testified about how this was so necessary for law enforcement to do their jobs. That really got me. After I testified that the records are sealed for a reason…we don’t want to label kids for youthful indiscretions, I went back to my seat and as I passed this man he mumbled something I couldn’t understand. I asked what he said. Through clenched teeth he said, “I AM SO PISSED AT YOU.” Then, from the back of the room, a man stood and asked to speak. He was Judge Paul Murakawa from Kaua`i and he spoke representing the Judiciary and backed up everything that CAP had testified about – sealed records; no labelling kids, etc. I tried to talk with the Maui prosecutor after the hearing but he was still steaming! Then the House bill was heard and when I walked in he said, “Are you going to kill my bill?” I said he should talk with the courts. He said he was ready to blast them at the hearing. Arrogant, yeah? It didn’t work for him. One for the good guys!
Our advocacy and education on the ineffectiveness of, and actually the counterproductive effect of mandatory minimums is having an effect. The data and research has so scared the Honolulu persecutors office that they are holding a crime forum in Kailua on Thursday, March 13, 2014 from 6:45 – 9 pm at the Kailua District Park Multi-Purpose Room (21 South Kainalu Drive). And now the prosecutor has lopped on Justice Reinvestment and how it harms communities. This Kaneshiro show is like the Carlisle Ice Capades in 2003 on steroids! Workin’ the fear factor.
We were also successful in JDL’s resurrection of the 2013 compassionate release bill after the House bill (which was very badly amended) died. SB 72 SD1 is not great, but it is a vehicle to work on and we are hoping that we can made the necessary changes as we help it moves along.
Things do slim down at this point as you will note from this slimmed down version of CAP WATCH 2014 Justice Bills – Crossover Report. We do have some good things alive and I’ve put a little description on what’s happening with the bills that are still alive. Depending on how things go, in the second half of session we pick up bills that we haven’t had the time to analyze or submit testimony in the first half. That’s why they are included.
Mahalo for your testimony. YOUR VOICE MATTERS. I will let you know when we really need a BIG push and alert you on other stuff as well. Oh, by the way…do you find it helpful if I send CAP testimony to you with alerts? Let me know. ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Life at the lege is interesting. OK, nuff said. Here’s what’s still alive and kickin’… CAP WATCH 2014 Justice Bills – Crossover Report