Showing posts with label Hawaii. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hawaii. Show all posts

Monday, January 26, 2015

Hawaii: Need for Reform?

Peter Carlisle of the Honolulu Civil Beat notes that, in one of his last acts as governor, Neil Abercrombiein "did what he could to clear the slate of a man local media dubbed the 'Manoa Home Invader' [and] that’s so troubling that it should lead to change." In addition, the otherwise "expressive politician" did not "explain his actions to the people who elected him."

Carlisle notes “Midnight pardons” are "hardly new" for presidents and governors "on their way out the door" and they "have often drawn scrutiny, criticism and embarrassment for leaders."
... Since Rodrigues was already out of prison, why does a pardon matter? A felon loses certain rights, including the ability to vote, serve on a jury, run for office and carry a gun. Someone who is pardoned gets most of those rights back, although the right to carry a gun must be specified in the pardon. ... But a pardon does not erase a conviction, which remains on the criminal’s record and must be disclosed when information about past criminal activity is required. A pardon doesn’t say someone is innocent; it is that he is forgiven. A pardon from a governor surely makes life easier on a convicted felon.
The piece goes on to argue that the "main problem" with the pardon process is that "there are few rules, procedures or regulations that frame it." Thus, Carlisle suggests that governors should "promise" to " complete their pardons by a certain date and include a written justification before a pardon is formalized."  As for the written explanations, he elaborates:
Such justifications should include factual information, reasoning, policy considerations and other factors that the governor deems relevant to the pardon being prepared. Here is why: A written decision, published in advance, will allow for public scrutiny and accountability of the governor’s decision to pardon a convicted criminal. This process might even allow the governor to escape shadows of suspicion, whether influence peddling or ignorance of details about a convicted criminal’s past that should be weighed before pardoning them. This could spare governors and presidents a great deal of embarrassment and, more importantly, make the process healthier. 
Another suggestion: "if a governor knows that he or she won’t run for re-election, this should be done several months — perhaps three to six — before the end of the gubernatorial term."  See full editorial here.

Monday, June 11, 2012

DeLorean Codefendant Seeks Pardon

Stephen Lee Arrington was born in 1948 in Southern California into a broken family. After graduating from high school, he joined the U.S. Navy and served four tours in Vietnam. He rose to the rank of Chief Petty Officer in the Specialty Warfare Command as a bomb disposal diver, where he worked with the CIA, the Secret Service and NASA. Arrington also earned the Naval Commendation Medal for lifesaving. But, while he was stationed in Hawaii in the late 1970’s, he took up surfing and got caught up in the marijuana culture that accompanied a new group of friends. By 1979, Arrington was caught selling marijuana to another sailor and his military career came to an abrupt end, albeit with an Honorable Discharge.

Two years later, Arrington was lured away from his studies at San Diego State University by one Morgan Hetrick, who offered a job as a pilot and right-hand man. But Hetrick was actually a cocaine transporter for the Medellin Drug Cartel. Soon, Arrington found himself being ordered to co-pilot a plane to Colombia. When he first refused, four men with guns convinced him to go along for the ride. Later, Arrington was ordered to drive a cocaine-loaded car from Florida to California. Desperate to escape from his circumstance, Arrington abandoned the car at Van Nuys Airport and tried to walk away. But heavily armed undercover DEA agents took him back to the car and Arrington was arrested. He was thereafter known as a co-defendant of John DeLorean in a cocaine conspiracy trial. DeLorean was acquitted on all charges. But Arrington plead guilty and was sentenced to five years in federal prison.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Long-Forgotten Unforgettable Father Feinler

In June of 1921, the New York Times took Warren Harding to task for his pardon of former military Chaplain Franz J. Feinler. Feinler, who lived in South Dakota but was born in Germany, entered into service with the Army in 1909 as a Roman Catholic chaplain. He achieved the rank of Captain in the 13th Infantry and served overseas in 1917.

But General Pershing sent Feinler home and the Captain/chaplain was charged with having uttered “treasonable language” and having “endeavored to dissuade men in the army from taking part in the war against Germany.” Among eighteen specifications considered by a military court, Feinler was said to have justified the sinking of the Lusitania and the execution of a female British spy (Miss Edith Cavell) by the Germans. He was also accused of having uttered "disrespectful and contemptuous language" against Woodrow Wilson - ah, those were the days, eh? In 1918, Feinler was court martialed in Honolulu and sentenced to fifteen years at hard labor, a sentence that was then approved by the President.

But Father Feinler’s sentence was later reduced to four years by the War Department. In May of 1920, he was released on parole from the penitentiary at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Secretary of War John W. Weeks then recommended his pardon. So, Feinler went from a fifteen-year sentence approved by President Wilson to a prison sentence of less than three years and a full and complete pardon from Warren Harding.

A Times Editorial described Feinler’s pardon as generally “beyond comprehension.” It suggested “professional politicians” might have understood Harding’s actions, but “nobody else” would. For that reason, the Times boldly predicted President Harding and Secretary Weeks would soon “discover” that a “good many people” disagreed with them. And the number of protestations would be “vastly larger than that of the people who [thought] what they did was wise.” The Times argued the “liberation of a criminal” like Feinler would do little to win or retain votes. But such pardons are “sure” to “cost the loss of a lot of them.”

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hawaii: 44 Pardons! reports that Gov. Linda Lingle "following the trend of at least her two immediate predecessors" (Ben Cayetano and John Waihee) has issued "the most pardons of her term during her final year of office." More specifically, the 55 pardons she has granted this year are "more than double any other year during her eight years as governor."

44 of her 132 total pardons to date (across two terms) were granted just last night. Lingle says she "carefully" considers each applicant's "individual's unique circumstances," and what they have done to "turn" their life "around." She also considers whether or not they have remained "crime-free" and/or they are "likely to reoffend." Lingle said in a statement last night.

The previous two governors granted a total of 204 and 115 respectively. They also served two terms apiece. See story here.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hawaii: 6 Pardons

Gov. Linda Lingle announced today that she granted pardons only six individuals in 2008. Lingle said, "These individuals made mistakes, which for some were one-time, isolated incidents. They served their sentences and completed probation, and have led law-abiding lives.” Governor Lingle has pardoned 77 individuals since taking office back in 2002. See more details here.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hawaii: Denial

A story that was really more about judicial decision making than it was about the pardon power seems to have come to an end. Governor Linda Lingle has denied the pardon application of Sgt. 1st Class Ernie Gomez who was convicted of terrorizing his former wife with a loaded gun and beating her three years ago. Previous reports suggest the Army provided particular support for Gomez and his former wife even pleaded on his behalf. So, Gomez was allowed to remain outside of prison during his appeal and during his quest for pardon. Now it appears he is on his way to a five-year term. See story here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hawaii: Still Free. Still Seeking Pardon

Circuit Judge Michael Town has decided to continue to allow Ernie Gomez to remain free as he seeks a pardon from Governor Linda Lingle. Amazingly, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Itomura says she can "fast-track" the pardon request, But Itomura cannot make any predictions with respect to how much time Attorney General Mark Bennett would need to review the application and make a recommendation to the Governor.

Mr. Gomez was sentenced, back in 2005, to a mandatory five-year prison term for terrorizing his then-wife with a semiautomatic handgun. He was also allowed to remain free on bail throughout his appeal. Perhaps after having done a little more research on the pardon power, the local media are toning down the shock level of reporting. Now, the case "is believed to be the first in Hawai'i in which a felon's prison sentence is put on hold while a pardon is sought."

PardonPower is informed that the court asked for research on common law as it related to pardons and commutations because Hawaii statutes require courts to turn to English common law if State law is silent on an issue. See story here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hawaii: Free Pending Pardon

In December of 2005, Ernie Gomez received a mandatory 5-year prison sentence for terrorizing his wife with a semi-automatic handgun, but was allowed to remain free on bail while waiting for the outcome of his appeal. When the appeal failed, a Circuit Court judge allowed him to continue to remain remain free while he pursued a pardon from Gov. Linda Lingle. The application is actually supported by Gomez's ex-wife, but a victims advocate is "appalled" by the court's decision and considers it sends "absolutely the worst message to victims of domestic violence." An attorney with the Battered Women's Justice Project in Minnesota says she has "never heard of" a domestic violence felon being spared going to prison while a pardon was pursued. It is also reported that:
The [case] appears to be breaking new ground in Hawaii's criminal justice arena. attorneys have researched as far back as the seventh century to trace the history of pardons and clemency under the English legal system to argue the case. Tomasa, in tne filing, even mentioned President Bush's pardon of Scooter Libby. Otani, the parole administrator, said he is not aware of any other case the board has reviewed in which a prison sentence for a convicted felon was put on hold while a pardon was pursued. Maurice Arrisgado, the senior deputy prosecutor who handled the Gomez trial, likewise said he believes the case is unprecedented in Hawaii. In his 25 years as a prosecutor, "I've never heard of anything like this here," he said.
See story here.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Hawaii: Meddling with Pardon Power?

An editorial in today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin calls on the Hawaii state legislature to "stop meddling' with the pardon power. According to the editorial. Gov. Linda Lingle (R) has issued more than 70 pardons since taking office five years ago - a number that is "consistent" with past governors. And, according to the Star-Bulletin, none of the pardon have been "controversial." Nonetheless, the state legislature has approved a bill that would require the judicial branch to review all probation applicants, leaving the Paroling Authority to review only applications from those imprisoned or on parole. The bill would also require the governor to give 30 days of public notice, including the reason(s), before issuing a pardon. See more details here.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Hawaii: Report

According to this article, Hawaii's Republican governor Linda Lingle has pardoned 71 people since taking office in 2002. Lingle granted pardons to only five individuals in 2007, saying that they had "proven their ability to lead law-abiding lives and to be productive members of our community."

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