CAT stands for Citizens Against Thieves. Our goal is to form an alliance with local officials, the police and the Criminal Justice system. Our mission is to work in unison to insure a safer environment on Kauai. Use the email link to join our mailing list, receive our newsletters and add your support to our efforts.
On October 19, 2012, CAT's first meeting tool place. The following officials were in attendance:
Sue Kanaho (Mayor's Crime Task Force and Kauai Visitors Bureau), Derek Kawakami (State Legislature Rep from Kauai), Lt. Scott Kaui (District Commander KPD), Shaylene Carvalho (Prosecuting Attorney) and Wanda Kau Shibata (Governor's Representative, Kauai). Although both Kim Foster (Supervisor of Probation) and Judge Watanabee were asked to attend, both declined. CAT membership was represented by 15 persons from the Princeville Neighborhood Watch, resort managers and Northshore homeowners.
Representative Kawakami did a great job explaining the Justice Reinvestent Act(JRI) and how the State Legislature is trying to improve the Criminal Justice System (CJS). Lack of funding is the problem. We residents of Kauai need more judges, more correctional facilities and altered laws that make the CJS work.
Lt. Kaui said that although the police make arrests, they cannot keep thieves off the streets without convictions and jail times. There are flaws with our current system . Kauai has two empty courtrooms and only two judges. The current average time between arrest and trial is five months. During that period, the accused are released and frequently commit further thievery. By the time he appears in court, a person might have been arrested multiple times. But he is tried for each offense individually. Therefore a person arrested 4 or 5 times will be tried as a first offender since US law is based upon the principle of "innocent until proven guilty." Judges fail to sentence jail time; due in part to leniency for first offenders as well as a crowded jail facility. Therefore criminals get parole and are back on the street.
PA Carvalho explained why CJS is not working well. Current shortage of judges is causing the 5 month delays in bringing accused to trial. In many cases, judges continue the trials or defendants fail to show for court dates. The difficulty in getting a witness to attend several continued court dates makes convictions hard. The current rules of evidence need to be changed, also.
Sue Kanoho introduced the meeting to the goals of the Mayors Crime Task Force. She asked that CAT consider ways to work with them.
Break-ins and robberies have damaged the Aloha lifestyle on Kauai. The constant threat of thievery has made residents and visitors fearful for homes, valuables and personal safety. The negative effect on tourism, which comprises over 70% of our economy, could have a ruinous affect on our island.According to the Kauai Police Department, increased drug use has contributed to the rise in crime. Drug users rob in order to support their habit. A large portion of the robberies are perpetuated by repeat offenders.Our Criminal Justice System needs to function better to curb this increased crime rate. A priority in law enforcement should be to remove the professional criminals from our community. THE KPD needs the ability to apprehend these repeat offenders. To accomplish this goal, the police require more public support. The department requires the equipment and the manpower necessary to get the job done.The Prosecuting Attorney needs to be enabled to procure convictions for criminals. The State Legislature must pass new laws to aid these convictions. The proposal to allow video testimony in trial is a good beginning. The Prosecuting Attorneys must ask for longer terms and more strict sentencing for repeat offenders. Law makers should pass legislation to help the Criminal Justice System function. Sufficient funding must be appropriated to cover expenses for adequate prisons and law enforcement needs.Our judges must impose stiff sentences in order to remove the professional criminals from our community.
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Break-ins and robberies have damaged the Aloha lifestyle on our island .