Judge Kelsey Kawano Ends Prosecution Of MauiTime Publisher Tommy Russo–No Probable Cause

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After nearly two years, Wailuku District Court Judge Kelsey Kawano has finally ended the travesty that was the case State of Hawaii v. Thomas Russo, the publisher of MauiTime. On Wednesday, July 9, Judge Kawano ruled that Maui Police Officers Rusty Lawson and John Fairchild had no probable cause to arrest Russo on Nov. 20, 2012 when he was photographing them on Haleakala Highway during their Operation Recon traffic stop and threw out the whole … [Read more...]

Hawaii Officials Adjust State’s Distracted Driving Law

State officials have modified Hawaii's distracted driving law, which first went into effect on July 1, 2013. When this law was first introduced, those caught using a mobile electronic device while driving would face a fine between $100 and $200, for a first offense, and they were required to appear in court. In the year that has passed since the law was established, the Maui Police Department alone has issued 968 citations for the use of mobile … [Read more...]

SHOPO Endorses Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa For Reelection

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That's right, folks: Tenari Ma'afala, the head of the all-powerful state police union who has worked long hours to make sure Hawaii residents aren't able to see the disciplinary records of active duty cops and who loathes our state's new law legalizing same-sex marriage so much that he testified before the state Legislature last year that he would refuse to enforce it has thrown his support (once again) behind Maui County Mayor Alan … [Read more...]

Maui Bravely Marches Into 20th Century In Search For New Police Chief

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A few days after Maui Police Chief Gary Yabuta announced that he was hanging up his hat and moving to Oahu to run a small, federally funded anti-drug office, an employee of the County of Maui stopped me. "What are you guys going to do if they chose a new Maui Police chief who's more to your liking?" the employee asked. I told the employee, who holds a position of some authority, that I thought that highly unlikely, but the employee wouldn't … [Read more...]

This Wednesday, May 28: Maui Police Commission To Start Pondering New Chief

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Last week, Maui Police Chief Gary Yabuta announced that he was ending his five-year reign as the department's honcho to head to Oahu for what is apparently a crappier desk job running the Hawaii High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area office thing (click here for more on Yabuta's exit). Anyway, the move seems to have caught the island off-guard, but the brave folks at the Maui Police Commission–who rarely miss a chance to tell the department that … [Read more...]

Special MauiTime Weekly News Quiz

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1. Last week, Pacific Biodiesel announced that it would be closing its Central Maui Landfill facility, which it’s operated for the last 20 years. What was the company’s reason, according to the Apr. 4 Pacific Business News? A. Compliance with County regulations required expensive upgrades and multiple permits B. The company always intended to close it at this time C. It’s more efficient to process biodiesel on the Big Island D. The … [Read more...]

National Accreditation Team Invites Public Input On Maui Police Department

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The Maui's Police Department's policies and procedures will come under scrutiny next month to determine if the department has made a concerted effort to maintain its professional status. A team of assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies will examine the department between April 14-17. The assessment is a voluntary process in order for the department to maintain accredited status and continue to meet CALEA's … [Read more...]

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa: ‘We lost two of our own last night’

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A few minutes before the Maui County officials' press conference today on last night's crash of an Maui Air charter flight on Lanai that killed three people and injured three more–five of which were county employees–a county staffer circulated the Mayor's Lounge, where the conference was to take place. As TV crews set up in the front of the room and county officials like Councilman Mike Victorino sat in the back, the staffer handed out small … [Read more...]

Maui News Reports That Maui PD Has Fired Officer Nelson Johnson

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Using the latest of those vague, ambiguous summaries of all the punishments the Maui Police Department serves on its own that state law requires them to release every few months, The Maui News has determined that Maui PD Officer Nelson Johnson–who was arrested back in November for allegedly abusing two of his young children–has, in fact, been terminated. State law prohibits the department from naming officers who've been sanctioned by Internal … [Read more...]

EEOC Sues Maui County Over 45-year-old Who Couldn’t Become A Maui Cop

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So it looks like the County of Maui is back in court over actions of the Maui Police Department. And it's not just anyone filing the suit, either–it's the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and they're hopping mad because they say the Maui PD unfairly discriminated against a 45-year-old who wanted to join their ranks. Here's an excerpt from an EEOC press release I got yesterday (Dec. 18): "According to the EEOC's suit, … [Read more...]