State briefs for May 12
Sailor killed in Pearl Harbor attack identified
HONOLULU (AP) — The U.S. military identified the remains of a sailor from Maryland who was killed in the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency says Navy Chief Petty Officer Albert Hayden served on the USS Oklahoma. The agency says the 44-year-old is slated to be buried next Wednesday in Morganza, Md., near his hometown of Mechanicsville.
Japanese planes hit the Oklahoma with multiple torpedoes 75 years ago, causing the battleship to capsize quickly. The military wasn’t able to identify most of the 429 men killed on the Oklahoma and buried hundreds as “unknowns.”
The agency began digging up their remains last year, saying advances in forensic science and technology have made identification more feasible.
The first Oklahoma unknown to be identified was buried in March.
Court interpreter service gets top national ranking
HONOLULU (AP) — A national report ranks Hawaii’s state court system No. 1 in the country for providing support to those with limited English proficiency.
The Hawaii Judiciary offers court interpreters in 45 different languages, but officials still struggle with finding enough qualified interpreters to satisfy the demand.
The top ranking comes after the U.S. Department of Justice last year closed its review of Hawaii’s language access program. The department intervened in 2012 and provided assistance after receiving complaints about state court language services.
The National Center for Access to Justice rankings released Wednesday also place Hawaii third for overall access to justice.
The report measures accessibility in four categories: attorney access for low-income litigants, support for litigants representing themselves without an attorney, language access support and help for those with disabilities.
Inmate serving life sentence dies
HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — Officials say the former owner of a Guam karaoke lounge serving life in prison for running a prostitution operation at the business died of natural causes.
Song Ja Cha, 74, died Monday at a hospital. Department of Corrections official Carla Borja said Cha was taken to the hospital after telling prison staff she hadn’t been feeling well. Her condition worsened and she was placed on life support before being pronounced dead later that day, Borja said.
It is unclear if Cha had pre-existing medical conditions, which could have led to her death.
Cha was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted in 2012 of federal crimes related to human trafficking and prostitution.
Authorities said she persuaded women and girls from Chuuk to come to Guam by promising them good-paying jobs. Once they arrived, she allegedly forced them to work at the Blue House lounge in Tamuning, which secretly operated as a brothel. There were nine victims in the case.
Cha appealed her conviction in February. Her attorney, Jonathan Libby, argued that sentencing an elderly woman to life behind bars was unreasonable.
The prostitution case also led to the convictions of two former Guam police officers, Anthony Quenga and David Manila. They were found guilty in 2013 of several crimes including kidnapping, rape and promoting prostitution. But some of their convictions were vacated following a December 2015 ruling by the Supreme Court of Guam.
They will be resentenced.
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