Your Views for September 9


We deserve better

It would be nice to have a prosecutor who will participate in policy matters, including police investigation competence, conduct and reports. Also, a prosecutor who sets policy for other deputies to go out and help police investigate the cases.

For example, Mitch Roth (a candidate for prosecutor) investigated and found security camera evidence of the crime scene at Hualalai and Kinoole, involving the man who ran over the moped driver, dragging him down the road until he flopped off the bike. Mitch called police detectives, and they recovered two videotapes. The result was a recent negligent homicide conviction. But I have other concerns, too.

1. Why does our county not have a master list of all stolen items reported to police for the past two decades? We used to have a master list. How can police match serial numbers or property described in burglary cases still not closed? How can you, a victim, know that your complaint was properly recorded if you cannot refer to a master list?

2. Explain to me why it took Hawaii County police 2 ½ years to classify as a homicide a body found with a bullet in the head? Did the bulldozer — engine running and on idle, the track on top of the body — create a two-year state of confusion?

3. Why is it we do not have a accident reconstruction expert witness, assigned to either police or the prosecutor’s office, who is not a sworn police officer and need not rely only on someone else’s report to prove a fact beyond a reasonable doubt? Someone who takes their own pictures and their own measurements at major accident scenes?

I attended the national second annual DWI Accident Reconstruction Seminar three decades ago. That, along with my experience representing auto accident victims and defending people accused of crimes involving motor vehicles, makes me competent to state an opinion about accident reconstruction expert witness testimony, and proving a case.

4. Why are some police reports not supported — or in fact contradicted — by physical evidence involving the same case? Example: A case where digital video recorded by witnesses of the incident contradicted several officers’ written reports. The evidence resulted in the case dismissal. That was not my case.

I also know of a case where the physical evidence was different than the officer’s sworn testimony. The jury verdict was “not guilty.” My client did not file suit.

These are not the only cases I am aware of where some members of the public are complaining that some police are making up facts in their reports. The public deserves better supervision of these officers.

I’ve been in the criminal law business for three decades, on both the prosecution and the criminal defense sides of cases. I have a lot of experience in these matters. One reason for pointing out these problems is so that all those running for office in Hawaii County, every office, are reminded that there is room for improvement in our government.

I acknowledge police have a very difficult job. But police need guidance, too, from senior police officers as well as the chief prosecutor. Their collaborative efforts would greatly increase effective, fair and timely justice for citizens in Hawaii County.

Police are charged with protecting and serving us; this letter reminds us all of our rights and responsibilities.

For these reasons, and with the hope that the concerns I have raised can be addressed by the office of the prosecutor, I am voting for Mitch Roth.

Gerard Lee Loy

Hilo attorney

What a waste

The state spent $700,000 on a statue for UH-Hilo (Tribune-Herald, Sept. 7). Really?

Didn’t the kids just get their tuition hiked? Shame on you guys!

A. Yamamoto

Hilo

 

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