Let’s rebuild the police-public relationship and encourage a culture of transparency. Refocus our resources and energy on the protection of all people on Big Island.

Hawaiʻi County Police report:

  • Hawaiʻi County’s total Index, violent, and property crime rates all increased by approximately 7.0% in 2017.
  • From 2016 to 2017:  Reported rapes increased 21.8% in rate.
  • From 2016 to 2017:  Reported aggravated assaults increased 2.3% in rate
  • From 2016 to 2017:  Reported robberies increased 10.1% in rate.

Asset Forfeiture:

The involuntary relinquishment of money or property without compensation as a consequence of a breach or nonperformance of some legal obligation or the commission of a crime. We are referencing those that are exercised by the state or federal government. 

Congress and state legislatures maintain statutes that allow law enforcement to seize property on suspicion of criminal activity. The property can be forfeited to the government upon conviction. In many cases, forfeiture to the government occurs without criminal prosecution.

Source: https://www.countable.us

Civil forfeiture requires no conviction to seize someone’s assets.

Source: Policing for Profit Visualized: How Big Is Civil Forfeiture?

Negotiating with someone’s property, tips the scales. It can tie the plea deal to an asset. Whether implied or offered this situation stacks the odds against our citizens.

Recent Decision; Tyson Timbs Wins Civil Forfeiture Case, Timbs v. Indiana.

We want to make sure that Due Process is in place for everyone.

Civil or Criminal?

Burden of proof is then on the individual to prove that their possessions were not connected to the charge.

In criminal court the burden of proof would be on the state, so they often want to do this as a civil forfeiture.

If they are going to take the property then what do they have to prove?

“Just 13% of Justice Department forfeitures followed conviction.”

Source: Institute For Justice

Equitable sharing refers to a program in which local law enforcement can seize property, turn it over the federal  government, and then get up to 80% of what they collected back. With Equitable Sharing, in cases involving civil forfeiture, police can “skirt state restrictions on the use of funds”, according to New Yorker writer Sarah Stillman, meaning that local police can evade their own state’s rules against forfeitures or restricting use of forfeitures.

The Washington Post in 2014 analyzed 400 seizures in 17 states which were examples of Equitable sharing arrangements. According to the analysis, police can stop motorists, possibly under the pretext of a minor traffic infraction, and “analyze” the intentions of motorists by assessing nervousness, and request permission to search the vehicle without a warrant, hoping to find cash or other valuables possibly involved in illegal activity.[5] Of the 400 seizures studied by the Washington Post, police did not make any arrests, causing critics to speculate that the seizures were not related to real criminal activity but were symptomatic of corruption

“The Post found that local and state police routinely pulled over drivers for minor traffic infractions, pressed them to agree to warrantless searches and seized large amounts of cash without evidence of wrongdoing. The law allows such seizures and forces the owners to prove their property was legally acquired in order to get it back.

Police spent the seizure proceeds with little oversight, in some cases buying luxury cars, high-powered weapons and military-grade gear such as armored cars, according to an analysis of Justice Department data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/holder-ends-seized-asset-sharing-process-that-split-billions-with-local-state-police/2015/01/16/0e7ca058-99d4-11e4-bcfb-059ec7a93ddc_story.html

Matching Funds:

Federal, state, and local agencies share responsibility for enforcing the Nation’s drug laws, although most arrests are made by state and local authorities.

Article: Rolling Stone Magazine www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/the-drug-war-where-the-money-goes-100201/

“Millions of hard-core drug users continue to have untrammeled access to heroin, cocaine and other substances, while more than 100,000 Americans are arrested every month in an unending procession into prisons and jails.”

HCCC (Hawaiʻi Community Correctional Center)

We don’t need a seven story high-rise jail right in the heart of town. My idea is a community farm outside of town, and I want to have the prisoners actually working on the farm, ranching, growing their own food and enough to make money and we are going to pay them so that they have money in their pocket when they get out, which is opposite of what is happening right now.

On Prisons:

“The largest single component of the War on Drugs – one-eighth of total spending – is absorbed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a Justice Department agency that operates 90 facilities nationwide. More than 109,000 prisoners are held in federal penitentiaries, federal correctional institutions, prison camps, medical centers and contract facilities, approximately 60 percent of them for drug offenses; just 15 years ago, only one-fourth of the 28,000 federal prisoners were held on drug charges.

Thirty percent of inmates are addicted or drug-dependent, and in 1996 at least 12,000 inmates passed through the bureau’s drug-education program, a 30- to 40-hour course run by drug-treatment specialists from the Psychological Services Department. Another 7,000 hard-core drug users volunteered for an intensive residential program lasting six to 12 months, and they usually lived in a separate, segregated unit or cell block. Though funds for drug treatment are severely lacking in state and local prisons and jails, everyone in federal facilities who requests treatment gets it, says Bureau spokeswoman Beth Weinman. But, she adds, “We don’t do methadone maintenance in prisons. Don’t forget, these people are criminals.” For ’98, the Bureau of Prisons is requesting $94 million for new prison construction to house drug offenders, which would create 1,216 additional beds.” 

Article: Rolling Stone Magazine “The Drug War Where the Money Goes

Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment

Support for existing programs and creating resources to fill gaps.

Lifting up everyone in Hawai’i

  1. Mental and physical health, welfare, and compassion
  2. Creating a future beyond bars

Examples of successful correctional facilities with community farming programs;

20 Organizations Planting the Seeds for Food Justice in Prisons (source: foodtank.com/news)