by Karen Ann Hunt
Karen’s Law is scheduled for a hearing before the Judiciary and Government Operations Committee this Monday April 6 at 10:00am in conference room 016. Chair Brian Taniguchi has decided to hear the bill thanks to your support!!!!
Karen’s Law will face its toughest opposition in the Senate Judiciary Committee. We will need all of your support and help in making sure this bill gets passed. If you haven’t already submitted your personal testimony on behalf of this legislation, please do so. The email address is JGOtestimony@capiotl.hawaii.gov . Also, please cc the rest of the senate at email@example.com . If you are able to come in and testify in person on behalf of this measure, we would greatly appreciate it.
"Karen's Law," HB819HD2, has come a long way this legislative session after it was killed last year in the House Judiciary Committee by former Chair, Tommy Waters. HB819HD2, introduced by Representative Pine and Representative Mizuno, would mandate that juveniles, 15-17 years of age charged with first or second degree murder, be automatically tried as an adult. "Karen's Law," HB819HD2, would save the taxpayers' money in facing this financial deficit by cutting court proceedings down from two to one.
As the law currently stands, juvenile crime offenders, charged with 1st or 2nd degree murder can face two trials, one to determine which court to try them in and then another trial to decide guilt or innocence. Representative Jon Riki Karamatsu, a primary introducer of the bill explained: "The path to justice is never an easy one. In cases like Karen Ertell’s, we find ourselves trying to achieve that very delicate balance of making sure that adolescents are treated appropriately, while seeking justice for the victim and their families. It is our job as lawmakers to ensure that we enact well thought-out laws that serve in the best interest of our residents."
On May 25, 2007, Karen Ertell was brutally raped and murdered in her home in Ewa Beach. Karen Ertell was the only real mother that her foster daughter, Melanie McLellan had ever known. Melanie describes Karen Ertell as a giving, loving person who saw the best in people, and who was a vibrant woman whose life was very full. Karen owned her own business – Koko Crater Coffee Roasters and was expecting her first grandchild. Melanie was nine months pregnant with Karen's grandson. Her senseless murder also left behind her loving partner – Kevin Callahan, her heart-broken mother and family, and hundreds of friends and business associates.
Please call Representative Kymberly Pine or Chief of Staff for Representative Kymberly Pine, Sarah Hunt, at 586-9730 for further questions.