Thursday, July 18, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Tuesday, May 25, 2021
Fixing Hawaii's COVID-19 citation nightmare
By Keli'i Akina PhD @ 4:01 AM :: 2571 Views :: Law Enforcement, COVID-19

Fixing Hawaii's COVID-19 citation nightmare

Public defender says SB540 better than creating a new criminal class 

Hawaii Together with Keli’i Akina, May 24, 2021

The state judiciary system is swamped, and thousands of residents stand to gain criminal records for violating COVID-19 restrictions

Tens of thousands of Hawaii residents have received citations since March of last year for violating the governor’s ever-changing and often-confusing COVID-19 emergency orders, which means we soon could be having tens of thousands of Hawaii residents with criminal records.

That is an emergency in itself, according to State Public Defender James Tabe, guest on Keli'i Akina’s latest “Hawaii Together” program on the ThinkTech Hawaii network. 

Tabe and other judiciary officials have been trying to stave off the criminalization of so many Hawaii residents via the enactment of SB540, now awaiting an up or down decision from Gov. David Ige.

“Last summer, at one point toward the end,” Tabe told Akina, “there were 60,000 criminal citations for violating an emergency order on Oahu alone. Now, for perspective, … in 2019, the island of Oahu only had 20,000 criminal cases. Just this one type of offense has tripled that figure."

Being criminal cases, the citations have swamped the state judiciary system. For those cited, having a criminal record can be devastating, especially considering the benign nature of many of the offenses.

"I think last year (2020) was the first time we had brand new alleged criminals, so to speak," Tabe. “When you’re being charged with a misdemeanor offense like the emergency order violation, if you’re found guilty, it’s a crime. It’ll go on your permanent criminal record. This is a big deal, because if you ever fill the job application or scholarships or just questions, ‘Have you ever been convicted of a crime,’ this is something where you have to check ‘yes’ on.”

According to a legislative summary, SB540 “Allows for lesser emergency period penalties to be adopted by the governor or a mayor. Allows for the emergency period infractions to be processed under the traffic adjudication process. Allows electronic copies of notices of infractions, infraction adjudication hearings, and notices of infraction judgments to be sent via electronic mail. Grants the district court concurrent jurisdiction over emergency period rule infractions committed by minors.”

SB540: Text, Status


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii