Friday, July 15, 2005

Bu La‘ia to have
clean record when
probation done

HILO » A local comedian who ran for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs last year was given the chance to have three criminal convictions removed from his record -- if he completes the last three months of probation without getting into any more trouble.


Shawn Kaui Hill: The local comedian who has run for office agrees to plead guilty to resisting arrest

Shawn Kaui Hill, who is also known as Bu La'ia, was sentenced in October to a year of probation for resisting arrest in an altercation at a Hilo flooring store.

Hill, 39, who lives in Kula, Maui, waived his right to attend a court hearing Monday at which his attorney, deputy public defender David Kuwahara, asked Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura to accept deferred pleas from Hill.

The judge agreed to the deferred pleas, which will essentially wipe Hill's convictions from his record, but denied a request to end Hill's probation early.

Hill's guilty plea to resisting arrest and no-contest pleas to two counts of harassment would go on his record only if he gets into trouble before his probation ends.

"Hopefully, he will make it without incident," Nakamura said.

Hill had tried to flee after he was taken into custody for allegedly threatening two men at the Pacific Island Floors store on March 31, 2004, prosecutors said. A store employee said Hill had tried to provoke a fight by throwing a coconut and a padlock at him and then throwing a broom and metal can at his boss, according to authorities.

Kuwahara stressed that Hill has since complied with the terms of his probation, and asked the judge to discharge Hill from the last three months of his sentence.

But Deputy Prosecutor Jason Skier argued that the charges arose out of Hill's "mental instability" that will "plague him throughout his entire life."

Hill, a comedian known for his local-style commentary on Hawaii life and politics as well as for his gap-tooth smile and Afro-style wig, ran for an at-large seat on the OHA board of trustees in November, receiving 38,372 votes. He ran for governor in 2002 as the Natural Law Party candidate and garnered 2,561 votes.

Kuwahara said the criminal convictions could hurt Hill's future plans.

"I think he is concerned about his image, and he has worked very hard since his sentence to show the court that he will stay out of trouble," Kuwahara said.

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