POSTED: Thursday, November 05, 2009

Meth-using mom gets probation, jail for fraud

A woman acquitted of manslaughter in the death of her newborn son even though she admitted using methamphetamine in the days leading up to his birth may go to jail in a different case for welfare fraud.

Circuit Judge Michael Town rejected Tayshea Aiwohi's request for a deferral of her guilty plea to second-degree theft, sentencing her instead yesterday to five years of probation and one year in jail.

However, Town suspended the jail term and said he would consider granting Aiwohi a deferral within the next six months if she stays out of trouble while on probation.

Aiwohi admitted failing to report to the state income she earned, which resulted in the state overpaying her $7,189 in food stamps and welfare assistance. Town ordered her to repay the money.

Aiwohi pleaded no contest to manslaughter in 2003 for recklessly causing her child's death by smoking methamphetamine while she was pregnant. The boy died two days after birth due to methamphetamine poisoning. The Hawaii Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 2005 because under state law, a fetus is not a person.


5 city workers indicted in alleged bribery, theft

A former supervisor in the city Street Sweeper Section approved the payment of overtime for three of his subordinates for work they didn't perform in return for kickbacks, according to state grand jury indictments returned this week.

One indictment charges Manuel R.K. Castro with second-degree theft, bribery and tampering with government records. All of the crimes occurred in January and February last year, the indictment said.

Castro has since retired.

Three other indictments charge Joseph A. Sardinha III, Lydell J. Herodies and Michael C. Domingo each with second-degree theft and bribery. A fifth indictment charges current supervisor Roman G. Thomas with second-degree theft.

All four current employees are on paid administrative leave pending disciplinary action, the city says.

The city says it discovered the theft during an investigation of the high volume of overtime in the Department of Facility Maintenance. The Street Sweeper Section is part of the department's Road Maintenance Division.



Man to serve year's jail term on weekends

HILO » A Big Island man convicted of drunken driving for the 14th time has been sentenced to a year in jail.

Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura has allowed 63-year-old Henry Moniz Jr. of Hilo to serve his sentence on weekends.

Nakamura earlier this week also imposed a six-month term because Moniz was driving while his license was suspended. It will run concurrently with the DUI sentence.

Deputy County Prosecutor Jason Skier said he was extremely disappointed with the sentence.

Noting Moniz has a criminal record with 62 convictions, including four felonies, Skier asked Nakamura to impose a five-year prison sentence.

Moniz's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Jennifer Wharton, argued her client is getting treatment for alcoholism from the Department of Veterans Affairs and should be sentenced to probation.