Wednesday, May 19, 1999


Former cop
gets prison term

Her addiction to 'ice' leads
to a five-year sentence
on 11 charges

By Debra Barayuga


Police officer. Drug addict. Convicted criminal. And now inmate.

Elizabeth Savage, 33, hit rock bottom because of her addiction to crystal methamphetamine.

Yesterday, she apologized to the courts, her family and friends for the wrongs she has done and asked for a chance at rehabilitation.

"I am not a bad person," said Savage, who spent six years as a police officer before she resigned from the force in March 1996. "I am a drug addict who does bad things to feed my addiction."

Circuit Judge John Lim yesterday sentenced Savage to five years on 11 previous charges of attempted theft, second-degree theft and second-degree forgery and revoked her probation on those charges.

Under two new charges of second-degree theft and forgery, he sentenced her to five years also to be served concurrently, with a mandatory minimum of three years and four months for being a repeat offender.

She had been charged with attempting to cash a bogus check using fake identification.

She also received five years, to be served concurrently, for breaking into a car.

Savage was initially sentenced in 1997 to a year in jail and five years' probation for the earlier offenses.

Deputy public defender Tammy Kaneshiro had sought a lower mandatory minimum -- less than five years -- for Savage so that the Paroling Authority could work with her to assist in her transition back into society.

Kaneshiro called the sentence "fair."

"Whatever happens, she's made bad choices and whatever the consequences, she will accept it," she said.

Kaneshiro had argued that people who are addicted to "ice" usually enter into several drug treatment programs and repeatedly relapse. "It usually takes them to hit rock bottom before they're ready to address their problem," she said. "This is where (Savage) is at -- rock bottom -- and she's ready to address it."

Lim, who presides over Drug Court, which gives drug offenders an alternative to incarceration, told Savage that while he recognized how addictive ice can be, her addiction did not excuse her behavior. He said he hoped she would use her time while incarcerated to address her problem.

"It's been really hard for her," said Kaneshiro, who knew Savage in elementary school. "She took a lot of pride in being a police officer and being able to protect and serve the community."

But ice does not discriminate and affects people from all walks of life, she said. Savage is very remorseful and ashamed, but she is taking responsibility for her actions and wants to move forward, Kaneshiro said.

The judge rejected the state's motion for an extended term, saying he didn't feel she was a threat to the public. Kaneshiro had argued earlier that Savage has strong family ties and comes from a Christian family. Savage's father is a minister. Savage also wants to repay society and hopes one day to assist others whose lives have been destroyed by ice.

If the terms ran consecutively, she could have faced more than 50 years in prison, said Deputy Prosecutor Martin Romualdez.

The state had asked for consecutive sentences on the latest charges and a mandatory minimum of five years for repeat offenders.

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin