Letters to the Editor

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Say aloha to Dobelle and regents, too

Now that University of Hawaii President Evan Dobelle -- first fired and now resigned -- has moved on, I think the members of the Board of Regents also need to move on, but only after they pay Dobelle's $1 million-plus settlement out of their own pockets. That is the purpose of carrying personal "errors and omissions" insurance.

Dennis Yamamoto

Mark's life sentence comforts fellow officer

As a patrol sergeant for the Honolulu Police Department who is now serving in Operation Enduring Freedom, I discovered with great relief that Judge Ahn handed out a sentence of life without parole for Shane Mark in the death of officer Glen Gaspar.

This will never bring back my brother officer, high school classmate and friend, but hopefully it will allow Glen to finally rest in peace. I pray that Glen's family, friends and loved ones also will find peace.

As for me, I will continue to miss Glen, but his strength, courage and heroism will forever be with me. Aloha my brother.

Capt. Stan Garcia
Kandahar, Afghanistan

Mark may seek appeal, but judge was on target

Your Aug. 4 editorial, "Flawed sentence shows need for law change," states that Shane Mark's sentencing "is not likely to withstand an appeal" as it "exceeds (Judge Ahn's) authority" and "flies in the face" of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The issue is not a "flawed" sentencing, but an editorial conclusion based upon a flawed premise.

Mark's sentence was not based, as you state, upon the statute allowing enhanced sentences where the killing is "especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel ... " Indeed, Hawaii's courts have long held that a jury must make such unanimous findings in order for the court to consider enhanced sentences. Hawaii case law predates, but is fully consistent with the recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

An entirely different statute was applied in Mark's sentencing -- a statute that permits extended terms of imprisonment where the defendant meets specific criteria. (See HRS 706-662). Here, there were predicate findings that the defendant was a persistent and multiple offender whose criminal actions were so extensive that extended sentencing was necessary to protect the public. Extended terms based on prior convictions are specifically exempted from the recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

Whether Judge Ahn's sentence comports with Hawaii law may, of course, be a subject of appeal, but your editorial presumed the sentence was based on a statute it was not.

Christine Hirasa
Public Information Officer
Hawaii State Judiciary

Technology helps HPD provide quality service

The Honolulu Police Department would like to thank the Star-Bulletin for the July 24 article "New system speeds police work." The successful development of mobile computing technology would not have been accomplished without the participation of the city's Department of Information Technology.

Our partnership with the DIT has enabled us to deploy state-of-the-art systems to provide the best quality of police services and protection for the community. The HPD acknowledges the DIT's vital role in this project.

Glen R. Kajiyama
Acting Chief of Police

Soldier deserves medal for exposing abuse

Does the Army have a medal for courage in the face of possible hostility from a soldier's superiors and fellow troops? Such a medal for telling the truth, however unpopular, should go to Spc. Joseph Darby, who first alerted authorities to what happened at Abu Ghraib.

Darby did not go to West Point, but he seems to have learned the meaning of honor, integrity and responsibility. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld should pin the medal on Darby himself, just before he resigns from his post.

Peter Rosegg

Case voted against marriage amendment

It seems ironic that the Star-Bulletin's poll shows 67 percent of Hawaii voters favor Ed Case for re-election to Congress (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 9). It is almost that same percentage that voted down same-sex marriage in 1998.

I wonder how many Case supporters realize that he does not support the Federal Marriage Amendment, has failed to speak out against the push to legalize same-sex marriage and against the activist judges who are ignoring the will of the majority of Americans who support keeping marriage defined as between one man and one woman.

This is a black-and-white issue, either you are for same-sex marriage or against it.

Voters need to educate themselves about candidates and make informed choices.

James Roller




Hawaii's police officers are forced to endure the tropical heat and humidity in dark blue uniforms. It must get pretty uncomfortable, especially for the solo-bike officers. So this month's question is: If you could design a new uniform for our hard-working public safety officers, what would it look like? (Be nice!) Think about material, color, footwear and the different departments (patrol, detectives, solo bike, bicycle ...). We'd love to hear from members of our police force for this one, too.

Send your ideas -- include your name, address and phone number -- by Aug. 20 to:

Or by mail:
c/o Nancy Christenson
500 Ala Moana
7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Or by fax:
c/o Nancy Christenson



How to write us

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

Letter form: Online form, click here
Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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