Former trustee admits guilt in Lanikai car chase


POSTED: Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A former Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate trustee pleaded guilty yesterday to two petty misdemeanors and driving under the influence of an intoxicant in a plea deal with prosecutors that allows him to keep his law practice.

Gerard Jervis evaded criminal charges in the case, in which he drove drunk as he chased teens who egged his house. Jervis was arrested March 7 after the sport utility vehicle he was chasing ended up suspended on a utility pole guy wire.

Police alleged Jervis had rammed the SUV, but his attorney, Victor Bakke, said his client was merely pursuing the SUV to get the teens to stop or, alternatively, to get the license plate number.

“;He was never trying to ram them,”; he said, adding the two vehicles were traveling too fast around a corner. “;He was driving a $50,000 car.”;

The matter was “;blown out of proportion, and they rushed to judgment,”; he said. “;When they heard Jervis, it pricked their attention. They set bail at $40,000.

“;If prosecutors would have just taken a breath, rather than rushing to judgment,”; they would never have charged him with any felonies, he contends.

Jervis had faced criminal charges of first-degree terroristic threatening, but that was downgraded to reckless driving, a petty misdemeanor. He also pleaded guilty to harassment and driving under the influence of an intoxicant.

Jervis blood alcohol content was 0.1, above the 0.08 legal limit.

Jim Fulton, spokesman for the city prosecutor's office, said the criminal property damage felony charge was dropped because of the inability to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

Sentencing is set for April 17. Jervis faces a maximum of one year's probation or a maximum 65 days in jail, if the sentences run back to back, and a maximum $1,000 fine, Bakke said.

The trial was scheduled for March 30, but the two sides came to an agreement yesterday and the judge accepted the plea during a scheduling conference.

As an attorney, Jervis would have had to surrender his law license had he been convicted of a felony and gone through a grievance process, Bakke said.

Bakke acknowledged his client was angry and yelled at people, but understandably so after the teens threw eggs at his 9-year-old daughter's window, he said.

Jervis is willing to testify against the Saint Louis School students, who would never have been prosecuted had he gone to trial, since Prosecutor Peter Carlisle would have granted the teenagers immunity to testify against his client, Bakke said.

By pleading to the charges, it “;now opens the door to prosecuting them,”; Bakke said. It will “;now be interesting to see what Carlisle will do,”; he said.

Jervis was one of five Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate trustees who resigned or were forced out after exposure of the mismanagement of the multimillion-dollar trust that funded the schools. Jervis was also involved in a scandal with a lawyer who killed herself after the two were caught having sex in a Waikiki hotel restroom in March 1999.