Sen. Fevella asks Gov. Ige to veto bail reform bill
In a letter addressed to Governor David Ige, Senator Kurt Fevella (District 19 – ‘Ewa Beach, Ocean Pointe, ‘Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point, a portion of ‘Ewa Villages) requested that the governor veto House Bill 1567, HD1, SD1, CD1 relating to criminal pretrial reform.
Sen. Fevella said that if Gov. Ige signs the bill into law, the use of monetary bail would be eliminated. Also, defendants could be ordered by the courts to be released on their own recognizance for traffic offenses, violations, nonviolent petty misdemeanor offenses, nonviolent misdemeanor offenses, or nonviolent class C felony offenses.
Sen. Fevella said he voted against the bail reform bill at Final Reading because he shares concerns of constituents regarding the potential for the automatic release of a defendant for ‘nonviolent,’ but dangerous class C felony offenses. The list includes:
- Second degree burglary
- Aggravated harassment by stalking
- Third and fourth degree arson
- First and second degree violation of privacy
- First and second degree promoting gambling
- Promoting pornography
- Habitual solicitation of prostitution
- First and second degree negligent injury
- Second degree unlawful imprisonment
- Unauthorized possession of confidential personal information
- Identity theft
In the letter to the governor, the senator expressed that he understands the bail reform bill attempts to reduce unnecessary pretrial incarceration. However, he countered that the offenses listed above are serious enough to veto the bill. He said the measure, “establishes a blanket policy for releasing suspects without posting bail.”
During a press briefing last week, Gov. Ige said during the pandemic jails were overcrowded. “We were working with the judiciary and had come to an agreement and a process to evaluate pre-trial detainees who were in the jails and release those we felt that would not pose a danger to the community.”
“As you are aware, there was significant bail reform made in the 2019 session. I just want to make certain that we are balancing the safety of the community against fair treatment,” said Gov. Ige. He noted that in the instance of COVID, when many were released, “there were several that reoffended.”
Gov. Ige said he will be doing a legal review of the measure. “It really is about trying to balance the safety of our community against equitable treatment for those who are pre-trail detainees. I did see a concern, especially during the pandemic, when we went through all of the pre-trail detainees and had to release some.”
“Certainly I think the number who ended up re-offending, really would call into question whether blanket kinds of policies like no-bail, really would be able to protect the community in the best way,” said Gov. Ige.