By Charles Memminger
Free Bumpy. Seriously. Free him. He's making everyone look like a bunch of big dummies.
He's not a flight risk. He's not a danger to the community. And, frankly, he's getting way too much publicity.
Holding Bumpy Kanahele without bail pending another trial is just silly. When you consider all the people who we let walk the streets who are really a danger to the community, holding Bumpy is ridiculous.
A state judge let a guy go free who was convicted of killing someone with a baseball bat. Maybe I'm old fashioned. But I think people who brutally kill people with baseball bats are a danger to the community.
Bumpy has never killed anyone with a baseball bat.
There was another guy recently arrested for killing his third woman. His third. He was convicted of killing two women. He's innocent until proven guilty of killing that third woman. But he killed two. There's no doubt about that. He was let out of jail after killing two women. Call me naive, but I would propose that he was a danger to the community. I would propose that after he killed his first human being, he should have been put in prison until he was so old that the key part of his wardrobe was a Depends diaper. After being convicted of killing his second human being, he should have been buried in a Depends diaper. Our system of justice decided he was not a danger to the community.
Bumpy never killed three women. He pointed a gun at a cop almost ten years ago. And he went to prison for it.
Every day, police arrest people for murder, rape, robbery and assault and then "release them on their own recognizance pending further investigation."
They feel these people are not a danger to the community.
But, you say, it is the state court system or city and county police who find that people who repeatedly kill, rob and rape are not a danger to the community. Kanahele is in the federal justice system, where the game is completely different. The federal system is big-time. It is serious. In the federal system, all the government has to do is accuse you of being a danger and then you have to prove that you're not.
The trouble is, most people don't know the difference between state and federal justice. In their minds, and probably rightly so, there is either justice or there isn't. There is either fairness or there isn't. People are either a danger to the community, or they're not.
Justice, fairness and the concept of dangerousness shouldn't change simply because the suspect is being held in a building on the Ewa side of Punchbowl Street rather than the Diamond Head side.
It is expecting a little too much of the average person to pick up on such subtleties. What they see is one big system, not a bunch of different little ones with different rules.
What they see is a system wracked by inconsistencies. It is a system where male police officers can force a female suspect to strip and pose for naughty Polaroids right in the police station and then have the audacity to indict her for prostitution. (I'd say the community is in danger when the cops don't know the difference between booking and groping.)
It is a system where a convicted sex abuser can lie about his past and end up on a federal jury and nobody notices until the trial is over. And then, because the system screwed up by putting this joker on the jury, the defendant - in this case Bumpy - has to remain in prison awaiting a new trial.
It's time to free Bumpy and for the system to get it's act together. It Bumpy's case, they are simply making a martyr out of a molehill.
So far, the biggest danger to the community has been the system itself.
Charles Memminger, winner of National Society of Newspaper Columnists awards in 1994 and 1992, writes "Honolulu Lite" Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Write to him at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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