Baldwin wins court order allowing him to come home

Gary J. Baldwin, a man Arizona law-enforcement officials feel may be a flight risk, has been given Hawai’i state judicial permission to return to Kaua’i.

He has been back on this island a week today, working out of his Waipake home. Attorney Philip H. Lowenthal of Maui successfully initiated a stipulation agreement amending terms and conditions of Baldwin’s bail.

It was signed last Friday by Lowenthal, state Deputy Attorney General Lisa Itomura, and O’ahu First Circuit Court Judge Reynaldo Graulty. Graulty earlier ordered Baldwin to remain on O’ahu if Baldwin made bail during an extradition hearing last month.

During that hearing, a question was raised, according to the stipulation document, about a possible cooperation problem between law-enforcement authorities on Kaua’i. It was shown that no such problem exists, and based on that discovery Lowenthal requested Baldwin be able to live on Kaua’i “while he is admitted to bail.”

Graulty and Itomura agreed, and Baldwin was back on Kaua’i that same day.

He is living at the same Kapuna Road home where Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and Kauai Police Department officers arrested him on Monday, July 22, on the federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Back in 1986, Baldwin was indicted by a Maricopa County (Phoenix), Ariz. grand jury for allegedly defrauding an eye surgeon there out of over $330,000, according to the FBI.

Also according to the FBI, when Baldwin found out about the indictment, charging him with four felony theft counts and a felony fraud count, he left a suicide note and disappeared.

Baldwin and Lowenthal are contesting extradition proceedings, which are next set for Thursday, Aug. 22 or Friday, Aug. 23, when an O’ahu Circuit Court convenes a governor’s warrant hearing.

During extradition proceedings last month, according to court records, Baldwin agreed there was probable cause to proceed, but waived his right only as to an immediate hearing to ascertain his identity as that of the person sought by Arizona officials, and to exercise his right to request issuance of a governor’s warrant and a hearing after issuance of the warrant to determine whether or not the state of Hawai’i lawfully arrested him under that warrant and is lawfully holding him for delivery to Arizona agents.

Lowenthal did not return telephone calls yesterday seeking comment on the case.

Itomura said her signature on the bail-amending document allowing Baldwin to come back to Kaua’i doesn’t mean the state doesn’t consider Baldwin a flight risk, only that Baldwin is complying with orders of the court.

He still must check in with Honolulu Police Department detectives on a daily basis (by 8:30 a.m.), and there is no specific evidence that would require him to remain on O’ahu, Itomura said.

Had Baldwin chosen not to fight extradition last month, he would be in Arizona already, said Itomura, adding that a request to amend bail conditions is a rarity in extradition cases, because normally the state that wants the suspect requests that no bail be allowed, or a very high bail amount be set.

And even though it appears Baldwin will continue to contest extradition, once Arizona Gov. Jane Dee Hull signs extradition documents requesting Gov. Ben Cayetano to release Baldwin into the hands of Arizona officials for the flight to Phoenix, only limited courtroom arguments can be heard, Itomura explained.

Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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