Fifth Circuit Court proceedings

Craig Nakaahiki, charged with first-degree theft for allegedly taking koa wood out of Koke’e, is awaiting an Oct. 7 trial in which he plans to represent himself.

In court, he made a statement to Judge Clifford Nakea from the audience. As a kanaka maoli, a descendant of the original people of Hawai’i, he said, numerous international laws protect his cultural and civil rights. This includes his right to gather wood on land forcibly taken from his ancestors and divided into private ownership.

In February and April 2001, Nakaahiki allegedly stole wood that belonged to the State of Hawai’i and the Kaua’i Coffee Company. The state would have to prove the wood was worth more than $20,000 To convict Nakaahiki of first-degree theft and that he exerted unauthorized control over the property with the intent to deprive the owners of it.

If convicted, he would face a maximum of 10 years incarceration and a $25,000 fine.

Eduardo Valenciana, father of two and small-business owner, was sentenced for simple trespassing and third-degree assault in a case in which he attacked his estranged wife’s boyfriend (the boyfriend was apparently married at the time) in front of their two young sons.

The Kaua’i County Council hopeful admitted that he was angry and jealous, but those were not the emotions that led him to assault the man. Instead, he was trying to protect his young sons. As a Hispanic, family is very important, he said.

Now he sees that if his ex-wife is doing OK, his sons will be OK, he said; he said his ex-wife and the man he assaulted are now engaged.

Nakea said he thought Valenciana “has the gift of talk” but hesitates to believe a person who talks a good talk, although Valenciana certainly did sound sincere. Nakea said he didn’t understand how Valenciana would be able to ignore his jealousy and anger after he saw his wife making out with another man.

Valenciana was sentenced to a $500 fine; a $50 fine to the crime victims’ compensation fund; 100 hours of community service; and he must complete an anger management course.

Cheryl Kreize, a Princeville woman charged with two counts of terroristic threatening and a pellet gun violation, accepted a plea agreement from the prosecutor’s office.

On March 6, an 8-year-old and a 9-year-old were selling juice on a street corner in Princeville, when Krieze told the kids to “beat it!” from her house and then shot some rounds from a Power-Master pellet gun with a black crosshair scope, according to investigation records, said First Deputy prosecutor Craig De Costa.

The children heard at least two shots as they scattered, and several friends of the woman and her husband confirmed the events.

The plea agreement would drop one terroristic threatening charge and the pellet gun violation. The second threatening charge may be deferred – if she complies with stipulated terms, her criminal record will not list the charge.

Keola Kaehu, 26, who faced bench warrants for failing to appear at sentencing for earlier drug convictions, was finally sentenced Thursday.

Kaehu earlier took plea agreements from the prosecutor’s office that reduced charges in two separate cases to two charges of promoting dangerous drugs in the third degree.

After neglecting to show up once, she later turned herself in and was bailed out. She was scheduled to appear for sentencing on Aug. 8, and did make it into the courtroom, but said she left after she begun to get afraid of what might happen to her if she stayed.

She said that she later met with her attorney, Edmund Acoba, and turned herself in.

Kaehu was sentenced to consecutive sentences of five years for each charge of promoting dangerous drugs third-degree, both with a mandatory minimum of two years.

Randall Honjo, 45, charged with various counts of sexual assault, accepted a plea agreement from the prosecutor’s office.

Honjo was originally charged in two separate cases. The first case carried one charge of fourth-degree sexual assault. The second case listed one count of continuous sexual assault on a minor and 52 counts of second-degree sexual assault.

Honjo agreed to plead guilty as charged in the first case. For the second case, he pleaded guilty to third-degree sexual assault.

One of the dropped charges included continuous sexual assault on a minor is a Class A felony, a crime punishable by 20 years incarceration.

Honjo could have faced a maximum penalty that would add up to centuries if convicted of all charges.

Honjo was sentenced to five years incarceration for sexual assault second-degree and one year for sexual assault fourth-degree.

Sheldon Peralta, a young man who was accompanied by his “support-system” of about 10 friends and family members, was sentenced to nine months incarceration, five years of probation and about $2,000 in restitution.

He was originally charged with second-degree assault, harassment and two counts of first-degree burglary, but he accepted a plea agreement which dropped several charges.

Peralta entered someone else’s home, stole a metal tool and injured a young man on the front of the head with the tool, while the family and the victim were sleeping. The victim had to get internal and external stitches, according to prosecutor’s records.

“I’m sorry for what I did to [him] and his family…I know what I did was wrong and I just ready to receive the punishment,” Peralta told Nakea.

Peralta’s actions could have resulted in the loss of eyesight or more serious consequences, Nakea said.

Peralta must also pay a $100 fine to the crime victims’ compensation fund and a $150 probation services fee.

James Torcato, 31, was sentenced for promoting a detrimental drug, third degree. He is housed at the Oahu Community Correctional Center in Halawa for another drug charge.

Torcato was arrested on the current drug charge while on parole for another drug charge and was handed a sentence that will run consecutive to the term he is serving in Halawa. Nakea reiterated his philosophy: you have to finish one before you go on to the next one.

George Orlando was sentenced for forgery and theft charges after signing his girlfriend’s name on a personal check to their joint account.

“I signed her name because I was strung out on drugs that day, that whole month,” Orlando admitted. He said that with help he’s been able to keep clean since the incident.

Orlando’s public defender, Edmund Acoba, expressed how he thought the case was stupid, and that if Orlando had just signed his own name he wouldn’t be in trouble.

However, De Costa revealed that Orlando signed his girlfriend’s name to make the payments to drug dealers look more legitimate, because he didn’t have money and wasn’t working at the time.

Nakea sentenced the man to 6 months of incarceration; after 30 days he could enter a 60-day inpatient drug treatment program.

Staff Writer Kendyce L.M. Manguchei can be reached at kmanguchei@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 252).

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