Plea deal called ‘heroic’

LIHU‘E — A Kilauea man facing several felony drug charges will get probation for making a terroristic threat. He was reminded by the judge Tuesday to thank his attorney.

Fifth Circuit Judge Randal Valenciano gave Charles Edward Walker Jr. one year of probation, and ordered anger management classes and a drug addiction assessment. Valenciano said it was Walker’s concerns at the previous hearing about his representation from his state deputy public defender, John Calma, that prompted an order to ensure he had an opportunity to review his report.

Walker expressed concern that he believed others conspired against him on the charges and that this was not discussed at the plea agreement. He had the option of proving his case before a jury and facing felony charges if he failed — or accepting the plea and receiving a lighter sentence than if found guilty at trial.

Valenciano credited Calma with presenting the defense in the best possible light and minimizing the risks to Walker’s case.

State Deputy Prosecutor Samuel Jajich credited Calma with “heroic” efforts to get six felonies reduced to two misdemeanor charges. He listed prior drug and theft convictions across the continental United States that dated from the 1960s through 1999 and recommended a year in prison.

Walker, 64, said he accepted responsibility for the miscommunication with his attorney and that his lack of legal knowledge prompted him to question his judgment and that he was upset for being misquoted in the court records.

Walker was arrested Sept. 5, 2010. He was later indicted on a charge of making a second-degree terroristic threat. He was charged with first-, second- and fourth-degree counts of promoting a harmful drug; two counts of third-degree promotion of a detrimental drug, and two counts of drug paraphernalia.

Calma said that a prolonged jail sentence would cause Walker undue hardship, but it was the lack of any criminal activity from 1999 to 2011 that was also a factor, according to the judge.

Valenciano said Walker’s alleged drug activity was consistent with past behavior, but that the terroristic threat was not. He sentenced him to 30 days and one year of probation for the threat and one drug charge. He ordered a fine paid to the victim restitution fund, a self-paid anger management program until discharged, an assessment from a substance abuse counselor and a pain management and rehabilitation assessment.

William Robertson, the recipient of the threat, was present to deliver a statement. He owns a certified organic farm and recently lost a civil suit with Walker. He was ordered to return a portion of the $22,000 investment to lease and work farm land.

Robertson said Walker failed to make timely payments and complete required work. He was asked to leave when individuals began coming around regularly that were not involved with the farm. He said suspicious activity was confirmed when hashish was found in Walker’s vehicle in an amount the prosecution considered more than for personal use.

Calma objected to portions of the statement that alleged the behavior of Walker and others, but the judge allowed the statement to be given in full as it was a sentencing hearing after Walker decided to accept the plea.

Robertson said he didn’t feel that Walker is a violent person but that he learned through a third party about his threat to have “buddies” kill him and throw his body in the ocean. He wanted to believe Walker was still a good man but that the drugs destroyed any trust. He said it has taken a year for the reputation of the farm to improve and attract other growers.

Walker was also allowed a statement, and described his work as dedicated and effective to the point that Robertson had him hire assistants in his absence.

He said that after a month in California to visit a daughter who was ill and the death of a friend, he returned and described a scenario where Robertson and a worker had collaborated against him.

Valencia stopped the statement and reminded Walker that if he wanted to pursue this course to prove a conspiracy, he had the right to a jury trial where he could produce witnesses and present circumstantial evidence that may not be presented as part of the plea process.

He referred to the previous hearing and informed Walker that after the sentencing phase the standards with changing a plea are much higher.

Walker said no to the jury trial and expressed thanks for his attorney’s work in arranging the plea.

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