Burglar gets 10 years

LIHUE — A burglar with multiple convictions following a 2012 crime spree was sentenced to 10 years in prison after his probation was revoked on Tuesday in 5th Circuit Court.

Kamron Aaron Cortez, 20, of Kapaa, was terminated from Kauai Drug Court after admitting to violations that included unauthorized absences from inpatient treatment on Oahu. Successful compliance with Drug Court was a requirement for his probation sentence on May 9, 2013, where he also received 18-months jail, during which he was allowed to enter inpatient drug treatment at Sand Island.

The revocation followed 12 counts of criminal contempt of court that resulted from Cortez’ arrest for first-degree criminal trespassing on Dec. 17, 2014. Charges in that case are still pending.

Court-appointed defense attorney Craig De Costa said Cortez realizes the opportunity that was given to him and accepts full responsibility for his actions. He has family support and plans to take part in programs while incarcerated and return as a contributing member of society.

“Thank you for giving me the opportunity with Kauai Drug Court, even if I did not comply with it,” Cortez said in his statement to the court.

Chief Judge Randal Valenciano, who is also the Drug Court judge in a six-month rotation, said Cortez is young and was offered the chance to address the underlying issues related to his crimes, which is a serious drug addiction. He chose not to grasp the opportunity.

“You know what the court has to do, it’s no secret,” Valenciano said.

Cortez showed sincerity and maturity in his statement to the court, Valenciano added. Should the state Paroling Authority decide to give Cortez a similar opportunity, then it would be up to him to get past this major bump in the road, and use these next 10 years to participate in programs that will give him a better path.

“You control the journey,” Valenciano said.

County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar recalled the details of the 12 cases involving Cortez, either acting alone, or with three accomplices. The crimes were committed less than three months after release from juvenile detention, he added.

The crime spree took place between Aug. 14 and Sept. 11, 2012 and involved eight home break-ins and thefts, 10 car break-ins, six car thefts, totaling more than $40,000 in losses. The victims included 16 area residents in Kapaa, Wailua, Hanamaulu and Lihue.

The state sought the 10-year prison term for the B-felony charges, and concurrent five year terms for the C-felony offenses. In addition, Kollar asked to court for an ongoing restitution order to be imposed jointly and severely until the debt is paid.

“Except for a few short months, this defendant has spent his entire adult life incarcerated. When he has not been incarcerated, he has been committing crimes,” Kollar said. “The only way to protect the community from this defendant is for him to be in prison.”

The court sentenced Cortez on 17 of the charges, to include three B-felony first-degree burglary, and C-felony offenses including four unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, two second-degree theft, second-degree burglary, and seven for unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle.

The court also ordered Cortez jointly and severely responsible for $29,368.75 remaining in restitution.


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