LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i County Councilmember Arthur Brun has been in federal custody in Honolulu since his arrest this winter. But, his place on the council cannot be revoked, and he remains a member.
To get around that, the council has voted to make Brun an ex-officio member, which will strip him of his voting rights.
“If he is not able to participate,” Chair Arryl Kaneshiro said, “he shouldn’t be on the committees.”
Each councilmember chairs one committee and is a vice-chair on another. As of the passing of this resolution, Brun previously served as the committee chairman of the Parks and Recreation/Transportation Committee and the vice-chairman for the Public Safety and Human Services Committee.
Since he is still a member of the council, Brun earns $5,261.67 per month.
Kaneshiro said he’s heard the public outcry from residents and constituents calling for Brun’s removal from the council, but state law and the county charter require Brun’s resignation or a felony conviction. Brun currently faces a federal indictment for running methamphetamine ring on Kaua‘i with 10 felony charges that include drug trafficking, possession and distribution.
“We considered all our options,” Kaneshiro said, noting that everybody reserves their 6th Amendment right of innocent until proven guilty. “This is the extent of what we’re able to do.”
Kaneshiro continued, “It makes the council more efficient when you’re working with the full council. I have all the confidence in the world in our [six-person] council.”
Council members can suggest charter amendments, but those would need to be voted on by the public, Kaneshiro said, and by the time that process could take from start to finish, there could be a ruling on Brun’s case or his term would be up.
In early March, felony charges filed by Kaua‘i County for assault on a police officer and resisting arrest were dismissed in lieu of the federal charges. Brun’s trial was continued to Oct. 26.
Last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Mansfield denied Brun’s motion to be released pending trial due to COVID-19 concerns. Mansfield noted that Brun does not fit into a high-risk category from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Defendant is 48 years old, far younger than the age range (those above 65) the CDC identifies as presenting a higher risk of dangerous complications from COVID-19. Defendant presents no information that, for his high blood pressure and hypothyroid conditions, Federal Detention Center Honolulu is not providing him adequate medical treatment and monitoring,” Mansfield wrote.
Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.