Category Archives: Crime

Road rage suspect did time in the 1990s

If you live in Honolulu, you most likely saw news reports about an apparent road rage incident in which a 31-year old man was shot and killed.

The suspect in the shooting was identified as 72-year old retired firefighter and Aiea resident, Darryl Freeman.

It didn’t take any special digging to turn up this short item published in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin back on December 22, 1999.

It seems Freeman served prison time for both state and federal crimes back in the 1990s.

Question: What ever happened to Darryl Freeman, the former Waiau battalion fire chief sentenced in 1993 to state and federal prison terms involving convictions for theft, firearms violations, tax evasion, mail fraud and racketeering to defraud insurance companies with false claims of stolen cars? Why was his house not confiscated as his sentencing indicated?

Answer: Freeman was paroled on his state term April 24, 1996, and was released from his federal sentence on Oct. 4 this year.

“He is under supervision with us and serving a term of supervised release,” said Betty Taylor, chief U.S. probation officer, District of Hawaii.

“At the time of sentencing the court didn’t order any confiscation. He was ordered to make restitution, which we’re in the process of having him make. There was no order at the time of sentencing to confiscate his house.”

On June 7, 1993, U.S. District Judge Harold Fong ordered Freeman to pay some $216,000 in restitution to insurance companies, and Freeman began serving his prison terms a short time later.

Civil Beat investigation draws some national attention

A Civil Beat investigation into the near-fatal beating of a 17-month old at an Ewa Beach daycare operated by the family of a Honolulu police officer has received some national attention.

The issue highlighted in in today’s “Pick of the news,” a daily summary of top reporting on criminal justice issues compiled by The Marshall Project, a national group that presses for criminal justice reform by highlighting top quality journalism on related issues from around the country and the world.

It was selected as one of just five featured stories, which included others from Oregon, Kansas, Missouri, and North Carolina.

The CB item is short and to the point, with a link back to the most recent Civil Beat story.

There are new allegations of dubious police work in Hawaii, where police officials have ordered a new review of an old investigation into a toddler abuse case. HONOLULU CIVIL BEAT

The original investigative story by John Hill, Civil Beat’s investigations editor, was published last week (“This Honolulu Toddler Nearly Died In An Assault But No Charges Filed“).

It has already triggered an HPD review of the case, which could lead to reopening of the matter.

Congratulations to Civil Beat and John Hill for the excellent work.

Another story caught my eye when I checked the Marshall Project website today: How to Leak Stories to The Marshall Project, Your guide to becoming a source.

It includes some very useful general advice for whistleblowers or insiders who want to share a tip:

What not to do

If you want to minimize — if not avoid entirely — any visible links between yourself and The Marshall Project, The Intercept offers some good, albeit technical, advice on becoming a whistleblower.

Don’t visit our website at work. Don’t subscribe to our daily newsletter with your work email account. Don’t tell anyone about your plans, and don’t use your work phone or email to contact us.

One bit of advice is decidedly low-tech.

If you really want to be anonymous when you contact us, the U.S. mail is a good way to go. Our colleagues at ProPublica offer this advice:

“U.S. postal mail without a return address is one of the most secure ways to communicate — authorities would need a warrant to intercept and open it in transit. Don’t use your company or agency mailroom to send something to us. Mail your package or envelope from an unfamiliar sidewalk box instead of going to a post office. You can mail us paper materials or digital files on, for example, a thumb drive.”

Series of search warrants in Kealoha probe

Hawaii News Now reporter Lynn Kawano got quite a scoop yesterday with its report that another search warrant had been served in the ongoing public corruption investigation involving the outgoing Honolulu Police Chief and his wife (“FBI raids second city building in police chief investigation“).

According to HNN, the FBI accessed a backup computer server that mirrors the Honolulu Police Department’s computer system. The server, located in the Frank F. Fasi Municipal Building, maintains copies of the HPD electronic files and images.

The search of the backup server came during the same week that the FBI served a similar warrant on the office Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, where Katherine Kealoha is a senior deputy, and a federal judge took possession of laptop computers used by Kealoha.

HNN quotes defense attorney Victor Bakke, who called the “unprecedented.”

Bakke also speculated that the series of search warrants indicates additional witnesses are now cooperating with authorities, describing additional details that are now being pursued.

The unusual investigation into the chief and his wife, a top city prosecutor, is finally starting to draw national attention. An Associated Press story by Jennifer Kelleher was picked up by ABC News and broke into broadcast and print news across the country (“FBI Serves Warrant at Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s Office“).

By the way, this morning’s online edition of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the state’s largest newspaper, does not yet have a story on this latest search warrant executed at the city’s main municipal office building.

Is Kealoha case expanding beyond the stolen mailbox?

I guess Friday the 13th wasn’t Keith Kaneshiro’s lucky day.

“Holy cow!”

That was the reaction of Honolulu Police Commission member Loretta Sheehan, a former prosecutor, when she learned that the FBI served search warrants yesterday at the Honolulu Prosecutor’s office, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s report on the raid published this morning (“Agents search servers, seize computers as part of Kealoha investigation“).

The raid and search warrant appear to be related to the ongoing grand jury public corruption investigation involving deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha and her husband, embattled Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha.

The warrant allows federal investigators to search the computer server in the prosecutor’s office, which should provide access to emails and other documents.

I guess it shows that Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro’s refusal to cooperate when called before the grand jury was not an effective legal strategy nor an exercise in good judgement.

The search warrants follow letters notifying several people they are targets of the ongoing criminal probe, including the chief and a group of officers close to the chief.

Why all the fuss about a “stolen” mailbox?

Civil Beat reporter Nick Grube, who has been following this story since its inception, had a suggestive nugget in a story published on Monday, January 9 (“Is HPD Chief’s Departure Just The Beginning Of An ‘Ugly’ Mess?“).

Moreover, the investigation is bigger than just a missing mailbox, according to Alexander Silvert, the federal public defender who first uncovered evidence of wrongdoing that prompted the FBI to take action.

“The plea of guilty by Silva and the removal of the chief by the police commission is the tip of the iceberg,” Silvert said Saturday, referring to retired Honolulu officer Niall Silva, who is cooperating with federal investigators. “The grand jury investigation and the evidence we turned over is so much more far-reaching than what has come out to date.”

There is a long way to go and a lot more that has yet to come out that involves HPD and that involves other officials in other departments of the city and county,” Silvert says. “We are only in the beginning stages of what’s going to be a long, messy, ugly part of Hawaiian law enforcement history.”

Silvert is suggesting the whole mailbox incident just a step along the way of a broader corruption case that’s about the engulf the city.

Holy cow!