Probation, parole and pace of prosecution have role in curbing crime spike

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — As law enforcement continues to tackle Honolulu’s recent jump in violent crime, we’re keeping track of how the rest of the criminal justice system can improve their roles in public safety.

Always Investigating has been pursuing answers from all segments of law enforcement, asking how each plans to crack down on this current crime wave.

Always Investigating first revealed the full extent of Oahu’s huge spike in violent crimes like robberies by putting hard numbers behind the high profile cases that make the news.

KHON2 has gone directly to the police chief, mayor, FBI, US Attorney, county prosecutor, attorney general’s office, correctional system and the judiciary.

In this focus on probation and parole, we ask what more can be done to make sure consequences line up with offenses — especially after so many recent violent-crime-related arrests are of people who are no strangers to law enforcement.

“Assuming, let’s assume for argument that they got a probational deferral, they need to follow up,” said retired circuit court judge Randal Lee. “The courts and the probation office need to follow up regularly and make sure that these people are towing the line. They’re walking the talk.”

Troy Salas had been granted probation instead of stiff jail time, before he was accused of driving at a police officer at a traffic stop earlier this month.

“Everybody needs a second chance, but when they’re on probation and they have like 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5. They keep getting violations. I mean we need to stop this,” said acting Honolulu Prosecutor Dwight Nadamoto.

The state judiciary said in a statement: “Probation officers work diligently with their clients to ensure that probationers meet the terms and conditions. In most cases, defendants successfully complete probation. Consequences for probation violations can include incarceration.

Once behind bars, the Public Safety Department tells me they’re “focused on safe custody… And preparing them for reintegration … while keeping the safety of the public our top priority.”

And once out, the Hawaii Paroling Authority said, officers help make sure “offenders have the resources and guidance needed to help them become successful contributing members of society.

The recent incidents in the news are a reminder of the importance of our mission.”

KHON2 also asked about the arrests in serious cases that go on to be RPI or released pending investigation — such as Victor Gascon, who sheriffs took into custody in September in connection with an airport area carjacking. He was RPI, until police caught him this month after an hours-long manhunt in Waipahu. Police say he tried to steal a car at gunpoint.

KHON2 asked the state attorney general — which handles charges for sheriff arrests — why he was still out without charges since his state-authority arrest in september for UEMV, kidnapping and first-degree robbery?

The AG spokesperson told us they are still investigating “the crime and extent of the victim’s injuries. The additional investigation is necessary to determine the appropriate charge, and is continuing.”

We’ll continue to track the gaps in the system that can be fixed to help turn the tide on Honolulu’s crime wave.

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