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Honolulu prosecutor subject of criminal probe

Honolulu prosecutor subject of criminal probe

Keith Kaneshiro, the city prosecutor in Honolulu, has become a suspect in a widening federal public corruption investigation that has already snared one of Kaneshiro’s top prosecutors and her husband, the city’s former police chief.

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha has already resigned due to the far reaching inquiry. His wife, deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, is also under investigation for conspiracy and public corruption due to both ticket fixing allegations and charges that she may have attempted to frame her uncle for a mailbox theft.

Kaneshiro appears to be under investigation for how he reacted after the ticket fixing allegations surfaced, with the FBI looking into whether he used his office to help cover for the wrongdoing of his deputy prosecutor.

In 2014, Kealoha’s electrician got a ticket. The deputy prosecutor told him she would take care of it, showing up at his traffic court hearing and asking the judge to dismiss the charge.

Keoloha told the judge the electrician wasn’t driving the car, a career criminal who’d stolen his identity was. The FBI began looking into this apparent lie in 2015.

Kaneshiro was asked to assist in the investigation by providing evidence into the speeding ticket, and declined to cooperate. He fought subpoenas to turn over material to federal authorities, but lost in court.

Hawaii News Now also reported that Kaneshiro later suggested that the speeding ticket was written illegally by the police officer to get overtime for court appearances. Kaneshiro’s office later said the officer was not under investigation. Kaneshiro then claimed the dismissal of the speeding ticket was part of a larger plea bargain, something that also appears to be untrue and is being investigated by the FBI.

The scandal that led to Louis Kealoha resigning as police chief is different, but appears to be linked through his wife to the investigation of the city prosecutors.

The investigation into Louis Kealoha began after one of his subordinates, Niall Silva, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to frame a relative of Katherine Kealoha in the theft of the mailbox from the Kealohas’ home. Court records suggest that Katherine Kealoha attempted to frame her uncle. Kealoha had a financial dispute with that uncle that involved hundreds of thousands of dollars. Silva is likely to testify against her if she’s arrested.

Austin prosecutor declines to retry couple locked up for over 20 years

Austin prosecutor declines to retry couple locked up for over 20 years

Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore has acknowledged that the satanic child sex abuse crimes that have kept Dan and Fran Keller in prison for over a generation probably never happened.

Earlier this week Moore moved to dismiss the charges against both and said they were innocent in a press release. And while Moore finally stood up and made the right decision in dismissing the charges, her predecessors in that office persecuted and unfairly locked up this couple for decades.

The Kellers, who ran a daycare facility out of their home, spent 21 years in prison after they were convicted of sexually abusing three children. They had been sentenced to 48 years.

But the doctor who examined the children, and said there was evidence the abuse occurred, later recanted. That led the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to grant relief in the case about four years ago. The Kellers have been out on bail since their appeal was granted, but still faced the possibility of being tried again.

The couple divorced while they were in prison.

Moore, who was elected district attorney in 2016, reexamined the case and determined that the couple was innocent.

Former district attorney Ronnie Earle chose to prosecute the Kellers, and after their conviction was thrown out his successor, Rosemary Lehmberg, declined to make a decision on whether or not to retry them before ceding the office to Moore.

Because they were found to be actually innocent, the Kellers could now get compensation from the state for the 21 years they spent in prison—about $80,000 for each year they were locked up.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, “The accusations against the Kellers made national news after three children accused them of participating in satanic rituals that included videotaped orgies, dismembered babies and tortured pets. No evidence of such activities was ever discovered.”

Allegations of satanic ritual abuse against children were fairly common in the 1980s and 1990s, with many of the people accused later being exonerated.

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Indiana prosecutor considers locking up mothers of newborns

Indiana prosecutor considers locking up mothers of newborns

Madison County prosecutor Rodney Cummings is considering criminally charging women who give birth to babies who show signs of drug addiction at birth by demonstrating withdrawal symptoms like tremors, excessive crying, vomiting, and diarrhea.

But recent history in other states suggests locking up mothers won’t work, and might even make the situation worse. Cummings is also defying medical science, which concludes that addiction is a chronic brain disease.

The number of babies born addicted to drugs is increasing, with one Indiana hospital saying the number of drug addicted babies had doubled and another also seeing an increase, and Cummings said charging the mothers who use drugs should be considered. But he needs to determine if it’s something he can legally do.

“The problem won’t go away,” Cummings said in an interview with the Herald Bulletin. “The threat of incarceration may be the most effective way to lower the numbers.”

Madison County Sheriff Scott Mellinger disagreed with Cummings and expressed doubt that locking up mothers would help solve the problem, saying an education program should occur first.

Cummings might want to look to Tennessee, which passed a fetal-assault statute in 2014.

That law was written for two years and allowed to expire in 2016 amid criticism that pregnant women were refusing to get prenatal care due to fear of being arrested. It also received criticism from women’s rights activists, medical professionals, and abortion opponents.

“The law has had the opposite of its intended affect,” said Allison Glass, state director at Healthy and Free TN, a reproductive and sexual health advocacy group, in an interview with Mother Jones. “It’s driving women away from health care.”

And getting into rehab didn’t seem to help. A woman Mother Jones profiled, Brittany Hudson, avoided going to the doctor for most of her pregnancy but sought drug treatment toward the end hoping it would allow her to be a better mother.

But each time she went to an in-patient drug center she was turned away because it had a policy of not accepting pregnant women, or there was no space for her.

After her baby was born, Hudson was arrested for assault, but in jail she found little in the way of help, only being able to attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

“You put these women behind bars but there’s nothing for them there,” Hudson said.

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