POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jun 16, 2011
Question: How is bail determined? Is it based on income? This is in reference to the $5 million bail set for Toby Stangel following the shooting spree on June 3. That seems to be high. Do you know who had the highest bail amount?
Answer: “There are no set-in-stone guidelines” regarding how bail is set or what the amount will be, said Dave Koga, spokesman for the city Department of the Prosecuting Attorney.
There used to be a bail schedule, but those guidelines were dropped in 1998 or 1999, he said.
Koga explained that bail amounts are set during consultation between Honolulu police and a District Court judge when charges are made.
The prosecutor’s office will then “generally” go with the bail amount police and the judge agree upon, he said.
The idea is to keep defendants considered dangerous or flight risks held pending trial.
“In cases of lesser severity, bail simply serves as a kind of security deposit to ensure a defendant’s appearance at trial,” Koga said.
No records on bail amounts are kept, he said, “but anecdotally, people in the prosecutor’s office believe the highest was the $7 million set for Byran Uyesugi.”
Uyesugi is the Xerox Corp. service technician convicted of murdering seven co-workers on Nov. 2, 1999. The case remains the worst mass murder recorded in Hawaii.
After Uyesugi’s arraignment, the Star-Bulletin said the $7 million bail was “reportedly the most ever in Hawaii.”
Then-Prosecutor Peter Carlisle said he would ask to have that amount revoked to ensure Uyesugi could not be released pending trial. But defense attorney Jerel Fonseca responded that “$7 million bail is the same as no bail for the Uyesugi family. They can’t come up with that amount even if they wanted to.”
Uyesugi is serving a life sentence, without the possibility of parole.
Koga said that at $5 million, Stangel’s bail “quite possibly” is the second highest bail set in the state, “although again, there are no records kept on such things.” He also noted that, “Technically, the highest bail would be no bail.”
Question: Is it OK to use an expired driver’s license as identification when traveling interisland or to the mainland? All information is current.
Answer: All IDs should be “valid,” meaning not expired.
If you have backup identification, your expired license may be accepted, but you’ll be subject to extra scrutiny and have to provide additional documents.
On its website — www.tsa.gov/travelers/customer/editorial_1029.shtm#1 — the Transportation Security Administration says, “If you lose your primary ID or it has expired, TSA may accept other forms of ID to help verify your identity.”
You need to bring at least two other documents to verify your identity, such as a social security card, birth certificate, marriage license or credit card.
Even if TSA confirms your identity and allows you to enter the secured area, you could be subject to additional screening.
To the driver of a semi-truck (license plate 853-WDX) with a long trailer hauling construction equipment on Wednesday morning, May 18. My sons and I were riding our bikes to school on the shoulder of Kalanianaole Highway, near the construction area at Keahole Street in Hawaii Kai. The driver deliberately slowed down as it passed us. So many times drivers speed past us, so it was nice to know he was watching out for us. — Natalie Iwasa
Write to “Kokua Line” at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.