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Judicial records should remain open to public


POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Sep 27, 2012

~~<p>he justice system warns that people who do the crime do the time. Of course, many first-time wrongdoers are able to avoid jail time, and their criminal acts are confirmed in court records. However, the state Judiciary is now considering cloaking that proof by sealing records of those who strike plea agreements and clean their behavior over designated periods. The public should not be put in the dark by such a change.</p>
<p>Under present Hawaii law, a person facing a first criminal charge can avoid incarceration by pleading guilty or no contest to misdemeanor or certain felony charges, and the judge can agree to erase the charges if the defendant stays out of trouble for a specific time. Nearly half of the 3,250 defendants in such cases in Hawaii succeeded in having the charges dismissed in the past fiscal year. However, the charges remain on the public record.</p>
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he justice system warns that people who do the crime do the time. Of course, many first-time wrongdoers are able to avoid jail time, and their criminal acts are confirmed in court records. However, the state Judiciary is now considering cloaking that proof by sealing records of those who strike plea agreements and clean their behavior over designated periods. The public should not be put in the dark by such a change.

Under present Hawaii law, a person facing a first criminal charge can avoid incarceration by pleading guilty or no contest to misdemeanor or certain felony charges, and the judge can agree to erase the charges if the defendant stays out of trouble for a specific time. Nearly half of the 3,250 defendants in such cases in Hawaii succeeded in having the charges dismissed in the past fiscal year. However, the charges remain on the public record. Login for more...



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