Five years in prison for two who end time in drug rehab program

WAILUKU – Two people who agreed to end their participation in the Maui Drug Court program were sentenced March 14 to five-year prison terms in separate cases.

Molokai resident Sunny Uilani Stevens, 31, and Julio Oscar Gonzales, 34, each had asked for another chance on probation.

“Putting him in prison for $320, in my opinion, makes very little sense,” said Gonzales’ attorney Sam MacRoberts.

He referred to the amount stolen in Gonzales’ 2009 case involving convictions for theft of a credit card, fraudulent use of a credit card, unauthorized possession of confidential personal information, third-degree theft and two counts of fourth-degree theft.

MacRoberts said it would cost the state $35,000 to $40,000 a year to incarcerate Gonzales, who decided not to continue in the Drug Court program in 2011.

“He just couldn’t do it,” MacRoberts said. “I don’t think that’s surprising. He has no family members here, he has no support system.”

If he were on probation, Gonzales could try to have his supervision transferred to Texas, where he has family members, MacRoberts said.

Deputy Prosecutor Renee Ishikawa Delizo said Gonzales already had been given chances on probation in the case.

Gonzales had tried to charge $400 on the victim’s credit card and used the victim’s debit card at a bar to pay off his previous tab of $216 as well as his current tab of $70, Ishikawa Delizo said.

Two months after being admitted into the Drug Court program in September 2011, Gonzales got into a fight in a bathroom with another participant, she said.

Ishikawa Delizo questioned whether Texas would accept supervision of Gonzales, who has convictions there for unlawful carrying of a weapon and failure to identify a fugitive from justice.

“I realize I have made a mistake,” Gonzales said in court Thursday.

He said he had been in jail for two and a half years.

Because of the time he has already served, Gonzales probably wouldn’t be incarcerated too much longer on the prison term, said 2nd Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza.

Stevens said she was thankful for the opportunity to participate in the program offering treatment and supervision as an alternative to incarceration.

“I would like to do whatever I need to do to get my life straight,” Stevens said.

She was sentenced for a reduced charge of third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia in a 2009 case and two counts each of second-degree forgery and second-degree theft in a 2010 case.

In the earlier case, Stevens denied using drugs before police found methamphetamine and a smoking pipe in the lining of a jacket during a search of a Molokai residence, Ishikawa Delizo said. She said Stevens later admitted using and selling drugs.

The other case involved two forged checks.

Stevens had relapsed on drugs before she agreed to end her participation in Drug Court, Ishikawa Delizo said.