WAILUKU - In what 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen called an unconventional sentence, he ordered a man to complete a 30-month residential drug treatment program for crimes including stealing automated teller machines and escaping from jail guards at a funeral last year.
Harry Kahaleauki, 39, of Kula, who has served about a year in jail, was placed on five years' probation as part of the sentence imposed Friday.
Noting that Kahaleauki previously had been sent to prison and had his parole violated and probation revoked, Bissen said, "This is probably the most unconventional sentence that I have ever considered imposing.
"I'm being asked to give Mr. Kahaleauki a last chance - not a first or second, because there have been many," Bissen said. "This is almost an unbelievable deal."
But looking more closely at the goal of the plea agreement between the prosecution and defense, the judge said "this is an opportunity at a win-win situation."
The 32 convictions in three criminal cases will be on Kahaleauki's record, Bissen said.
If Kahaleauki doesn't complete the 30 months of treatment at Habilitat on Oahu, he could face "80 years of consecutive sentencing," said Deputy Public Defender Greg Ball.
"The court is going to go along with the agreement for the simple reason I feel the parties have put a lot of energy and effort into this rather creative sentence," Bissen said.
Kahaleauki had pleaded no contest to six counts of second-degree theft, three counts of fourth-degree criminal property damage, first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, six counts of unauthorized possession of confidential personal information, second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, possessing drug paraphernalia, third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, third-degree promotion of a detrimental drug, attempted first-degree theft, two counts of second-degree criminal property damage, second-degree burglary, first-degree theft, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, first-degree burglary, theft of a credit card and second-degree escape.
Most of the crimes occurred from February to April last year. They included the theft of an all-terrain vehicle and thefts of valuables from car break-ins at McGregor Point in Maalaea and at Mile Marker 13 on Honoapiilani Highway in Lahaina, as well as possession of crystal methamphetamine and cocaine.
Kahaleauki also was convicted of stealing a cargo van and using it to steal one automated teller machine in Maalaea and to try to steal two others in Lahaina and Kahana. Police said he burglarized a Lahaina business and a Kaanapali hotel unit while the occupants were asleep.
Kahaleauki was being held at the Maui Community Correctional Center when two jail guards escorted him to a relative's funeral at Ballard's Mortuary in Kahului on May 8, 2010. The guards had stepped out of the bathroom while Kahaleauki was supposedly using it before Kahaleauki escaped through a window, according to court records. He was captured four days later when law enforcement officials stopped a vehicle in Kihei.
While noting that a probation department report prepared for Kahaleauki's sentencing listed no positive factors for withholding incarceration, Deputy Prosecutor Simone Polak said one positive was the defendant's attitude about his long-term drug use.
"It seems that at this point, he finally is willing to address his drug history," she said. "The only thing that will help him is a program of sufficient length."
She said that the prosecution supported the plea agreement calling for probation as long as he enters the Habilitat program.
Ball called the program "the longest, most arduous life-changing program we have in Hawaii."
"If he graduates three years from now, he will be a different person, even to his own family," Ball said.
He read part of a letter written by Kahaleauki saying, "I have been fighting a sick addiction with the drug ice or meth for many years . . . I am sick of my addiction."
Ball said someone had agreed to take Kahaleauki from the jail to Kahului Airport next week and see that he went through the Transportation Security Administration gate to take a flight to Oahu. But Bissen said that someone would have to accompany Kahaleauki on the flight and see that he met a Habilitat representative on Oahu.
Kahaleauki was ordered to pay $13,733 in restitution and $3,715 in fees as part of his sentence.
According to the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center, Kahaleauki's prior record includes 43 convictions for drug, firearm, threatening and other offenses.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.