WAILUKU - For failing to stop his car for police while driving with a passenger who had just stolen a Rolex watch, a 25-year-old Kahului man was sentenced last week to five years' probation.
Second Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo also gave Joseph Steven Spenser 123 days credit for time served in jail and ordered him to undergo substance abuse treatment. She gave him a chance to clear his record if he successfully completes probation.
"You've really got to do something with your life," Loo said at Wednesday's hearing.
Defense attorney Walter Vierra asked that Spenser be given probation and a chance to clear his record because he has no prior felony convictions.
He said Spenser also realized that his actions were foolish and weren't worth giving up the 123 days he spent in jail.
Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones said Spenser did agree to testify against the man who stole the watch, but ultimately his testimony wasn't needed.
Jones said Spenser has a "history of bad choices" and reports indicate he has problems about choosing his associates as well as substance abuse problems.
Spenser pleaded no contest to first-degree hindering prosecution and resisting an order to stop a motor vehicle. A reckless driving charge was dismissed.
The charges stem from an incident on Oct. 28, 2010, when Brandon Michael Kelley, who had stolen a watch from the Baron & Leeds store at The Shops at Wailea, was spotted in a vehicle driven by Spenser in Kihei, court records show.
Spenser told authorities that Kelley told him not to stop even though police had their sirens on and were ordering him to stop. Later, police caught up with Spenser, records show.
In an unrelated case, 22-year-old Rachelle Lea Winter was sentenced Wednesday to five years' probation and was given credit for the 88 days she had already spent in jail for stealing a neighbor's credit card during a barbecue.
Although Loo called it a "gamble," she gave Winter a chance to clear her record if she successfully completes probation.
In light of Winter's saying that her alcohol problems led her to commit the crimes, Loo noted that alcohol has been a longtime problem for Winter.
"You've got to change, and you've got to change now," Loo said.
Loo added that Winter took the neighbor's card and went to an automated teller machine and withdrew money.
"Drunk or not; alcohol or not; you did commit this crime," Loo said.
Winter tearfully told the court that she needed help and especially wanted treatment so she could take care of her young daughter.
"I realize what I did was stupid. I am trying to change," Winter told the court. "I'm just going down a downhill slope, and I want to change."
Winter said she had already paid back the money she took from her neighbor.
Loo ordered Winter to work full time or go to school full time and not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs. Winter also must write a letter of apology to the victim.
Winter pleaded no contest to credit card theft and credit card fraud. Charges of identity theft and third-degree theft were dismissed, according to court records.
The charges stem from incidents from June 17 to June 20, court records show.
In another case, 26-year-old Jordy Brittain was sentenced Wednesday to one year's probation and ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution for an assault on another man on May 9, 2010, at the Kulanaa'o apartments in Kahului.
Loo ordered Brittain to stay away from the victim as well as the apartments. She suspended a 30-day jail term as long as Brittain complies with the requirements of probation.
Defense attorney Chris Dunn said Brittain was the least culpable in the case. Co-defendant Kaiea Austin, 22, of Haiku was given a similar sentence earlier this month.
"I sure hope you are keeping different company," Loo told Brittain.
Brittain, formerly of Haiku, said he now lives on Oahu.
Brittain pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of third-degree assault.
According to court records, a man was beaten around 1:30 a.m. May 9, 2010, outside the Kahului apartments. The victim reported being surrounded by three men wearing hoodies and being hit on the head with a vodka bottle.
The victim fell to the pavement and lost consciousness, records show. While the victim was on the ground, his assailants stomped on his head and body, witnesses told police.