WAILUKU - A 26-year-old man was released from jail after six months and ordered to again complete a domestic violence intervention program for breaking his girlfriend's nose during an argument last year.
"I'm sorry, you didn't deserve to be treated that way," Jacob Jennings said at his sentencing last month. "I feel like maybe another chance would help me stay on track."
Jennings had pleaded no contest to second-degree assault of the woman in the Sept. 29 incident.
The two had been arguing when she ran out of their Wailuku apartment carrying their infant in an unsafe way, said Deputy Prosecutor Kim Whitworth. She said Jennings grabbed the woman and backhanded her, causing the injury.
It was reported to police when she went to the hospital emergency room for treatment, according to court records.
Jennings and the woman, who is now 22 years old, had been in a relationship since she was 15 and have three children, Whitworth said.
"Those three children have been living in this household, in this toxic relationship," Whitworth said. "They have been back and forth with domestic violence, alcohol-related problems and allegedly even drug-related problems."
But she said the woman acknowledged that Jennings has been "a strong father figure for the children."
Jennings, who has no prior felony convictions, completed a domestic violence intervention program in 2008 before returning to the same relationship, said Deputy Public Defender Greg Ball.
"The second time around, it ought to fully sink in," Ball said.
As part of his sentence, Jennings was placed on five years' probation and ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs.
"If you go back to the relationship, there's probably going to be more volatility involved," 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo told Jennings at the March 30 hearing. "Hopefully you can reconnect with your children. You need to be a good father for them."
In another sentencing last month, a 33-year-old man was ordered to repay $2,600 to the state Department of Human Services for welfare benefits he received from October 2009 to March 2010.
Leonard Kipi applied for food stamp benefits after being laid off from his construction job, said his attorney, Andrew Martin. But he said Kipi is now working, pursuing an apprenticeship and willing to repay at least $100 a month.
Kipi said he wanted to take care of his children when he applied for the benefits and was "sorry for the miscommunication."
Deputy Prosecutor Justine Hura said an investigation was done because the mother of some of Kipi's children was also receiving benefits for them. "She was surprised to hear he was claiming these children were living with him," Hura said.
Martin said Kipi disputes some of the details of the allegations.
Kipi had pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of third-degree theft, with the prosecution dismissing a welfare fraud charge.
Loo gave Kipi a chance to keep the theft charge off his record if he follows court requirements while being supervised for one year.
"The bottom line is the money you received from the Department of Human Services really could have gone to another person who was more deserving," Loo told Kipi. "There is no magic wallet with an endless supply of money that can go to all people."
Kipi was required to sign welfare disqualification forms.