WAILUKU - A Lahaina man who said he needed help was sentenced last week to a one-year jail term for hitting his girlfriend, who required medical treatment for an eye injury.
Roy Gouveia, 29, also was placed on five years' probation and was ordered to be evaluated for domestic violence, mental health and substance abuse treatment.
Gouveia has been jailed for nearly four months since his arrest in May. He had pleaded no contest to felony abuse, with the prosecution dismissing a second-degree assault charge.
Gouveia and his girlfriend were sitting in a car at about 10 p.m. when he accused her of cheating and punched her in the eye, said Deputy Prosecutor Kristin Coccaro.
"It was a made-up reason to punch someone in the face," she said.
The girlfriend didn't want to seek medical treatment, knowing that it would lead to a mandatory report to police, said Deputy Public Defender Jim Rouse. But he said Gouveia insisted she get treatment that night.
In court on Friday, Gouveia explained the injury by saying he had "whipped" his two fingers without looking and hit her eyeball after his girlfriend said she had cheated on him.
He said he had previously sought help for his drug addiction as well as mental health issues, but had been told he didn't need help. "The drugs was what make me angry," he said.
Gouveia's probation had been revoked before, and he had been sentenced to prison, 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen said.
"Whether you felt justified or not, you had no right to strike her," the judge told Gouveia. "There was no justification for that."
A felony abuse charge can be brought against someone arrested for abuse within two years of a second abuse conviction.
According to court records, Gouveia has prior abuse convictions on Maui and Kauai.
In other court action last week:
* A 32-year-old Lahaina man was taken into custody Friday to serve a six-month jail term for stealing from his employer two years ago.
Alika Kelii Pali also was placed on one year's probation after he had pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of third-degree theft.
The theft of $500 from Aloha Clean Pro Supply occurred in June and July 2010, said Deputy Prosecutor Kenton Werk. Because Pali was on probation at the time, he avoided a mandatory-minimum prison term by being allowed to enter a plea to the reduced charge, Werk said.
Pali said he had borrowed from another family member to pay back the money.
He had agreed to the six-month jail term as part of a plea agreement but asked if there were a way he could serve the time and still keep his current job.
Family members who wrote letters to the court focused on how the family needed Pali as primary caregiver for his grandfather, Bissen said.
But while the jail term might seem lengthy for stealing $502, Bissen said Pali had been facing an even longer five-year prison term with a mandatory-minimum sentence of one year and eight months because of his prior record of theft.
Pali has five convictions for theft, the judge said.
"Now you and your supporters want me to go less than six months," Bissen told Pali. "That's like the shoplifter who offers to pay when the security guard catches you at the door. But that's too late."
Pali had been trusted in his former job, the judge said, with police called because it was the second time Pali had stolen from the company.
Bissen said the case had been delayed because police hadn't sent the reports to the prosecutor's office for two years. "In that entire time, you never ever paid them back until they called the police again," Bissen told Pali. "I think it's a tragedy all the way around. You're not the only one who suffered. You put people through this including yourself."
* A woman was ordered to repay $9,544 to the state Department of Human Services for welfare and medical assistance benefits she received while failing to report she was receiving unemployment insurance benefits.
Melinda Hulstrom, 50, of Wailuku also was placed on five years' probation as part of her sentence Wednesday.
She had pleaded no contest to second-degree theft, welfare fraud and medical assistance fraud from October 2008 to September 2009.
Since voluntarily returning to Maui from Idaho to face the charges, Hulstrom had been making payments toward restitution, said Deputy Public Defender Greg Ball.
Second Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo denied Hulstrom's request for a chance to keep the convictions off her record.