Lahaina woman’s sentencing offers chance ‘to put this life behind her’

The Maui News

WAILUKU — A Lahaina woman who faced a prison term after being arrested with more than 1 ounce of methamphetamine was instead placed on 10 years’ probation with a two-year jail term, with the opportunity to be released from jail to enter long-term drug treatment.

“You earn chances, you’re not granted them,” 2nd Circuit Judge Peter Cahill said in sentencing Joslyn Aoki. “The fact that you’ve made this effort is something you’ve earned.”

Aoki, 39, was sentenced May 9 after she pleaded no contest to first-degree promoting of a dangerous drug, third-degree promoting of a dangerous drug, fourth-degree promoting of a harmful drug and three counts of possessing drug paraphernalia.

The charges stemmed from a June 19 Lahaina traffic stop in which police recovered more than 1 ounce of methamphetamine, said Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones. She said Aoki told police she had intended to distribute the drug.

While a conviction for the first-degree drug charge can carry a 20-year prison term, the prosecution and defense agreed to recommend a two-year jail term as part of 10 years’ probation for Aoki.

“She has indicated a sincere desire for treatment and a change of life,” Jones said. “In exchange for her commitment, we have agreed to this sentence.

“She has the opportunity to change her life forever by entering long-term residential treatment.”

Jones said Aoki needed to address the potential harm to the community from her actions. “It’s a threat to the community in the most serious way,” Jones said.

Defense attorney Richard Gronna said Aoki recognized she has a severe drug addiction and had been accepted into a two-year drug treatment program on Oahu.

“She wants to put this life behind her and take advantage of this opportunity,” Gronna said.

Aoki said, “I just want to apologize to everyone — my community, my family.”

“I know what I did was wrong,” she said. “I want to have a chance to get my life back together.”

Judge Cahill said Aoki could be released early from the two-year jail term to enter long-term residential treatment. He said she must successfully complete the treatment, then return to serve the rest of the two-year term. The rest of the jail term could be suspended if she successfully completes treatment, Cahill said.

Aoki has already spent more than 10 months in jail.

She was ordered to pay $50 in fines. The $1,484 in cash seized in the search was forfeited to the state.