Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro blasted the Department of Public Safety during a press conference at his office Wednesday.
He was objecting to its decision to consider granting work-furlough status to a man who has served less than five months of a 10-year prison sentence. Thang Nguyen and his twin brother ran a lucrative motorcycle theft ring until the law caught up with them.
“It is appalling that the correctional system isn’t holding criminals accountable for their crimes,” Kaneshiro said. “This is a mockery of the criminal justice system and an insult to the judge.”
Kaneshiro said he believes the department’s decision downplays the seriousness of the crime because it is considered a “property offense.” He stressed that there were 63 victims and more than $500,000 in damages, adding that the criminals were able to pay $50,000 in attorney fees but not a single cent of restitution.
The prosecutor’s office received notice May 30 that the department was considering Nguyen, who was sentenced Jan. 23, for participation in the pre-release program.
Kaneshiro said this sends the wrong message about consequences for crimes, and he is concerned it will become a trend.
He called on the department to reconsider its decision in a June 12 letter. He said they have yet to reply.
— Nathan Eagle
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