Audio Transcript: Hawaii Senate Committee Hearing Roger Christie Resolutions

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UNOFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT

Roger Christie Resolutions SCR75/SR42

Audio excerpts, 10 APRIL 2013
Hawaii State Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Clayton Hee, Chair

HEE: THE SECOND ONE IS THE ROGER CHRISTIE, URGING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO RELEASE ROGER CHRISTIE. … SENATOR DO YOU WANT TO JOIN US? (inaudible)… THE REASON THE COMMITTEE IS HEARING IT IS SENATOR RUDERMAN ASKED ME…. (banter) SENATOR RUDERMAN HAD ASKED ME TO HEAR THIS RESO, AND THAT’S WHY WE’RE DOING IT. IF HE HAD NOT ASKED ME, QUITE FRANKLY, I WOULDN’T HEAR IT. AND LET ME… THAT’S A PERFECT SEGUEY INTO MY RECOMMENDATION… AND I’M HAPPY TO BE OUTVOTED BY THE COMMITTEE, BUT MY RECOMMENDATION IS TO DEFER THESE TWO RESOS. AND THE REASON I FEEL THAT WAY IS BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE THE BODY OF WORK BEFORE US THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS, AND TO PRESUME THAT WE KNOW MORE THAN JUDGE LESLIE KOBYASHI, I THINK IS A LEAP OF FAITH THAT PROBABLY IS NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF EVERYONE CONCERNED. AS I SAID EARLIER, I’M HAPPY TO BE OUTVOTED, BUT THAT DOESN’T CHANGE MY VIEW WITH RESPECT TO THE DIVISION OF POWERS AND THE RULE THAT LEGISLATURE PLAYS WITH RESPECT TO ISSUES LIKE THIS ONE. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CHARACTER OF THE INDIVIDUAL, BUT MORE TO DO WITH MY CONCERN ABOUT THE PRESUMPTION OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S BODY OF KNOWLEDGE.

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HEE: SCR75 SD1, SR42 SD1 IS THE ROGER CHRISTIE ISSUE. WE HAVE MANY TESTIMONIES IN SUPPORT. SO RATHER THAN GO DOWN THE NAMES, IS THERE ANYONE WHO WISHES TO TESTIFY AND THEN YOU PLEASE COME AND IDENTIFY YOURSELF FOR OUR PURPOSES. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

TRACY RYAN: YOU’RE WELCOME. MY NAME IS TRACY RYAN. I AM CURRENTLY VICE CHAIR OF THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY. THE PARTY HAS TESTIFIED IN SUPPORT OF THIS BILL IN THE EARLIER HEARING. OUR CHAIR IS NOT HERE TODAY, SO I’LL BE TESTIFYING. I UNDERSTAND SENATOR HEE’S RESERVATIONS ABOUT THIS. AND HE HAS NOT HAD TIME TO READ THE INFORMATION WHICH IS AVAILABLE IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN IN REGARDS TO THE MOTIONS OF THE PROSECUTING ATTORNIES, THE RULINGS BY THE JUDGES, ETC.. I HAVE TAKEN SOME TIME TO DO THAT. AND I CAN TELL YOU THAT THERE IS NOTHING THAT ROGER’S SIDE HAS PUT FORWARD THAT DOES MORE TO SUPPORT HIS CASE THAN READING THE MOTIONS OF THE PROSECUTION. THEY ARE TRULY FRIGHTENING. THERE’S A LOT OF GOOD LAWYERLY REASONS THEY HAVE COME UP WITH TO BASICALLY SAY THAT THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES DOESN’T APPLY IN THE FEDERAL SYSTEM. THIS IS WHAT YOU GET FROM READING THEM. THE RIGHT TO BAIL CAN BE DENIED IN THE FEDERAL SYSTEM IF THEY SAY YOU’RE A DANGER TO THE COMMUNITY. YOU’RE A DANGER TO THE COMMUNITY IF THEY SAY YOU ARE LIKELY TO RECOMMITT A FEDERAL CRIME. IT’S UP TO THE DEFENDANT TO SHOW HOW THEY WILL NOT COMMIT A FEDERAL CRIME. IN OTHER WORDS, PROVE A NEGATIVE. SOMETHING THAT MOST PEOPLE KNOW IS LOGICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. IT IS A RAILROADING SYSTEM. BEYOND THAT, THERE’S THE COMMENTS MADE IN THE NEWSPAPER A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO IN REGARDS TO WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT GOES TO TRIAL. ROGER CHRISTIE HAS ARGUED THAT HE HAS A RELIGIOUS DEFENSE. HE BELIEVES AS A MINISTER, HIS ACTIVITIES ARE COVERED AND DEFENDED UNDER THE FIRST AMENDMENT. JUST AS SACRAMENTAL WINE WAS COVERED DURING PROHIBITION OF ALCOHOL IN THE 1920S. THIS IS HIS BELIEF. THE COURT MAY RULE THAT HE IS NOT ENTITLED TO MAKE THAT DEFENSE BEFORE A JURY. THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE WITH OTHER CRIMINAL DEFENDANTS. WHERE IN OUR COMMON LAW SYSTEM HAVE WE GIVEN JUDGES THE POWER TO TELL A DEFENDANT HE CANNOT MAKE THE DEFENSE HE WANTS TO MAKE OR BRING UP HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS? THIS IS VERY, VERY SCARY. I DO UNDERSTAND SENATOR HEE’S COMMENTS, AND IF I WAS IN HIS POSITION I CAN SEE THAT, NO HAVING FAMILIARIZED HIMSELF WITH THESE ISSUES, IT WOULD BE… MORE PROBLEMATIC. I WOULD ASK THE COMMITTEE TO GO AHEAD RECOMMEND THAT THIS ISSUE BE AT LEAST PASSED ON TO THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE, WHERE SENATOR SLOM AND SENATOR RUDERMAN, WHO ARE MORE FAMILIAR WITH IT, WHO HAVE ENTERED THESE RESOLUTIONS, CAN MAKE A BETTER CASE FOR ROGER TO THE ENTIRE BODY. THAT’S ALL I CAN ASK YOU. THANK YOU.

SENATOR HEE: OKAY, QUESTIONS FOR TRACY RYAN? THANK YOU. IS THERE ANYONE ELSE WHO WISHES TO TESTIFY? OKAY, THEN WE’LL MOVE ON.

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discussion and decision of committee members
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SENATOR HEE: … TWO RESOS ARE SCR75 SD1, SR42 SD1, THE RECOMMENDATION IS TO DEFER. NOW IF YOU FOLKS HAVE STRONG FEELING TO THE COUNTRY YOU CERTAINLY HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY SOMETHING. SENATOR SLOM?

SENATOR SLOM: THANK YOU MR. CHAIR. I THINK THAT IT IS CRITICAL THAT WE PASS THIS RESOLUTION. I WOULD NOTE SEVERAL THINGS. THIS IS A BI-PARTISAN EFFORT. THIS IS NOT REALLY ABOUT EVEN ONE PERSON. IT IS ABOUT CIVIL RIGHTS, CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. IT’S ABOUT DUE PROCESS. WE ARE THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE. IF ANY COMMITTEE SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN THIS ISSUE IT SHOULD BE US. AS WAS MENTIONED WE CAN GO INTO A FULL BLOWN DISCUSSION OF THE MERITS OR DEMERITS BUT THE SALIENT POINTS ARE, HERE IS AN INDIVIDUAL, AN AMERICAN CITIZEN, A CITIZEN OF HAWAII, WHO HAS BEEN DENIED HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS FOR NEARLY THREE YEARS. HAS NOT BEEN ABLE TO MEET WITH HIS SPOUSE. HAS VERY LIMITED MEETING WITH ANYONE ELSE. I UNDERSTAND SENATOR RUDERMAN AND SENATOR ESPERO WERE ABLE TO MEET WITH HIM LAST WEEK FOR A BRIEF PERIOD OF TIME. BUT WE SHOULD BE OUTRAGED IN THIS COMMUNITY THAT SOMEONE LIKE THIS IS BEING HELD UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES. AND IT’S NOT ABOUT HIS GUILT OR INNOCENCE. THAT’S NOT IT. IT’S ABOUT THE PROCESS AND ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION, AND ABOUT THE RIGHT FOR A BAIL HEARING. AND FOR ME TO HEAR THEM DESCRIBE THIS GENTLEMAN AS A DANGER AND A THREAT TO THE COMMUNITY WHEN WE HAD A SECRET SERVICE INDIVIDUAL THAT ACTUALLY KILLED SOMEONE, WHO IS OUT AND ABOUT, LEFT THE STATE, BACK IN THE STATE, LEFT THE STATE, BACK IN THE STATE. SOMETHING IS WRONG HERE. AND I THINK WE SHOULD BE VERY, VERY CONCERNED, AND WE SHOULD PASS THIS RESOLUTION. THANK YOU MR. CHAIRMAN.

SENATOR HEE: ANYONE ELSE?

UNKNOWN SENATOR: I’D BE IN SUPPORT OF THE RESOLUTION.

SENATOR HEE: YOU WANT TO SAY SOMETHING, SENATOR?

SENATOR RUDERMAN: I WANT TO SINCERELY THANK THE CHAIR FOR HEARING THIS RESOLUTION. I GREATLY APPRECIATE IT.

SENATOR HEE: YOU’RE WELCOME.

SENATOR RUDERMAN: I ALSO APPRECIATE THE CONCERNS THAT YOU’VE EXPRESSED ABOUT NOT KNOWING MORE THAN THE JUDGES. AS THE RESOLUTION STATES, AND AS THE PREVIOUS SPEAKER SAID, WE’RE NOT MAKING PRESUMPTIONS OF GUILT OR INNOCENCE. I WANT IN PART TO COMPARE THE TREATMENT OF THIS INDIVIDUAL WITH EVERY OTHER DEFENDANT IN THE STATE. IS HE THE MOST DANGEROUS PERSON IN THE STATE? AND IF NOT THERE HAS BEEN INJUSTICE BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE IS TREATED THIS WAY. I WANT TO SAY THAT ROGER CHRISTIE IS MY CONSTITUENT AND MY FRIEND. THAT’S WHY I FEEL COMPELLED TO SPEAK UP ON HIS BEHALF. HE’S NEVER BEEN CONVICTED OF ANY CRIME. HE’S ALREADY SERVED THREE YEARS IN PRISON, AND DURING THOSE THREE YEARS HE HAS BEEN DENIED ALMOST ALL VISITS INCLUDING HIS WIFE, ANY MEDIA, INCLUDING NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC AND NEWSWEEK. HE’S NOT EVEN RECEIVING VISITS AS REQUESTED FROM THE PRISON PASTOR. HE’S BEING TREATED DIFFERENTLY FROM ANY OTHER DEFENDANT IN THE STATE. AND JUST AS AN AMERICAN CITIZEN, HE HAS THE RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL AND DUE PROCESS. THAT RIGHT HAS ALREADY BEEN DENIED. ALL OF THAT SAID, I THANK YOU FOR HEARING THIS RESOLUTION. I WILL CERTAINLY ACCEPT THE WILL OF THE COMMITTEE. I WILL ALSO HAPPILY ACCEPT ANY AMENDMENT THAT MAKES THE CHAIR MORE COMFORTABLE EXPRESSES THE SENTIMENT OF THE SENATE ON THIS ISSUE.

SENATOR HEE: ALRIGHT. ANYONE ELSE?

SENATOR SLOM: CHAIR, WOULD YOU ENTERTAIN AN AMENDMENT THAT WOULD JUST SAY, INSTEAD OF URGING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO RELEASE, EXPRESSING OUR CONCERN. (INAUDIBLE)

SENATOR HEE: WE CAN DELAY THIS VOTE. WHAT’S UP KEVIN? (INAUDIBLE) LET ME SIT ON THIS. LET’S MOVE TO THE NEXT ONE. LET ME TRY TO FIGURE THIS THING OUT.

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SENATOR HEE: SO WE’RE BACK TO (inaudible).

SENATOR SLOM: RATHER THAN URGING THE RELEASE OF ROGER CHRISTIE… TO THE EFFECT OF EXPRESSING OUR CONCERN

SENATOR GABBARD (INAUDIBLE): CHANGES THE TONE OF THE RESOLUTION.

SENATOR HEE: IT’S ESPERO, YEAH?… DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE HE IS AT THE MOMENT? JOYCE, SEE IF YOU CAN CALL HIM. WE’LL TAKE A SHORT RECESS. THE RECOMMENDATION OR THE SUGGESTION BY SENATOR GABBARD IS TO CHANGE THE TITLE TO EXPRESSING A CONCERN AS OPPOSED TO URGING THE RELEASE. NOW IF THAT WERE … IF WE WERE TO GET PRIOR CONCURRENCE, ARE THERE THOSE OF YOU WHO WOULD VOTE AGAINST THAT HALF-A-LOAF SUGGESTION?

SENATOR SLOM: THAT’S NOT EVEN HALF A LOAF, MR. CHAIR. THAT’S MORE LIKE A CRUMB.

SENATOR HEE: SO YOU WOULD VOTE AGAINST IT?

SENATOR SLOM: WE’LL I’M NOT SURE. WE WANT TO HAVE SOMETHING, SOMETHING ALIVE.

SENATOR HEE: I’M NOT SURE I WOULD CALL IT A CRUMB, BUT

SENATOR SLOM: WE HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT WHETHER THE SUN IS GOING TO SHINE.

SENATOR HEE: I’LL TELL YOU WHAT THEN, WHY DON’T WE DEFER IT?

SENATOR SLOM: WE’LL THAT’S WHAT YOU WANT TO DO THEN, YOU’RE ASKING THE COMMITTEE FOR THEIR VOTES THEIR SUPPORT. AND I SUPPORT MOVING IT ALONG.

SENATOR HEE: OKAY. SO YOU DON’T SUPPORT AN AMENDMENT?

SENATOR SLOM: I SAID I WOULD SUPPORT AN AMENDMENT RATHER THAN KILL THE RESOLUTION.

SENATOR HEE: HOW ABOUT YOU?

SENATOR RUDERMAN: I WOULD RATHER MOVE SOMETHING ALONG. BUT I WOULD RATHER HAVE IT BE THE WAY IT IS. BUT IF THERE IS NOT ANY SUPPORT FOR THAT, THEN AT LEAST AMEND IT.

SENATOR HEE: SO WE’LL TAKE A 10-MINUTE RECESS. (BANGS GAVEL)

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SENATOR HEE: THE PREVIOUS CHAIR OF THE COMMITTEE… HE ASKED ME WHAT MY INCLINATION WAS, AND I SAID TO HIM MY INCLINATION WAS TO DEFER IT, AND HE’S FINE WITH THAT. SO UNLESS THERE IS ANY OTHER BUSINESS, THE RESOS RELATED TO ROGER CHRISTIE ARE DEFERRED. THANK YOU. (BANGS GAVEL)

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