Jail time delayed for Maunakea vandal

KAILUA-KONA — A judge Wednesday delayed a jail stint for a Kalapana woman ordered to serve two days for failing to complete community service handed down in a 2017 case of vandalism atop Maunakea.

South Kohala District Court Judge Mahilani EK Hiatt signed the amended mittimus after Hope Louise Cermelj, who identifies herself as Alohalani Hope Dietz Cermelj, submitted paperwork to the court Wednesday afternoon showing she was receiving chronic wound treatment. The document, filed in Waimea, was not available online as of press time Wednesday.

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The amended filing now requires Cermelj, 66, to appear at 10 a.m. Jan. 4, 2019, at Hawaii Community Correctional Center. She must still serve two days for not completing 100 community service hours as ordered for her role in desecrating with spray-paint the mountain held sacred by many in April 2017.

Cermelj said she had just filed with the court Thursday a doctor’s note from Lokenani Souza, APRN with North Hawaii Community Hospital, stating that Cermelj has been under her care for chronic wound treatment since Cermelj’s Sept. 6 release from Hilo Medical Center.

Cermelj said the note also stated that she comes into the clinic twice a week for dressing changes.

“A doctor’s note supersedes a court order,” Cermelj said. She added her treatment is expected to continue into mid-January.

On Tuesday, Cermelj was ordered to jail during a third proof of compliance hearing in Waimea, having completed just 32 of the 100 hours ordered by the court after pleading no contest back in May to two petty misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree criminal property damage. She was supposed to have completed the hours by Aug. 7.

The judge seemed inclined to give Cermelj more time to complete the work. However, a program specialist with the Judiciary recommended Hiatt send Cermelj to jail. The judge followed the recommendation.

After the motion was filed, the judge delayed the incarceration date.

Cermelj also alleged Thursday that the court on Tuesday violated its own rules by not giving her the right to object as she is representing herself.

Further, the judge’s refusal to answer her question about a doctor’s note previously submitted to the court violated due process, she said.

“There will be a notice of intent to appeal this mess,” said Cermelj.

Despite Hiatt’s order to turn herself into jail on Jan. 4, Cermelj said she cannot. The seriousness of her open wound has her concerned that conditions at Hawaii Community Correctional Center could make the situation worse.

“I won’t ethically, legally or morally go into any incarceration facility on this island,” she said.

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Cermelj said she suffered the wound Aug. 18 at Kaimu Bay in Puna while giving papers to a man. While there, she said, an unleashed dog approached and bit her as she tried to protect the elderly man.

Cermelj, who considers herself a subject of the Hawaiian Kingdom and who also ran unsuccessfully for the state House District 4 seat in 2012, was charged with criminal property damage after graffiti was discovered in the Maunakea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve and at summit property managed by the University of Hawaii in late April 2017.

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