Jury trial set in virus order violation case

Jury trial is set for one of five people arrested in August for gathering at Kahaluu Beach Park in violation of Gov. David Ige’s emergency proclamation.

Keaau resident Stefanie Nolff is scheduled for trial on March 9, 2021, after pleading not guilty to violating Ige’s emergency proclamation and failure to disperse. She entered her plea Oct. 8 during a court appearance before Kona District Judge Margaret Masunaga. Nolff remains free after posting $6,500 bail.

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Meanwhile, the other four people arrested Aug. 31 have yet to enter pleas to the offenses, court records show.

Gene Tamashiro last appeared Oct. 26 in Kona District Court for an entry of plea; however, the case was continued to Dec. 14 because of the defendant being “uncooperative.” A motion was filed two days later by the Office of the Public Defender to withdraw as council and requesting the court appoint a successor to represent Tamashiro, who remains on supervised release.

Melody Harris last appeared in court Nov. 9, but did not enter a plea because the court had not yet received a waiver of her right to attorney. She’s set to enter a plea Dec. 7 in Kona District Court.

Also set to appear Dec. 7 to enter a plea is Diana Fischer. Fischer’s last court appearance was Nov. 9 during which she informed the court she hadn’t yet obtained counsel and didn’t know if she wanted to head to trial.

Michaele Medearis appeared Tuesday after failing to show up for court Oct. 12, prompting a bench warrant for her arrest. She was granted supervised release and order to appear Dec. 21 to enter a plea to the charges.

The five were arrested after police received a report of a large gathering at the Kahaluu beach in Kailua-Kona. The gathering was for the Hawaii Health Summit, which was meeting to discuss COVID-19 and other issues.

The Hawaii Police Department said officers responding to the park that day reportedly observed about 30 people within the large pavilion. In addition, no one was wearing masks or social distancing.

“Upon contact with these individuals, officers attempted to educate these parties on the most recent Governor’s Emergency Proclamation; however, they refused to listen or comply with the officers,” reads a police department press release. “Officers then began to issue citations, where the crowd then became belligerent and hostile.”

Police said officers then requested additional units to their location. Once additional officers were on scene, they began arresting all individuals who were in violation of the emergency proclamation, therefore causing others to disperse.

Each was charged with violating Ige’s emergency proclamation by gathering in a group of greater than 10, not wearing a mask and failing to maintain social distancing as well as failure to disperse.

The same weekend the five were arrested at Kahaluu, police arrested three people in North Kohala for violating an emergency proclamation.

Scott Alan Souza was arrested and charged Aug. 31 for prohibited acts emergency management, Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 127A-29, after he refused to comply with Mayor Harry Kim’s Emergency Rule No. 11, which requires all people wear non-medical grade face coverings while in public settings.

Police said they contacted Souza at the Kapaau police station after observing his vehicle parked in a disabled parking stall without displaying a disabled parking placard. During the interaction, police asked Souza multiple times to put on a face covering, which he refused to do.

Bail was set at $3,025 pending an initial court appearance during which Souza was granted supervised release. He has yet to enter a plea and a motion for a mental examination was granted Nov. 18. He remains free in lieu of $100 bail, which was imposed after he failed to show for court Sept. 25 and Oct. 23.

On Sept. 1, Marie Fabienne Kerby and Rosalia Maria Bruner were arrested for prohibited acts emergency management after both women refused to comply with Emergency Rule No. 11.

Police contacted the women after responding to a report that more than 10 people were gathered fronting a Hawi business and no one was wearing face coverings.

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Both are set to be arraigned Nov. 27 and remain free in lieu of $2,000 bail.

Violation of the rules and proclamation is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine no greater than $5,000.

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