Yes, even though attorneys negotiated a plea deal for Dayne on charges that began with the Aug. 26, 2007 Superferry protests, Deputy Prosecutor Melinda Mendes insisted on playing hard ball by fighting the return of Dayne's badge. The same badge that Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe had previously ordered cops and prosecutors to return. The same badge that Prosecutor Justin Kollar says his office views as neither contraband, nor "a valid symbol of law enforcement authority."
So why not just give it back? Maybe even with an apology for the way the system has jacked Dayne around so badly for the last six years. Let's not forget that Dayne and Rob Pa were the only people ever prosecuted for the Superferry protests. Or the time when cops did a dramatic armed traffic stop to arrest Dayne, in front of his wife and daughter, for missing a court date — even though he had a doctor's excuse that was indeed in court records.
Melinda claims the badge is still needed as evidence in the case pending against Rob. But that's kind of hard to swallow, since Rob is also planning to plead out. And even if he does go to trial, why would you present evidence that hadn't been used to secure a conviction against another defendant?
Melinda's move smacks of a petty power play. Or maybe she just doesn't like men with tattoos on their faces.
Either way, she does have a boss who has shown his inclination to do the right thing by settling stinky cases that have already wasted tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars. Perhaps he'll stretch a bit more and kick down the badge. I'm sure it would mean a lot to Dayne and those who support indigenous rights.
And that includes the United Nations, which last week sponsored a press conference on the Kingdom's launch of its kala currency. The currency, not minted since the late 1800s, will come in three denominations: one ounce copper worth 2 kala; one ounce silver worth 50 kala and a tenth-ounce gold coin worth 500 kala. It's currently being sold online.
All this was announced in the press conference, in which Dayne is described as the Alii Nui of Polynesia. In response to questions from reporters, Dayne said the Kingdom has been recognized by the United Nations. When pressed for what kind of recognition, Dayne said the UN gave Hawaii “seat number 25” in 1945, and he is working to reclaim that seat. (I haven't been able to confirm that assignation.)
Dayne also told reporters he has been negotiating with the feds, specifically Homeland Security, and Hawaii police to collaborate with the Kingdom's security force “to focus our efforts on crime.” That's likely to be a hard sell, given the intense resistance to Dayne even possessing a Kingdom badge, much less one that they recognize.