Friday, March 2, 2012

Humane Society Wants Iseri-Carvalho Recused From Horse Abuse Case

The Kauai Humane Society is asking the court to recuse Prosecuting Attorney Shaylene Carvalho-Iseri from the animal cruelty case against Lara Butler-Brady because she has become personally involved.

The motion filed in Circuit Court yesterday claims that Iseri-Carvalho intends to dismiss the case, which is set for trial March 11, because the agency will not fire Jessica Venneman, who investigated the alleged abuse and neglect of Brady-Butler's horses.

In a declaration, KHS Executive Director Shannon Blizzard detailed attempts by Iseri-Carvalho to have Venneman disciplined or terminated following a personal run-in between the two women this past January.

It all started when Venneman checked out a barking dog complaint involving a man who reportedly is Iseri-Carvalho's cousin and married to a woman who works in the prosecutor's office. When Venneman tried to get the man to license his dogs, tensions escalated. He reportedly called Iseri-Carvalho, who in turn called Venneman, resulting in a heated conversation between the two women.

Iseri-Carvalho later complained to Blizzard about Venneman, saying she had lied and also had insulted her by implying she was seeking preferential treatment for the man. In further discussions, KHS staff said they felt Iseri-Carvalho was making it clear that her decision about whether to proceed with the horse abuse case hinged on Venneman's termination.

Prior to the run-in, the prosecutor's office had assured KHS the case was good and winnable, and no mention had been made of dropping it, the motion states. But after the incident, Iseri-Carvalho sent Blizzard the following email, which threw the trial in doubt:

Aloha Shannon:

I just was handed a letter dated February 24, 2012 that was addressed to Marla Torres-Lam regarding Lara Butler-Brady's trial. As you already know, we have made numerous exceptions in this matter which our office can no longer afford to do. The OPA never authorized any witnessed back from the Mainland for a misdemeanor case, except this case. We agree this is a very important case. For this reason, it is extremely rare that we have an experienced felony deputy utilize her experience on a misdemeanor case when she has almost 100 serious heinous felony cases that total thousands of criminal counts. This is a huge exception. We have expended thousands and thousands of dollars. We have limited resources. My office has bent over backwards to accommodate your needs. You have been made aware of the credibility of one of the main witnesses that directly affect the integrity of this office's reputation. We will not bringing Dr. Rhodes back and cannot in ethical conscience proceed when you have not resolved the issues regarding your employee. (emphasis added in court documents). This information has already been provided to you in person at our last meeting.

Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho

The motion filed by KHS contends that a special prosecutor is warranted because Iseri-Carvalho is failing to prosecute crimes as the county charter requires, and has not cited proper reasons for her intent to dismiss the case:

Instead, the prosecutor states two justifications for her decision to dismiss the case — money and her dispute with the investigator.... Neither of these two reasons appear in the [American Bar Association] guidelines regarding dismissal of criminal prosecutions. Indeed, cost is not an issue, as movant Humane Society has already secured financial commitments necessary to secure the presence of necessary witnesses at trial. Thus this prosecution will “cost” no more than any “standard” prosecution of sixteen counts of cruelty to animals. This leaves the other reason the prosecutor refused to prosecute these crimes against animals — she is concerned with her office's reputation if she prosecutes a case in which she has accused an investigator of misrepresenting a totally unrelated conversation, a year and a half after the subject violation.

Movant suggests the appointment of a special prosecutor provides the best assurance that animal cruelty will not go unprosecuted and the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney will have its reputation left intact.

The court documents outline another recent incident in which Iseri-Carvalho contacted Blizzard to say that Renie Judd, who works in the prosecutor's office, wanted to make a trespassing complaint against Venneman for coming onto her property. Venneman had left water for dogs owned by Darren Judd, the woman's husband, as she has several times in the past. KHS staff felt it was intended as more pressure to terminate Venneman.

The documents also include details of a telephone conversation between deputy prosecutor Melinda Mendes, who is handling the horse abuse case, and Blizzard. During the call, Blizzard states, Mendes noticed an email from Iseri-Carvalho:

There was panic in her voice, as she thought she had just been fired. Ms. Mendes …. read the email, “I, and other people, have issues with Jessica and the reputation of this office. If you do not agree with us, this might not be the right office for you.”

Blizzard also tells of a Feb. 23 phone conversation with Mendes, who relayed that Iseri-Carvalho planned to dismiss the case the day of the trial:

Ms. Mendes asked Ms. Iseri-Carvalo what their grounds were for dropping the case. Ms. Iseri-Carvalho said Ms. Mendes would state she is not prepared to go to trial and request the case be dismissed. Ms Mendes told me she was not going to take the fall on this case. She said she would not be “fucked over.”

In her affidavit, KHS Board President Elizabeth Frietas recounted a Feb. 10 meeting she attended with Mendes, Blizzard and Orianna Skomoroch of KHS to discuss a possible plea deal with Butler-Brady. At the meeting, Mendes reportedly said she did not have any problems with Venneman's actions. Frietas went on to recount:

Ms. Mendes said she wanted to have a conversation with us that was “off the record.” She said if we repeated this she would be fired.

Ms. Mendes said she had no idea what Ms. Iseri-Carvalho was going to do but that she was concerned. She is hoping this is not over a “personal vendetta.”

Ms. Mendes said she was working very hard on this plea deal because she was not sure what her boss was going to do and it worried her.

Ms. Mendes thought that Ms. Iseri-Carvalho should conflict out.

In addition to the appointment of a special prosecutor, the Humane Society also is seeking pre-trial forfeiture of 16 horses seized from Brady-Butler's pastures “to ensure the horses are adequately protected.” KHS has cared for the horses since May 2010, incurring costs of about $70,000. It also filed an exparte motion asking for an expedited hearing.


Anonymous said...

This is incredible. It would appear that the entire county authority structure is frakking out of control.

Do any of these people have a clue as to who they work for? Like...US?

Anonymous said...

Are you related to the Cavalho clan?

Of not, you don't count.

Said before, you don't belong here, leave us to take care of our own.

Anonymous said...

Head spinning! Break it down Joan! What the *(^& is goin' on?

Anonymous said...

Totally chickenshit of the humane society to screw Melinda Mendes.

Joan Conrow said...

Well, in a nutshell, the Kauai Humane Society is contending that Shay is trying to get one of their workers fired by threatening to drop the horse abuse case if they don't. And if the case is dismissed, the horses would likely go back to the person who allegedly abused them, and KHS would have to eat the $70,000 it's spent taking care of them pending trial.

Please, check out the documents. That's why I posted them. And remember that this is just KHS' version, and a judge will decide after listening to Shay's side of the story.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Totally chickenshit of what Shay did Ms. Mendes, and to the horses, and to Jessica and to the people of Kauai. Hooray for Ms. Mendes for having the integrity and courage to stand up and report her boss. It’s about time. She won’t go far in that office with that kind of integrity. Ms. Mendes for Prosecuting Attorney!!!

Anonymous said...

So why DID Dr. Becky Rhoades leave so suddenly? Always assumed it was the horse issue, but of course there was no real info coming from TGI....

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable, but at the same time, not.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Mendes is not the first attorney that was embarrassed and compromised by the vindictive prosecutor, or the second, or the third,

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Shaylene has a vendetta against KHS over the Dogs on the coastal path issue which dominated her tenure as councilwoman. I'm glad someone is running against Ms. 'I sent you dat already' Carvalho for prosecutor this fall. Given the departures of attorneys from her office, the stellar (sarc.) write up in TGI, and now this, I'm glad we'll have options this fall.

Anonymous said...

Girls, girls, girls. This is a small island and everyone gets a kerfuffle about what one person "supposedly" says. Let it be sorted out in court.

Frankly Joan, I am really disappointed that you are writing like this. I am a loyal fan of yours and like your articles. However, much of the details here are second, or third level hearsay. Your journalistic standards are being debased. This seems to be more like muck rucking than real journalism. Articles like this make me want to stop reading your blog.

Anonymous said...

Joan accurately quotes from a court document that lays out a case for extortion committed by the prosecuting attorney. If you can't see the importance of the story, you shouldn't be reading her blog.

Anonymous said...

Add Iseri-Carvalho to the long list of County employees who need to be fired, please.

Anonymous said...

"While there may be many legitimate reasons that a case may be properly dismissed a non profit agency's refusal to fire an employee with whom the prosecutor has had a disagreement- some eighteen months after the date of the alleged offenses- is not one of them"


Anonymous said...

Girls, girls, girls

WTF is up with that?

Anonymous said...

Shay has a vendetta with alot of people on this island...."those people"....meaning anyone who is white and disagrees with her.

She is on a power trip with an overdose of self importance and Ego.

and Yes, she was against dogs on the Bike Path.

Dr Shibai

Anonymous said...

She is not an employee but an elected official. Someone who should be doing right by the people, ALL of the people.

Anonymous said...

Poor Shaylene, nobody will play with her in the sand box.

Now that she is left alone, who will pick up all the crap that she made?

What a mess, dodo and shishi all over herself. Don't feel its sorry for her

Her reign of terror will come to an end. She will be prosecuted sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

Shay also has trouble with locals who get on her shit list. Flores, Wada, etc, She went after her husband's uncle. So she has that going for her.

Anonymous said...

Oh Yea,
Her husbands uncle who is the Mayor's father.

Anonymous said...

So it isn't about race as some here imply if she goes after locals and even relatives. Sounds like Shay doesn't discriminate. I for one question Jessica's professionalism or judgement in handling complaints and that she has shown favoritism when pursuing or not pursuing complaints. Whether that warrants dismissing the case I can't speak to that.

I know Laura and she always took loving care of her horses when I was around. I don't know what transpired and wonder if KHS was over-zealous in the way they handled this complaint. Jessica's creditability comes in to question if she was involved.

Anonymous said...

I have had professional contact with Jessica on several occasions.

I have been required to contact KHS regarding an issue of animal abuse in the neighborhood. Jessica would be the Humane Officer to respond.

On both accounts--and over the years-Jessica has been an exemplary in her professional demeanor. Jessica was polite, professional, proactive and got things done.

Prosecutor Shalylene-Iseri needs to go. This person is under oath to uphold laws and be of an independent mind. She could care less.

Iseri-Carvalho is anything but ethical. Many innocent people have been hurt at the hands of this vendictive, entitled female.

Google The Garden Island News. Go to TGI archives and type in Iseri-Carvalho's "old boyfriend's name (REGO) of yeeaarrs and yeeaarrs ago.

If it had not been for Attorney Mark Zenger, this poor guy, Rego, today, could be sitting in jail at KCCC fir 5 years--Iseri-Carvaloho having gone after her former boyfriend.

Isn't this woman married now? What is wrong with her? Have to wonder what her husband thinks about her attention on a former boyfriend.

The Office of the Attorney General had a few words for Iseri-Carvalho.

This complaint against jessica and Iseri-Carvaloho's threats and rediculous letter written is one more example as to why this person needs to be taken out of seat as PA.

Justin Kollar for Prosecuting Attorney.

Good luck KHS. Keep your chin up, Jessica.

Shay does what she can to make certain it doesn't pay to be a beautiful woman around a washed-up, black widow like Iseri-Carvalo.

She just can't stand having smart, beautiful women any where near her.

Anonymous said...

Mirror mirror on the wall. Who's the fairest of them all? Watch out! Shaylene's mirror not giving her the answer she wants to hear.