Bail bondsmen raise concerns over national registry

Chuck Fisher
Chuck Fisher
City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro
City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro
Duane "Dog" Chapman
Duane "Dog" Chapman

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - AAA Local Bail Bonds manager Chuck Fisher has a problem. He claims some criminals he posted bail for, and who skipped town, were then arrested on the mainland.

"We're talking about dangerous felons. We're talking about burglars, robbers, domestic violence folks. It runs the gamut," he said.

But the fugitives were released because the city prosecutor's office had not entered a warrant for their arrest in a nationwide law enforcement database.

"Every felon that gets out of Hawaii, unless it's a murder case that's going to be capital, or something like that, they don't take the time to put them in the NCIC," he said.

The National Crime Information Center is a central site that tracks criminals. An NCIC warrant ensures a Hawaii fugitive is held until a bail bondsmen or Honolulu police take them into custody.

"My livelihood depends on bringing the guy back," Fisher said. "If the one tool that allows me to go outside this state and bring them back is gone - I'm done."

The same thing happened recently to Duane "Dog" Chapman when he tried to claim custody of fugitives Mark Debarge and Michael Neff, who had fled to the mainland and were arrested. Authorities couldn't release them because they had no NCIC warrant from Hawaii in the system.

Fisher said it happens a lot.

We took his complaint to City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro. He said bail bondsmen have a legitimate beef.

"It is a complaint. And it's a complaint that affected public safety. That's why we corrected it when I took office," he said.

Kaneshiro said after he was re-elected as prosecutor in 2010, he checked the records and was shocked to learn that 2,300 warrants on Hawaii fugitives were not entered into the NCIC database. The backlog goes back 14 years.

"It takes a lot to get this whole process going again," he said.

Kaneshiro doesn't know why the previous administration didn't input so many warrants with NCIC, but his office is trying to update the records.

"We reviewed the 2,300 warrants. Most of them were inputted into NCIC. Violent crimes, Class A and B felonies. The Class C felonies would be the drug crimes, the violent crimes. We even put in DUI," he said.

"We hope that that's the truth," Fisher said. "We hope that we can get cooperation from them. We're certainly here to help them if we can."

Fisher said since public safety is at risk, we should all be concerned, not just those who post bail.

Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved