Top trainer for deputy sheriffs, corrections officers admits to lying about her credentials
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The head of training for the state Department of Public Safety admitted Tuesday to making up key elements of her college credentials to get promotions.
Under a deal with the Attorney General’s Office, J. Marte Martinez avoids felony charges by pleading guilty to four misdemeanor count of tampering with a government record and lying to authorities.
The crimes occurred months after a Hawaii News Now investigation exposed inconsistencies in Martinez’s applications, which touted questionable college accomplishments.
Civil service rules don’t allow for automatic termination for misdemeanor crimes so it’s possible the 58-year-old could keep her job. And that’s raising eyebrows for some who have followed the case.
“It’s ridiculous,” said attorney Ted Hong, who represented fired corrections officers and claimed improper training by the department.
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Martinez was able to climb to the top of the unit, putting her charge of training for nearly 1,000 deputy sheriffs and corrections officers statewide.
But an investigation found one of the colleges Martinez listed, the University of Southern Oregon, didn’t have any record of her attendance. The plea deal said she submitted “falsely made” transcripts from that school and the University of Northern Virginia.
Ironically, Martinez told state Judge Faauuga Tootoo that she is enrolled in a master’s program now.
The state Attorney General’s office charged Martinez with 14 counts, including felony perjury.
The felony counts were dropped as part of the plea agreement.
A spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety said the administration is “aware of criminal proceedings but cannot comment on personnel matters.”
Martinez joined DPS on Sept. 16, 2014 as a firearms training tech. She was promoted on Feb. 1, 2016 to firearms training specialist. Later that year, she was promoted again to firearms training specialist.
In 2018, Martinez became the public safety training officer, the administrator of the training division.
“The people of Hawaii rightfully expect integrity from public servants,” state Attorney General Anne Lopez said, in a statement.
Martinez is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 31. She faces up to a year in prison for each count.
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