At 8 a.m. Wednesday, Sen. Russell Ruderman, joined by Sen. Will Espero, met with federal detainee Roger Christie at the Federal Detention Center (FDC) in Honolulu to discuss his incarceration, health, and rights as a U.S. citizen under the United States Constitution.
Christie has been held now for almost three years without a bail hearing or a trial.
After weeks of requests and assurances, the U.S. Attorney’s Office granted permission for Ruderman, representing Christie’s district, and Espero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs, to visit Christie at the FDC in Honolulu with restrictions, including that no media shall be present.
Christie has not been allowed to meet with media despite requests from National Geographic, Newsweek and Honolulu Civil Beat among many others.
In June 2010, Christie, along with 12 co-defendants, was charged with manufacture, possession with intent to sell marijuana. The other defendants have been released on bail pending trial.
Prior to the detention hearing, Christie was interviewed by the Office of Pretrial Services and on July 13, 2010, Pretrial Services issued a report that recommended Christie be released on an unsecured bond of $50,000.
In the almost three years since that recommendation, all efforts to have Christie released pending trial or have access to a speedy trial have been denied. Visitations have been severely limited by the FDC including those by his wife Share Christie, who has not been allowed to see her husband for almost a year.
In recent weeks, additional charges have been added, and his trial postponed once again.
While the charges against Christie are federal in nature, holding a defendant without bail, while denying his/her constitutional right to a speedy trial is virtually unheard of in this state.
Even those accused of serious crimes such as large-scale distribution of ice, violent criminals, rapists and murderers are routinely released on bail pending trial.
To urge President Obama and the federal government to release Christie pending a hearing, Ruderman authored two measures — Senate Concurrent Resolution 75 and Senate Resolution 42 – both of these measures have been passed by the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs.
Christie explained he is content with the position he is in because he feels he is doing the right thing and looks forward to proving his innocence in a court of law, saying, “Dignity trumps longevity.”
Ruderman and Espero expressed their concern for Christie, the violation of his Constitutional rights, and the implications for all persons facing non-violent federal charges and deemed dangerous by the federal judicial system, such has been the case for Christie since July 2010.
Ruderman said, “I have known Roger for over 25 years. He is one of the most peaceful persons I know. To anyone who knows him, the claim that he is a danger to the community is absurd.”
Espero said, “This visit was very enlightening. I still feel that Mr. Christie should be released pending a trial.”
Ruderman and Espero thanked FDC Warden David Shinn, Asst. Warden Tom Blumm, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Kawahara, and Public Defender Thomas Otake, for their assistance and for the opportunity to meet with Christie.