Attorney Eric Seitz Joins the A-1 Podcast
To express the immensity of podcast #16, I'd like to highlight just one aspect of my prep; I watched the Hawaii State Bar Association's show "Living Legend Lawyers," where legendary attorney Howard Luke interviewed legendary attorney Eric Seitz. That's quite a build up, but I promise, Mr. Seitz delivered as advertised. He did not shy away from controversy, and in the opening segment eloquently advocated for his client Erik Willis.
I asked Mr. Seitz what he though of the sensationalist headlines and copy published about his client. That copy included:
"Kahala teen on the run,"
“Attempted murder suspect Erik Willis is missing,”
"presumed to be armed and dangerous."
Well, Mr. Willis had been arrested initially and bail was set at $200,000. His grandparents posted a bond and he was released...He did appear in court. The judge confirmed the bail with the understanding that there was very likely to be an intervening Grand Jury process and an indictment..He was indicted and to our utter surprise and consternation through a process that we're only now beginning to understand, the amount of the bail was changed. There was nothing that happened to warrant that other than some prosecutor and some judge getting together and saying, $200,000 is not enough to ensure that this man stays in jail until he's convicted..I then immediately called the Sheriff's office to see if they had the warrant for his arrest, so we could surrender him. They told me they did not, and that because it happened on a Friday in the middle or later part of the day that they probably would not be prepared to arrest and process him until the following Monday. But they would let me know. And they had my phone number.. The police came looking for Mr. Willis, to his house on Saturday afternoon. I was at home across the street. And his family said, if you need information about him, he's not home right now, go talk to his lawyer, who's right across the street. They didn't come. I called the police officer who left his name and number. He wouldn't accept the call, never called me back. So the following Sunday morning, I called the Sheriff's office again. And they told me, yes, they had now received a warrant. And within an hour or two of that call, Mr. Willis surrendered himself. He was never at large; he never jumped bail; he was never armed and dangerous as he was depicted in the media. And he's presumed to be innocent in accordance with every Constitution of the State of Hawaii and the United States Constitution and case law going back several hundred years.
The 4 minute clip is available for viewing via the link below:
At the 38 minute mark of the podcast, I asked Mr. Seitz for an update on the Kealoha Corruption case. I was pleased to hear that approximately $500,000 in assets/cash have been recovered thanks to Mr. Seitz's work.
At the 20 minute mark, I asked Mr. Seitz for the inside scoop on the $80,000 settlement he won on behalf of clients Courtney Wilson and Taylor Guerrero, the lesbian couple wrongfully arrested at the North Shore Foodland back in 2015. Personally, I was happy for the couple, but also disappointed that often times, suing an agency is required just to safeguard against wrongful arrests.
I was surprised to learn that Mr. Seitz had organized anti-war protests with actress Jane Fonda. I'll be honest, I only know her from the Sir Mix-a-lot song, but it was still fun to hear stories of Vietnam protests and the bonds formed over ethical principles and human rights.
Full podcast is available via:
Here's the table of contents, so you can skip around to whichever section peaks your interest:
0:24 - Erik Willis, Kahala teen accused of stabbing, was falsely said to be "on the run," "missing," and "arm and dangerous." Mr. Seitz, his attorney, sets the record straight
6:50 - Was Erik Willis' right to reasonable bail violated when raised to $1M , then set at "no bail?”
10:30 - Are there issues with the Department of Public safety giving inmates medications/prescriptions late or not at all?
12:30 - The truth about covid-19 at OCCC
13:15 - Will detainees & employees SUE the State of Hawaii over unsafe covid-19 conditions?
16:30 - Do double bookings expose inmates and employees alike to covid-19 twice?
17:17 - What lessons can the court learn from covid-19
19:55 - $80K settlement for the lesbian couple arrested at Foodland Pupukea.
22:41 - Mr. Seitz talks about his experience with the trial of the Chicago 7
29:33 - Mr. Seitz friendship / connection with Jane Fonda
38:00 - What's the latest on the civil case against Katherine Kealoha on behalf of client Gerard Puana?