In 2020, as the campaign cycle for Honolulu City Prosecutor was heating up, I watched a debate where candidates discussed former City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle's award for his top prosecutor, which was known within the office as the "Top Gun" award.
In the spirit of closing out 2021 with a year-end review, I've decided to create a criminal defense award in the same spirit; only this time, its A-1 Bail Bonds' "Top Gun" award.
The methodology comprises of 3 factors:
1) Retainment or Prospective Retainment on Hawaii's biggest cases
2) Successful outcomes for cases closed in 2021
3) Social impact on the criminal justice system, which falls outside of the metrics of money, wins, or losses.
This issue, which is part one of the Top Gun Award series, will discuss three nominees.
Attorney Rick Sing is one of the founding partners of longtime criminal defense firm, "Hawk, Sing, Ignacio, Waters." Although the firm has since broken up, Mr. Sing has consistently been in the spotlight for major cases in the criminal justice field.
This year, he along with co-counsel, successfully defended the 3 HPD officers charged with murder, in the Iremamber Sykap shooting.
The case was heavily politicized, and attracted protests in support of the officers - known as the "Back the BLUE" movement, as well as social justice advocates for the Sykap side.
A second major achievement which isn't talked about much, was Mr. Sing ability to negotiate reinstatement for Honolulu police sergeant Daniel Sellers. Sellers plead guilty to a single misdemeanor count in the Kathy Kealoha corruption case.
All political feelings aside, from a legal standpoint, those two accomplishments alone are "Top Gun" worthy.
"How does an attorney get a cop his job back, when said cop plead guilty to a Federal misdemeanor in a police corruption case?"
That's an answer only Mr. Sing knows, and it's worthy of wonder and marvel.
A-1's next nominee for "Top Gun," is Crystal Glendon. Ms. Glendon was a respected public defender for 15 years, but deserves special recognition for making the leap into private practice.
In a historically male dominated industry, Ms. Glendon created a successful practice handling felony and misdemeanor criminal cases, along with civil litigation.
Her most recognizable win in 2021 came as she successfully defended her client in the Iremamber Sykap shooting (picture below), as co-counsel with fellow "Top Gun" nominee Rick Sing.
I worked with her personally on a felony case just last week, and I was reminded of her impressive "local knowledge" on how to get things done within quickly and efficiently for her clients. I have to commend her on the way she's leveraged years of making personal connections, with key contacts, so that clients can skip the painful bottlenecks of the system, and instead smoothly move to a favorable outcome. That's the stuff they don't teach in school folks, you either got it, or you don't; and Ms. Glendon has "got it."
Locally, attorney Marcus Landsberg is one of the most prominent legal voices in all of social media. He's never been afraid to speak on complicated legal matters, and in 2021, he's assembled a thoughtful and compelling blog and podcast series.
Whether it's the ever useful content of "How to Use Oahu DUI Roadblock Maps"
or his commentary on more controversial issues like the Kyle Rittenhouse or Jussie Smollett cases, Mr. Landsberg has has proven to be both BOLD and insightful.
Below is a link to his blog:
Stay tuned for next week; I'll be showcasing more "TOP GUN" nominees for 2021!