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Bail increased for man facing multiple drug, firearms charges

April 8, 2014 - 12:05am

A Kawaihae man’s bail was increased to $500,000 pending a hearing to determine whether he is mentally fit to face a long list of drug charges.

Third Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Strance agreed to raise Martin Frank Booth’s bail from $275,000 at a hearing Monday morning, while the court awaits the mental fitness exams. A hearing on those reports, as well as the Prosecuting Attorney Office’s request to revoke Booth’s bail entirely, is scheduled for later this month.

Booth, 55, was charged in January with meth trafficking, eight counts of promoting dangerous drugs, promoting controlled substances near a school, three counts of promoting detrimental drugs, three counts of possessing drug paraphernalia, six firearm offenses and terroristic threatening.

His attorney, Dean Kauka, argued against proceeding with any hearings until the mental fitness reports were completing, noting that he couldn’t be certain Booth fully understood the motion unless doctors concluded Booth was competent to continue with the court proceedings.

Strance said she “can’t imagine the court lacks authority” to address bail issues while awaiting the outcome of a mental fitness examination, although Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Sheri Lawson’s argument didn’t explicitly outline that authority.

Kauka said he agreed that the court probably did have that authority, and Lawson said she would submit an argument to that effect.

Lawson argued in her March 28 motion to revoke Booth’s bail that allowing him to remain out of police custody presented a danger to the public.

“The defendant made statements to police … that he ‘would shoot somebody’ if he were around guns,” the motion said. “The defendant also stated that he carried guns on him on purpose in the hopes that if contacted by the police, they would kill him.”

The motion said Booth failed to keep contact with an appointed representative and failed to provide proof of completing a mental health and anger management assessment. Booth also failed to appear in court for a Feb. 11 preliminary hearing, the motion said.

The bail revocation hearing will take place the same day as Booth’s mental fitness hearing, Strance said.

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