Tag Archives: Hawaii Criminal Lawyer

Solving Prostitution Part II

Solving Prostitution Part II


This all started because I read a petition that used sensationalism over substance to achieve a visceral reaction to gain a signature for a petition. A member of the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery told me that he agrees with me that the law DOES undisputedly contain a a way to detain juveniles without criminalizing them.

But that part of the petition remains unchanged. Which means they still choose pretty fiction over uncomfortable fact.

Earlier this week I sat down with the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery. After explaining everything to them, After their representative saying they AGREE with me on my point about the law, they amended a PART of their petition (to something that is still wrong). But the first sentence of their petition is still WHOLLY A LIE. It’s absolutely not true. I showed EXACTLY where in the law they can “detain juveniles without criminalizing them”, and they prefer to keep it as the lead in their petition. Probably because it is effective. It is only effective to people who don’t know what the law reads.

Basically there have three responses once they are made aware:

  1. “Marcus, we won’t change it because you read the law wrong. HERE IS WHY you read the law wrong, HERE IS WHERE the law says something different than what you say.”
  2. “Marcus, you read the law right, so we will change the petition to be intellectually honest.”
  3. “Marcus, its a great pitch, why should we change it?

Guess which they’re going with so far? Change it to be honest with the people you’re attempting to convince. They’ll quote you, they’ll then get corrected. Then they’ll blame you for leading them on..

(and the one edit they did make is wrong, here is the correct chart of the park closure vs. prostitution punishments:)


Intellectually disingenuous.

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Announcing the Honolulu Roadblock Map!

Announcing the Honolulu Roadblock Map!

Today we hit, and surpassed, 250 Facebook likes!

So, to thank all of you who have been such good fans and customers, we accelerated the schedule on our next big web update and decided to announce early our latest contribution to the Hawaii legal community.

We spent our time collating and organizing the map of the Honolulu Police Department’s Roadblocks and Speeding Operations.  The purpose of this map is to allow you to see, graphically, where the Honolulu Police Department have been concentrating their traffic arrests.

Plan ahead to avoid the roadblocks and speed traps. This will not tell you all of them, but it will definitely tell you where the police have made traffic stops before. On some corners in excess of 100 speeding stops in a short period of time.

See our latest:Click!

True Hustler For Real — Choices

True Hustler For Real -- Choices

It’s hard to write a response blog to a statement no one can ever hear, but I got to work in my favorite rap video of all time before the end, so at least part of this worked!

You know that I’m a hustler for real so you know I got the stolen bus pass.

I met for the first time a true hustler today.  He needed transportation, all he had was a set and nothing to lose.  He took an edged weapon and held it up to the little white boy.

“Choices” she said.  That was the theme of the lady’s speech to the young Defendant I was defending.  ”You have all the choices in the world, and you chose to hold a knife to my son and threaten him.

Choices, she repeated thirty times.

Her son, for example, had chosen to play Lacrosse.

My defendant, a child of 15, hadn’t “chosen” to play Lacrosse? In fact he hadn’t even heard of Lacrosse. His father chuckled to me after everything, “How do you play Lacrosse, anyway?” Choices.

When he was younger he had a choice, either get beat up every single day, or join the gang, Halawa Mob.

When he was 12 he had the option, get beat up every single day, or smoke ice for the first time. How’s that choice?


Prison? School?

One is my school. One could have been.

Aaron Sorkin famously said “You know how I got hooked on cocaine? I tried it”. Choices.  He has a choice every single time

Choices, this mom had a choice, she could’ve voted for representatives that took better care of the local school system; Of after-school programs.

Choices, she could have invested in teaching young children the importance of teamwork, rather than gang work.

Choices, the State of Hawaii could have chosen a race to the top, rather than discarding a race to the bottom.

If you offered me ice at 13, I would’ve smoked it for sure. Luckily they only offered me Comics.

I try not to think: “Lady, you just don’t get it.  YOUR son has choices in his life, he can choose what video game to play, or if he takes honors English or AP English. He can choose which sport to letter in. The defendant doesn’t have choices, choices have him.”

Of course the American dream is amazingly fair. Anybody can succeed, and exceed. But to do so you have to escape the trap. And if you can’t escape, you get neither the opportunity, nor the options to make choices. And we all start different distances from the escape.

The choices some kids have to make start with “how will I not get killed today.” If everybody you know, everybody from your neighborhood is dead or in jail by 21, what’s the point of planning for a career? If all your role models disappear by 23, you don’t make plans for 24.

Where I grew up, not going to college was unthinkable.  It would be like not going to Junior High. Of course everyone goes to college. Where my client grew up, not going to prison is unthinkable.  Everyone goes.

Life on the installment plan, that’s what the prosecutors call it.

Choices lady.

Fat Cats Bigga Fish, by The Coup

When my family was thrown out of our home when I was ten years old, that wasn’t a choice I made. That choice made me.

When I was told I would take a bus every day one and a half hours each way to Junior high, that wasn’t a choice I made. That choice made me.

And when I was in first grade, and they told be I couldn’t be with my friends, that I had to join a class in a special part of the school, with special kids who had special gifts, that wasn’t a choice I made. That choice made me.

Those choices made me, made me who I am today.

Choices are a good song to sing a child. Tell these kids they have control over their own destiny, they can do anything. Until the check comes.

Until our kid walks by someone. Someone who’s had nothing but choices made for them their whole life. Choices that make them into somebody that you don’t want to walk by.

I’m wishing that I had an automobile
As I feel the cold wind rush past
But let me state that I’m a hustler for real
So you know I got the stolen bus pass.

Mr Coke said to Mr Mayor: “you know, we got a process like Ice T’s hair
We put up the funds for your election campaign
And, oh, um, waiter can you bring the champagne?
Our real estate firm says opportunity’s arousing
To make some condos out of low-income housing
Immediately, we need some media heat
To say that gangs run the street and then we bring in the police fleet!
Harass and beat everybody til they look inebriated
When we buy the land, motherfuckas will appreciate it
Don’t worry about the Urban League or Jesse Jackson
My man that owns Marlboro donated a fat sum” 


It’s been a Year!

It's been a Year!

It’s a Celebration!

It’s been One year!

I can hardly believe its already been a year.

And at the same time I can hardly believe it’s ONLY been a year!

In May of 2011 I had finally had enough. I steeled myself, took the tear-stained letter sitting in my desk far too long in hand and told my boss, “I can’t play for this team anymore. It’s time for me to do it on my own.”

He looked me in the eye, and didn’t tell me to stay, didn’t try to talk me out of my decision.  He looked at me and nodded, “You know, I think you’ll make it.  You’ve really grown up while you’ve been in this office.” This is especially surprising, as he hadn’t really talked to me much over the past few years. He chuckled about dunderheaded stunts I pulled years before. And he recounted recent victories that even I wouldn’t have believed if I hadn’t been there.

I know this is something you’ve obviously thought a lot about. I know you’ll succeed.”

And what a success this year has been! And to celebrate that success I want to invite ALL readers of my blog to the “One Year Birthday Party” where like any good birthday party, we’ll have cake and ice cream, both provided by successful clients of the last year.

Party Invite. And year one highs:Click Me!

Donations from:

New Web Page

While I send you over there this is another celebration of the New Year is the facelift of the old WordPress blog into the current “808crime.com” website. It’s brand new (less than a few days old) but it’s pages and pages deep. Please give feedback, tell me what you think, and provide any other suggestions that might be important!

See the new page:Click here!
New DUI Handbook

And lastly I want to announce the “Landsberg Law Office DUI Manual”. I’ve been giving the same DUI speech for nearly ten years, updated only as laws changed, I figured “why not just write it down”? It’s also the one charge people ask about, who never have any other run-in with the law. Information should be free, it is technique that I charge for. So rather than telling each person this information individually, now everybody has my thoughts on general DUI cases and practice in Honolulu, Hawaii.

So it officially went live today, the “Landsberg Law Office DUI Manual”. Read it before they force me to take it down. If you have any questions/comments, there’s a comment section on that page, let me know what you think!

DUI. Get the manual now:Download

Finally, I want to thank each and every person who reads this. I love all of you, and I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without your help, support and love. My wife and I appreciate each and every one of you in our lives. I named the office after myself, but if you’re reading this, you have some personal ownership in the success it has become.

Thank you, for one of the greatest years of my life.

Let’s go make some more!

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Thank you for 2011. Look out 2012!

KHON Legal Expert News Hawaii Lawyer Attorney

Thank you for the most amazing 2011.

Just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy New Year from the Landsberg Law Office. In 2011 we went, in a short time, from Zero to the Penthouse. We made successful appearances in front of the Liquor Commission, Family Court, and Military Court (in addition to Circuit and District). We beat the same cop twice. The only time they let us go to Jury trial, we won on the first vote. The very first case we consulted on was a murder in the news, and this week we again were assigned a murder, and again in the news!

We launched our social media presence. We made great contacts and partnerships throughout the legal community, and more importantly we made great friends from everywhere.

I just wanted to take a moment to be thankful to each and every person who reads, responds, and shares this page. Thank you ever-so-much for taking this ride with me. I can’t aim for anything except being the best. I appreciate you riding shotgun as, in 2012, we aim to be better than the best.

Happy New Year!

Honolulu Attorney Lawyer Hawaii Criminal Defense


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Bishop Street Address — Hawaii Lawyer

Playing the law like a harpsichord since 2004

Eagle-eyed observers have seen the address on the sidebar has been updated.  Yes, the new physical location of the Landsberg Law Office has opened!  It is a soft open: we’ll slowly be making the house a home, but during that time, we’re celebrating!

It’s been a long time looking for just the right office.  We’ve looked at more than one, some we were ready to settle on. But:

This one’s perfect.

Come check it out.  Now taking appointments!

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A conversation I had. Another conversation I had.

men, talking, prosecutors, dirty, supervisor, no funBefore trial the Prosecutor’s supervisor walked into the room. Everyone knows the prosecuting deputy was new.  I knew her to be a good attorney, but by simply being in the room the supervisor was going to make the new prosecutor more nervous, I asked the supervisor “What, you come to see me in trial?”

“I came to make sure you don’t try to pull anything.”

I thought we were still joking, “Why, you couldn’t when we went to trial.” Smile, smirk.

“You just got lucky.” Was her honest reply.

It’s never the facts of the case. It’s never the quality of the argument or the work. It’s just “luck”.  And they’re the ones with the jailhouse keys.  They’re the ones charged to protect you when you’re in danger.

She stayed for about half of her young prosecutor’s case in chief, and then left. Never saying a word, never making a suggestion. Never being helpful at all. Shook the prosecutor up so much, one witness took the time of a 6 person trial.

A dentist once explained to me how to do a root canal. How they take the top of the tooth, go in, get all the “gunk” out, fill it back up with “filler” and then put a cap on top so it looks good as new.  I went home and performed my own root canal.  It didn’t go so well.

I give a lot of free advice on the phone. A lot. That’s just the way I am. Generally people are thankful and want to hire me. I say a lot of “What I’ll try and do is this…. What we’ll work on together is that….”

Well, one particular seemed relatively easy, and it was referred from a friend, so I gave the girl a discounted rate. But she wanted to sleep on it. Turns out, overnight she called the attorney on the other side and tried to work out an agreement based on what she gleaned from our conversation. When I called her up and asked if I needed to be in court with her, she said she wanted to do it herself “I’m just that kind of girl.”

I’ll never forget that.

Anytime a person calls me and starts with “Don’t worry, I know I’ll win” I get nervous.

This is because the case becomes a “no-win” for me.  If they won, they were going to win anyway.  If they lose, it is my fault.  And often it portrays an attitude that just doesn’t play in front of a judge or jury.

As you predicted,  her case didn’t go so well.

I went to the dentist and asked him to fix my root canal.  I told him, “I already did half the work, you don’t even have to do as much, I already took the tooth off and got rid of most of the inside”.  He didn’t give me half-price, he charged me eight times as much.

She called me back after the hearing and asked if she could hire me. I quoted her eight times the price.  There was a fundamental misunderstanding of how the system works.

You may feel like you’re getting a root canal, it may even be sore for a week or more.  But we’re trying to stop infection here.  You’re allowed to do it yourself, but sometimes, when stakes is high, you might want someone in your corner.  Someone who’s been there before.

What kind of girl are you?

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Parental Discipline — The defense to Abuse

abuse, parental discipline, acquit, lawyer, win, hawaii, Kamehameha

Not for hitting children.

“What high school did you go to?” I asked him in front of the jury.


This defendant didn’t go to Kamehameha, I knew that.  No one from Kamehameha calls it “Kam”, they’re trained to call the school by the full name.  He’s lying to the jury, I told him he’s not allowed to do that.  If I catch him saying something I clearly know is untrue, I think I have to report him.

Pause. Jaw drop. Look at him sternly.


Campbell High School.  Beat. Jury laugh.  Everyone fell for it. He smiles.

What’s he thinking, *I* tell the jokes here.  But now he has a taste for it…


He was a large Hawaiian man.  Many kids of his own.  His new wife brought a few of their own to their blended family.  He worked during the day and she worked at night, and while they rarely had time together, they found time to make sure people were always home with the kids.  They lived on old family land and the kids had enough space to run and play.  Homework always got done first.  No one was getting straight 5′s on AP tests, but no one was getting arrested before they were 18, at least as far as my defendant was concerned.

So when his 14 year old son (who could easily passed for 21) got questioned by the police at the local mom & pop market for stealing, that wasn’t allowed.  Now compound that by hiding in from the father.  Now mix that up with the father finding out by going down to the store and getting thrown out, “Get out of here! Your son steals ‘Girlie Mags’ from my store! Your money is no good here.” And then the boy lies when confronted with the facts:

Not only did he steal, but he stole pornography.  (Which was probably as much the reason for the secret from dad.)

Someone’s getting hit.

So when the student was sent to the school nurse for limping, he didn’t mention

1. Theft.

2. Pornography.

3. Lying.

4. Talking back.

All he mentioned was:

“My father beat me with a bamboo stick”.  He didn’t mention the father told him the purpose of the stick was to limit the strength of the giant ham hocks at the end of the Defendant’s arms.    He didn’t mention that Defendant was aiming for this boy’s rear end, but he kept moving, causing other bruises.


“How many kids do you have”.

“Nine, or ten, I’m not sure.”

An uncomfortable laugh, now we’re on the wrong side of the jury.  He breaks the first rule of testimony: “Don’t answer more than you have to.”  The more you answer, the more ammunition they have. Get in, say the facts, say the feelings, get out.  If there’s a second rule its “don’t be flippant in front of a jury”.  This is about as serious as a situation gets.  There’s a jail sentence hanging over your heard.

I suppose I should say here, there’s an exception to the second rule:  I have a full presentation on “The use of Humor for the Lizard Brain: Comedy in Courtrooms” that is beyond this post here.  And really only for attorneys.  The purposeful sublimation of perceived Court customs (but never court rules) is just about the second most important tool we have to make jurors listen.

But that one line flipped the momentum of the trial from us to the prosecutor.  And the Prosecutor seized on it in closing:

This is a man who wants you to think he cares about his children.  He doesn’t even know how many he has!

Hard to come back from that.  Good thing the jury never heard about his prior Abuse convictions on two of these ten children.  Explainable, but better left unsaid.


Now, even if the boy had mentioned WHY he got punished,  School’s often have mandatory reporting. Police still get called, still make arrests.  Prosecutors are given the duty to dismiss these cases.  Often that duty is taken away by their supervisors.  Often these cases just aren’t dismissed.  Overcharging is the number one reason cases go to trial. Overcharging and over arguing for punishment.

They should. They just don’t.

So we go before the jury, and we explain. Everything.  Tell them everything.  Lay bare the the home life and the discipline plan of these nine or ten kids.  Then the judge reads the law and they all go to the jury room to deliberate.

But they walk past something that I couldn’t plan or predict.

Outside, on the bench the jurors have to pass on their way to the jury deliberation room, the jurors walk past the two boys who testified.  They’re taking a nap.  The larger boy is using a rolled up jacket for a pillow, the smaller boy is using the larger boy’s lap.

A picture of boys raised correctly.

And no matter who wins on points or pontification, spilling guts or speechifying before the jury.  The jury seeing that these kids are raised to love and protect each other.  Raised to do the right thing when their father isn’t there.  The jury realized this was real honest discipline meant to guide the children to do right by each other, themselves, and their family.  Not for simplistic, sadistic reasons.

And you can’t beat that with a stick.  Not Guilty.  (And I don’t think he ever came back.)

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Good morning!

Marcus Landsberg review, review, Marcus Landsberg, Lawyer Review, Honolulu Lawyer, attorneyWoke up to this today.  They are absolutely a lovely couple and I’m glad we were able to meet.  More glad that I was able to actually provide them something that they are pleased with.

Also got a new call from an old friend to clean up some old cases.

And the sun is shining.

And mama cooked breakfast with no hog!


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Judaism and Defense Lawyers

Judaism and Defense Lawyers

Today I had two people ask me, at completely unrelated times “How do you defend people when you know they are guilty?”  And people don’t realize how 1. Clearly insulting that is, and 2. they have no concept how the system works.  OR I should say, how the system is supposed to work. And they always have one other thing in common:

They’re not Jews.

Bagel timeI’m not saying you have to be a Jew to be a defense attorney, don’t misunderstand.  What I’m saying is that Jews never question the necessity of constant and regular vigilance and questioning of their government.

The Genesis of Justice : 10 Stories of Biblical Injustice That Led to the 10 Commandments and Modern Morality and Law

Bibilical bibliography: Alan M. Dershowitz The Genesis of Justice

One of the most interesting things I learned from this book is the Jewish interpretation of the command “To do and to believe”.  Traditional sources imply that the doing is more important than the believing.  Compare this to the Lutheran “Justification by Faith Alone”.  Jewish custom stresses the performance of the commandments, over the belief in what they signify.  The Lutheran concept stresses the belief in the holy, but discards the necessity to follow the rules.  (Of course, this is a simplistic view of a massive dichotomy, but it’s interesting.)  Put in legal terms, being Jewish demands you follow the letter of the law even if you disagree with it, being Lutheran means you believe the public policy behind the law is more important than the particular elements you are charged to uphold.

It starts to make sense why you have so many Jews who can recite the “Four Questions” from the Haggadah, but self-identify as atheist.

I’ve written previously about the Jewish view of the Torah, (or the Old Testament) being seen as a Covenant, or a contract with God.  Jews see God wrote it, so when they find a loophole within the Covenant, and God means all things, then God put that loophole in the Covenant.  God meant for you to exploit the loopholes in the Torah, because he purposely put those loopholes in there!  How does that relate to Jews as lawyers?  You have a people who have been trained for Six Thousand years to look for loopholes!

Now who do you want as an attorney?

But none of this has to do with why Jews instinctively understand the need for Criminal Defense attorneys.  Attorneys whose sole purpose is to make sure the police, the judge, and the prosecutor are taking no shortcuts.  The reason why is this:

  • Russian Pograms
  • Christian Crusades
  • The Spanish Inquisition
  • And before all of this, The Egyptian killing of the newborn sons. (Exodus 1:22)
And of course, the Holocaust.  All of which were run by governments.  By people wearing that period of time’s military, or police uniform.  The need for healthy suspicion of your government is so ingrained in people raised Jewish, even if not religious, that it is just naturally understood.

Yes. Jews put God on Trial. Watch the movie to see the verdict, and maybe more importantly, the sentence.

So when people ask me, “Marcus, how do you defend someone you know is guilty,” I give a variety of answers:

“Because even if I do my job perfectly, all the government has to do is do their job competently and they will win. I will lose.”

“I want to give the Prosecutor practice, so when she has the big case with the really bad guy, she doesn’t screw up when it’s really important.”

“Because I had a particular client tell me, y’know Marcus, you’re the only person in my life who ever took my side.”

I hate to say “Because when I finally get the innocent client, I don’t want that to be my first case I try for real” because that implies most of my clients are not innocent.  And when we go to trial they often are wholly innocent.

“He’s not guilty unless I lose.” Is probably my favorite when I’m in a good mood.

But underlying the principle is this:  All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.   Because in all of the examples I gave, the Jews being killed were surrounded by good men doing nothing.

And no matter the rap, I strongly feel Defense Attorneys are often good men doing something to stop the tyranny of evil.  I have no problem if the State wins, fairly and honestly.

But my role is to make sure they do it,  fairly and honestly.  And the more I do it, the more I realize what a necessary, fundamental role that is.

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Hawaii Criminal Defense: The Legal Blog

Issues in Hawaii Law.

Below is a collection of Articles I've written about Hawaii law.  Most are about criminal defense, Honolulu trial work, or future legal trends. Courtroom experience is probably the most common.  Others are comments on local or national law.  Hopefully there is something for you to find and enjoy.  If nothing else, you'll see the way I feel about certain issues, and the thought processes I put into legal problems we solve.

And some stories are just too funny NOT to tell.......

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