Tag Archives: Marcus Landsberg

Food Trucks in Hawaii — Honolulu Food Truck Bill 59

Ice Cream, Popsicle, Police, Alex Garcia

There’s nothing I like more after having a heated argument in the Supreme Court building, than some nice cool ice cream. Please don’t get between me and my Ice Cream.

Run a red light? Go to Jail.

Rolling stop? Go to Jail.

Didn’t feed the meter? Jail, Jail, JAIL.

People keep asking me for my comments on the new Bill 59.  That’s because I’m still the only attorney in the State of Hawaii that’s gone to trial under that law and won.

Bill 59 is the bill Tulsi Gabbard introduced to change the an old law that stops food trucks from parking on a corner for longer than fifteen minutes.  This old law is a carryover of simpler times in Honolulu, when mom would steam the Manapua while the kids made the Musubi on the kitchen table.  The law predates the other section of the Hawaii Revised Ordinances that govern peddling, and it definitely predates all the regulations on having a commercial grade kitchen for the prep work that Food Trucks now require.  So when when a sweet woman who simply wanted to sell popsicles outside the Supreme Court building came to me and told me the police were harassing her, I couldn’t turn her down.

It was a very simple case.  One cop out of the entire force decided she shouldn’t sell popsicles. He didn’t care that she had her peddler’s license and that all her paperwork was in order.  He admitted that he wanted to give her a peddling ticket, but he couldn’t so he gave her this ticket.  He didn’t care that the law plainly didn’t apply.  She was on the sidewalk, this law was in the traffic code.

So when Kathy asked if this is something I could help with, I took the case.  We did some research and scheduled the case for trial.  And then I started hearing from more and more food trucks: the same officer was threatening the lot of them, but only Kathy got the ticket. She was the guinea pig.

So we went to Court and the Office of the Prosecutor fought against us tooth and nail.  Three Prosecutors are on the record arguing against us. One would get their argument beaten up and then the next one would start.  And they ended with their favorite argument “C’mon, Judge, please, please, PLEASE.”

But luckily we had a fair judge who threw the case out of court.  She looked at the law, heard the arguments of the Prosecutors and told them “The way this law is written, it’s too vague. It doesn’t give ordinary citizens who apply for peddler’s licenses and do what they’re supposed to do, notice that what they’re doing is illegal.” And that’s it, the case is thrown out.

Two days later, when Kathy is back in her regular spot, another police Officer comes over and threatens her with the same ticket. “I just won” she protested.  But the Officer scares away her customers. Smart officers know thought, they won’t write her a ticket.  If they do, she just has to go to court again.

And so I became the attorney for the Trucks, in spirit if not in contract. And I was able to go to a meeting between the food Trucks and Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard.


The Councilwoman

So the first meeting went over great. Her staff explained they wanted to change the words “15 minutes” to “two hours”. We asked three times, “Are you changing anything else? Are you changing anything else? Are you changing anything else?”

And they assured us. “Absolutely not”.

And we were very clear, “If you change anything else to make it worse for the food trucks to serve, you’ll be doing them a DISSERVICE. Please don’t change anything else.” And we all shook hands, exchanged cards, and left happy with some sweet potato pie.

And then I read the rewritten Bill.


And it took me a day to think about it.  And the next day I emailed.  And a week later I emailed again.  I had grave concerns.  I still have grave concerns.  I write this because I still have these concerns and they haven’t been addressed.  Since the Bill went through first reading today, I want to make sure anyone who is interested understands the problems with the new bill. Here they are:

An assistant who helped draft this bill, assuredly with the best of intentions, in spite of the promise to us that NOTHING else would be changed, added Sub-paragraph 3.  Sub-paragraph 3 includes two clauses: The first guts any protection the extended time limit was meant to create. Police no longer need to wait 15 minutes, why? The ill-advised and undefined “hazardous condition or public nuisance” standard doesn’t exist. That means any truck anytime.  More importantly it’s not even creating a public nuisance, it’s “In reckless disregard of the RISK…” well, isn’t there always a RISK of public nuisance. The business is finished.

But the second is even worse:

Let’s say you steal a lady’s purse. Well, if you’re carrying a gun, the punishment is much worse.  Knowing this, read Sub-paragraph B again. Catch it?

If you overstay a parking meter as a food truck, guess what? Jailable.  Roll through a stop sign? Petty Misdemeanor. Park slightly out of a stall. It goes on your permanent, CRIMINAL record.

“Comply with… all rules relating to traffic, parking”

And if you don’t, it’s now punishable by THIS statute, which makes it jailable if you didn’t feed the meter.  This bill, no matter how well intentioned, gives the few vindictive police, power to arrest and charge for ANY violation.  Even a standard unpaid meter. Even a “rule” which is neither a defined Statute or Ordinance. just a “rule”.

If you enjoy food trucks, get your meals now.  If this new Bill passes as written, they’re finished.

What Casey Anthony must do next — Why Mark Geragos is an idiot

Mark Geragos is completely wrong in his assessment of what Casey Anthony needs to do next.  But what is more interesting than how he is wrong, is why he is wrong.  Let’s discuss both.

Mark Geragos isn’t famous for representing the worst of the worst, he’s famous for representing the most famous of the most famous.  Wynona Ryder, Michael Jackson, Chris Brown.  These are the people who he is famous for representing.  Probably the most ordinary of his clients is Scott Peterson, who was found guilty in a similar sort of circumstantial evidence case.

Of those cases above, the only one that was a victory was Michael Jackson, but MJ replaced Geragos as his attorney well before trial.  Geragos didn’t follow the same etiquette Johnnie Cochran followed with Michael Jackson:  Notoriously when OJ Simpson called up Johnnie Cochran, Cochran said, “I’d love to take the case, but you have to understand, Michael always comes first.”  He then called Michael Jackson and then cleared the representation with him.

The thing about Mark Geragos’ clients, is they’re getting phone calls from Barbara Walters anyway.  Chris Brown is going to be on Good Morning America for every album anyway.  Wynona Ryder is going to be profiled on E! for a cameo on Star Trek anyway.

Casey Anthony is going to be vilified forever.

A criminal defendant, like any human being, has two choices for any situation: talk about it, or don’t.  Even saying “no comment” is on comment on something.  The media and the “Nancy Grace machine” have created Casey Anthony into, for lack of a better word, a celebrity.  In the same sense as Heidi Montag or Nicole Ritchie or Kim Kardashian, Casey Anthony has now become a household word.  The question is, what her reputation will be.

Kim Kardashian made a sex tape.  Remember that?  That’s why she’s famous. No question.  Now she’s parlayed that into a minimum of three (four?) TV shows for her extended family, a line of perfume, make-up, clothes, clothes stores, basically everything. She’s given careers to about 11 family members.  She’s on Trapper-Keepers.  I blame Ray J.  Why? Not because she commented on her sex tape, but because she took control of her destiny.  Rather than allow that to be the only thing important about her, she decided to give people who wanted to report on her hundreds of other things to report.

Mark Geragos suggests that Casey Anthony allow the news to recycle the same stock footage they have of her.  Suggests that she allow other people to write her story.

I suggest to her this: Get out in front of it.  But choose your spot.  He’s right as far as: it’s not the time to sign a book deal and do a pictorial in a magazine.  But after a week or more of solid preparation, or staying indoors and ordering delivery, she needs to sit down with Barabara Walters.

Barbara, my lawyers told me I couldn’t tell anyone what happened.  I was locked in there for three years. Three years! Everyone said horrible things about me. And all I did was miss Caylee everyday.  All I wanted to do was scream “I didn’t do it!”

I don’t know what happened. I wasn’t there. I don’t want to blame my mom, I don’t want to blame my dad. I love them more than anything.

The problem is Barbara, I know what being falsely accused is like, so I can’t say anything that would sound like I blamed someone else.  I’ll say this: I don’t know anyone who would want to hurt Caylee. She was a joy, my joy.

Of course I drank and partied, my daughter died!!! I would wake up in the morning with this emptiness in my life.  I got a tattoo to remember her. Drinking is the only thing that took that pain away.

Barbara, 28,000 other babies died in 2008 in America alone. I’m the only one on TV for murder.

I don’t know how the body got there, I don’t know anything about my father’s duct tape. I don’t know about this car smell.  I know I miss my daughter, and I know no one wanted her hurt.  And I know I prayed everyday that I would see her walk in the door and scream “mommy”.

One interview, get out in front of the story, and then go underground.  But as of now, that picture of her grinning through the verdict is the last shot anyone has of her.  Forget that, That’s not allowed. Take your own destiny.  Tell your story to whoever will listen to it, without compromising it’s integrity by doing something negative with it.

And figure out what charity you need to team up with in six months.  My suggestion is Mandatory Pool Cover lobbyists.  Less rehabilitative but more interesting is the Innocence Project, Richard Jewell‘s (remember him?) wrongly accused charities, or maybe creating greater ethical rules for purported “journalists” and/or “pundits” who have been accusing her of murder for three years.  Richard Jewell won settlements in some of his cases.  Casey Anthony needs to follow that road.

But before she gets the money, she needs to serve a “punishment”.  This kind of public “mea culpa” followed by community service bringing knowledge to parents about home dangers is exactly what they need to get her started.  It’s not enough to atone for killing your daughter.  But it’s more rehabilitative than hiding, publishing a sequel to the book “If I Did It“, and then suing people who did you wrong.  And then coming out and saying I told you so.

Mark, I’m sure you’re not an idiot.  And I’m sorry for my harsh words, but this one suggestion is idiotic.  Bob Shapiro would never agree.

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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