The Nation of Hawaii has delivered "public notices" to federal and state judges accusing them of "war crimes" against the Hawaiian people.
Four Nation of Hawaii "peace officers," clad in military-style black uniforms complete with Sam Browne belts, handed the documents to the federal court clerk's office last week.
The group's "Supreme Court" has also been issuing subpoenas for police officers, state judges and prosecutors pursuing traffic citations against nation members whose cars have "Hawaiian Sovereign Nation" license plates instead of state tags.
The Nation of Hawaii claims that the kingdom of Hawaii was illegally overthrown and that the state and federal governments are illegally occupying Hawaii. The nation proclaimed its independence from Hawaii in January 1994, and adopted a constitution this year.
Senior U.S. District Judge Samuel King, who was among the officials who received the public notice, said it is a crime to threaten federal judges. King said he considered the notice to be a threat.
"Anytime the use language (such as that), I think it should be taken seriously," said King, who is part Hawaiian. "The implication is that it's attempting to inhibit the judge's free exercise of his own judgment."
King said he turned the notice over to federal law enforcement authorities.
But Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele, head of the Nation of Hawaii, said: "It's not a threat -- it's just being informed of the law. If we can educate them, then they know they'd be personally liable."
Each two-page notice says the addressee and others "have made yourselves personally liable for ...war crimes against humanity." The alleged "crimes" are not specified.
"Your acts show contempt towards the Kanaka Maoli People and the international obligations of the world...
"In the future, you shall be sought out, arrested and imprisoned, to be brought before an international criminal tribunal to answer for your participation in crimes of Apartheid and Genocide.
"There will be no appeal.
"Judgment will be final," says the notice, signed by Maltbie Napoleon, attorney general of the Nation of Hawaii.
Copies of the notice were addressed to Hawaii's federal district judges, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the FBI, the U.S. Marshal's Service and the Internal Revenue Service here. Some state officials also received similar notices.
Napoleon said the notices were prompted by recent events surrounding Jack Gonzales.
Gonzales, the former executive director of the state Campaign Spending Commission, was convicted in federal court in Washington state for helping to defraud the Hawaii labor organization Unity House of $10 million. He failed to show up for sentencing in Tacoma earlier this month and eluded federal authorities while claiming immunity from federal jurisdiction as a member of the Nation of Hawaii.
Gonzales finally turned himself in, but he remains the consul general and foreign minister of the Nation, Napoleon said yesterday.
Napoleon said the nation has also issued about 100 subpoenas and bench warrants since December in the traffic citation cases. Napoleon and Kanahele would not say yesterday how many vehicles have the Nation's "Hawaiian Sovereign Nation" license plates.
Kanahele said, "By stopping our people on the road, they're breaking the law ... We're only trying to exercise our rights."
Napoleon said, "We have to address these problems. The only way to do it is to bring them in our court and have a record that can be brought our before an international court."
Marsha Kitagawa, judiciary spokeswoman, said all five Hawaiian Supreme Court justices and a number of other judges were named in the papers.
The papers were given to the judiciary's staff attorney and sent to the Attorney General's Office, she said.
That office in looking into the documents, said Deputy Attorney General Ted Baker.
"Our position at this time is that although these folks disavow U.S. citizenship, we recognize their First Amendment right to express their beliefs," he said. "Should that expression become conduct that violates criminal law, they will be prosecuted."
But the Nation of Hawaii's campaign was lauded by A'o Pohaku Rodenhurst, leader of the Nation of Ku, a sovereignty organization with a spiritual theme.
"They are testing the law to whatever level they are able to," said Rodenhurst. She and some of her followers also occupied part of Makapuu last year and were willingly arrested when the state cleared the park.
"Who protects Hawaiians against illegal jurisdiction? If the state is illegal they have every right (to prosecute state officials). Maybe people think that's a joke, but I don't."
Advertiser Courts Writer Ken Kobayashi contributed to this report.
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