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Judge: Probation was wrong for Maui repeat offender

January 6, 2019
FILE- In this Jan. 29, 2018, file photo second Circuit Judge Peter Cahill presides over the bench trial of Alexandria Duval in Wailuku, Hawaii. The Maui judge says he was wrong to give a man a chance with probation. The Maui News reports Cahill last week ordered consecutive prison terms totaling 30 years for Cody Amaral for crimes including stealing a new car and burglarizing a sailor’s vacation rental. Cahill says it was an error in judgment to sentence him to probation and that an extended prison term is the only way to protect the public from Amaral. (Lila Fujimoto/The Maui News via AP, File)

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — It was a mistake to give a man a chance with probation, a Maui judge said in sentencing him to 30 years in prison for theft and burglaries.

Judge Peter Cahill last week ordered consecutive prison terms totaling 30 years for Cody Amaral for crimes including stealing a new car and burglarizing a sailor’s vacation rental, The Maui News reported.

“I made a serious, truly terrible error in judgment by sentencing you to probation the last time you were here,” Cahill told him.

In 2015, Cahill sentenced Amaral to probation for thefts. Amaral didn’t enter a drug court program as he agreed to do and didn’t help recover nearly $40,000 in historic military memorabilia he stole from his uncle, Cahill said.

Instead, Amaral committed new crimes and pleaded guilty to charges including thefts, burglary and promoting a dangerous drug.

Amaral stole a 2017 Subaru Impreza valued at more than $41,000 from a car dealership, Cahill said. Amaral’s other crimes included breaking down the door to Hot Spot Video to steal darts and burglarizing the vacation rental of a member of the U.S. Navy sailor who was headed to deployment in the Middle East.

Amaral apologized.

“I made a lot of mistakes in my life, but not taking your words seriously is one of my biggest regrets,” he told the judge.

The more recent crimes happened less than a year after Amaral had been placed on probation, Deputy Prosecutor Emlyn Higa said.

“We have tried probation time and time again, and each time he has committed more crimes,” Higa said. “There is no other way to protect the community from further crimes of this defendant except to restrain him, to have him incarcerated.”

A sentence of more than 10 years is too harsh, said defense attorney Gina Gormley.

“He had every intent of succeeding on probation, but he failed and he failed miserably,” she said.

Amaral is addicted to oxycodone, she said.

Cahill read a letter submitted for Amaral’s 2015 sentencing by an aunt he victimized.

The letter said Amaral can’t be trusted.

“I strongly believe our community will be at risk should he be let off for these offenses,” the aunt’s letter said.

Cahill said the aunt was right “and I was wrong.”

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