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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Inmate's furlough plan protested

Advertiser Staff

A city prosecutor is urging the state Department of Public Safety not to allow a woman convicted last year of stealing nearly $330,000 from a former employer to participate in a work-furlough program.

Deputy Prosecutor Christopher Van Marter said a decision to release inmate Holly Green to a "pre-release" program would send "the wrong message" to anyone considering stealing large amounts of money from their employer.

Green was convicted of first-degree theft and forgery in February 2009 for taking $329,327 from Thurston and Sharon Twigg-Smith and their company, the Twigg-Smith Group, from 2004 to 2006.

Thurston Twigg-Smith is the former owner and publisher of The Advertiser.

Van Marter said that while working as a personal assistant, Green wrote 46 checks to herself.

In a Feb. 10 letter to Clayton Frank, director of the state Department of Public Safety, Van Marter said considering Green for placement in a work-furlough program is "shocking and disturbing" and would have little value as a deterrent to similar crimes.

"Your pre-release decision sends a terrible message to the community the message that you do not view large-scale fraud seriously. One year out of a 10-year sentence? Seriously?" Van Marter said in the letter.

Frank said yesterday that Green remains behind bars at the Women's Community Correctional Center in Olomana. Although she was sentenced to a term of no more than 10 years in prison, the Hawai'i Paroling Authority set her minimum term at two years.

Frank said state law requires that all inmates who have less than two years left on their prison sentence before parole eligibility be considered for participation in a work-furlough program.

Frank said Green hasn't been granted work furlough status yet, and a decision won't be made until the department reviews responses from the interested parties.

Her attorney, Myles Breiner, said Green could have qualified for a suspended jail sentence or possibly even a deferral of her guilty plea, which would have left her with no permanent criminal record.