Last week at the Ninth Circuit Court’s Judicial Conference on the island of Maui, judges and lawyers from across the country were told by social media and legal experts they would have to be careful about what they post on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Across the country, employees have been sanction or fired for their posts on Facebook, while others have not be hired at all after prospective employers review their postings.
But what about the children of political candidates? Do their comments and postings matter?
Maya Caldwell, daughter of Mayoral Candidate Kirk Caldwell, graduated from high school in May 2012 and is leaving Hawaii tomorrow to attend a mainland university, but not before causing a controversy of her own on Instagram.
She posted a series of pictures that show her and a friend lighting her father’s opponent’s campaign signs on fire with a bong, a device typically used to smoke Marijuana, tobacco and a variety of herbal substances.
Caldwell told Hawaii News Now he apologized for his daughter’s behavior and would have a talk with her before she leaves for college.
Caldwell and Cayetano are vying to be Honolulu’s next mayor and will face off in the November 6 General Election.
Cayetano, who with his wife Vicky, has five children, said on Friday that Caldwell did not call him directly to apologize but instead sent a message through the media.
Cayetano said he opted not to press criminal charges, although he could, because Maya is 18 years old, and has a bright future ahead of her, which he does not want to impact with criminal charges. Cayetano admitted he made mistakes when he was younger. But he added that many of his campaign signs are disappearing, and if he catches anyone else taking them, he will press charges.
Maya is one in a string of many well known Hawaii residents busted for stealing or damaging political signs, which can be expensive for the candidate.
In 2005, the Honolulu City Prosecutor filed theft charges against one of Hawaii’s most controversial atheist and gay rights activists — Michael Golojuch Jr. — for stealing campaign signs.
Michael, whose mother Carolyn Golojuch was challenging Rep. Mark Moses, R-Kapolei, in the general election, was convicted of theft in the fourth degree on November 8, 2005 in Ewa District Court for stealing Moses’ campaign signs. Michael Jr., also a candidate for the House seat in a previous election, appealed.
But on February 2, 2007, three judges with Hawaii’s Intermediate Court of Appeals issued a “memorandum opinion” and denied his appeal, affirming the lower court ruling and letting the conviction against Golojuch Jr. of stand. Moses was able to prove his case because he had the entire episode on video.
In 2006, then Congressman Neil Abercrombie’s wife admitted swiping an Ed Case for U.S. Senate campaign sign after she was seen doing so.
Honolulu Magazine filed this report at the time in its “Sour Poi Awards:”
“The sign, or Ed Case? In the run-up to the primary elections, Rep. Neil Abercrombie’s wife, Nancie Caraway, was seen tearing down an Ed Case campaign sign from a community garden in Manoa and driving off with it. She returned it to the sign-owner’s yard the next day, folded and a little worse for wear. Caraway said later, ‘I felt it had no place in this public setting.”
Abercrombie is now the governor of Hawaii and his wife is the first lady.
Former City Deputy Prosecutor Paul Mow, who posted a link to the Hawaii News Now story on Maya on Facebook, said: “Nobody wants to see their kids do these things. It’s just embarrassing and stupid.”
But he added he doesn’t believe the posting will have lasting effect on the election and suggests “Let’s get back to the real issues of this election.”