Allegations of prosecutorial misconduct and an admission by prosecutors of “deficiencies” in the indictment led the state of Hawaii to drop over 400 counts of illegal gambling against nine men last week. According to khon2.com, an attorney for one of the defendants said of the state, “They acknowledge that they presented false information to the grand jury, and essentially they just want another chance to go back and do it correctly.”
Lawyers for the defendants alleged that prosecutors had presented false evidence to the grand jury. Hawaii News Now reports:
Prosecutors erred when they told the grand jury that Yoshimura was the owner of the Game Zone arcades when he wasn’t.
Breiner says prosecutors also bolstered the testimony of its gaming expert John-Martin Meyer of Nevada. Breiner said Meyer was not an expert in in the type of sweepstakes machines that were seized.
According to timesunion.com, there has also been questions about the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s decision to appoint the wife of the Honolulu Police Chief to prosecute the case, given the Honolulu Police was the subject of a civil lawsuit that led to the indictment of the defendants:
The grand jury indictment earlier this year came after a federal judge ruled that people who use Products Direct Sweepstakes machines are gambling. Prosecutors say machines allowing players to bet on games of chance with the opportunity to win cash rewards constitute gambling, which is illegal in Hawaii.
The federal ruling stemmed from a civil lawsuit against the city after police seized machines from game rooms.
The dismissal calls into question the credibility of Katherine Kealoha, who was previously handling the case, Bakke said. She’s married to Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha. According to her declaration filed with the dismissal motion, she’s been on indefinite personal leave since Sept. 23.
“Why (Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro) would put the chief’s wife in charge of the investigation where her husband is the main defendant in the civil lawsuit makes absolutely no sense,” Bakke said.
Prosecutors plan to re-indict the case and even lay charges against more people next time around.