HONOLULU (KHON2) — Following a hearing on Friday, Jan. 27, Big Island Judge Peter Kubota and Judge Henry Nakamoto recused, or dismissed, themselves from the Joshua Ho case. He’s the grandson accused of fatally stabbing his grandparents, Jeffrey and Carla Takamine, long-time business owners of Big Island Delights.
According to the Judiciary, Judges should disqualify themselves if their fairness might be questioned and they don’t have to disclose the reason.
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“It appears that two of the judges felt like their impartiality might be reasonably questioned either because they knew the Takamine family on the Big Island or perhaps, because they knew Joshua Ho,” said Doug Chin, a legal expert. “We don’t actually know the reason for that, but that is a reason enough for a Judge to make the decision.”
The Judiciary said, there are three judges for Hawaii County, three for Maui County and two for Kauai. Legal experts said, if one island runs of out judges, others can be used from another jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, the Judiciary is asking the Legislature for an additional First Circuit District Court position to keep up with demand on Oahu.
“So, by way of example, we have 10 courtrooms in Honolulu. Currently, we are only able to use nine. We have two courtrooms in Ewa, and we can only staff one of those three days a week. The other courtroom we staff four days a week,” added Chin.
As a result, the Judiciary relies on per diem or substitute Judges to run Oahu’s District Court calendar.
Attorneys said, an additional Judge will help address the backlog of cases.
“What we’re seeing is a backlog of the COVID cases being tried right now,” said Megan Kau, an attorney. “Every case that was on pause or on hold for the past three and a half years is actually going to trial now.”
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On Hawaii Island, Ho’s case will now be heard by Judge Robert Kim. Ho’s next court appearance is April 6.