The attorneys for the Kealohas say some evidence and witnesses were submitted too late by prosecutors, and are asking the judge not to allow them in the trial.
A legal expert says this could ultimately lead to another delay.
He adds that it’s happened before, and it’s not just the timing of when the evidence and witnesses were submitted, but also the amount that can lead to the delay.
The attorneys for former police chief Louis Kealoha and his wife Katherine, a former deputy prosecutor, have asked the judge to not allow several expert witnesses to testify along with some evidence because they were turned in late and would not allow the defense to adequately prepare.
The motion says, “On the eve of trial, the government continues its improper gamesmanship by producing late discovery. Such tactics violate the defendants’ constitutional rights to due process.”
“A lot of it involves expert witnesses, which can be very technical and very time consuming to prepare, and that may require the defense to seek a counter expert,” said defense attorney Victor Bakke, who is not involved in the trial.
He says federal prosecutors are allowed to present evidence and witnesses up to the time of the trial and they do it all the time. But they have to give a good reason why and allow the defense to review them.
“And that’s when the government has to be very careful because if they sit on it too long and a judge later rules that it was an unreasonable delay, then there can be severe consequences,” said Bakke.
In extreme cases, some judges have dismissed the charges, but Bakke doesn’t see that happening for this one. He adds that expert witnesses are usually arranged well ahead of time. And the defense will need extra time to counter the expert’s testimony.
“That’s the kind of thing that the defense has to spend a lot of time and effort and money to rebut and prepare for. So that’s the kind of thing that can seriously delay a trial, or the court can just tell them I’m not gonna allow you to call this witness. You should have thought about this before,” said Bakke.
Federal prosecutors have until May 15 to respond to the motion. And then the judge will schedule a hearing to make a decision.