HONOLULU (KHON2) — It was a deadly hit-and-run in Nanakuli that rocked the community. Myisha Lee Armitage was drunk when 19-year-old Kaulana Werner was fatally struck by a car across the street from his Nanakuli home back in 2016.
Armitage was found guilty of negligent homicide in 2019 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Armitage appealed the ruling and on Friday, Oct. 22, the court ruled that her conviction is vacated.
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“Bottom line for any criminal convictions to stand in our state, you have to make sure that the charge against the person who’s on trial is complete,” said Doug Chin, former Hawaii Attorney General.
Former Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin was not involved in the case, but after reading the court’s decision he said there were some technical issues that the higher court had during the trial.
“There was a blood draw that was taken of Ms. Armitage that was done under exigent circumstances, meaning that she didn’t voluntarily do that. The police decided that they just needed to draw her blood under the circumstances. What the court decided was that there wasn’t enough of a record developed to be able to support that kind of thing,” said Chin.
Chin said, in Hawaii, cases do not usually get appealed, and it is a long process — which explains why the court’s ruling comes over two years after the original conviction.
“The reality is most cases that go on appeal aren’t decided just in a couple of weeks, like what you see on national news. Most cases are ones that kind of have to be developed. There has to be a lot of evidence that has to be looked at and the court takes its time because it wants to make sure it comes to the right decision,” Chin explained.
Now, prosecutors have the option of taking the case to the Supreme Court or going to a new trial.
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“In that event, the prosecutor can either make a deal with the defendant and possibly reach some sort of plea bargain that would be less than what Ms. Armitage was charged with or the other option is to go ahead and do a complete new trial,” added Chin.