Judge dismisses two prosecution witnesses in Kealoha case

Local News

A partial victory for the Kealohas. The judge will not allow two of the witnesses for the prosecutors to testify.

The attorneys for the Kealohas had asked the judge to eliminate several witnesses and some evidence because they were submitted late.

This comes as jury selection is about to enter its second phase with about 250 potential jurors still being considered.

With jury selection already underway for the trial of the Kealohas and three HPD officers, the judge ruled Thursday to strike two witnesses for the prosecutors. But allowed other witnesses and evidence that the defense said were submitted too late. 

Legal expert Doug Chin calls it a minor setback for prosecutors.

“Of course the government is gonna want to put the best evidence that they have forward as much as they can. It sounds to me like what happened today is the normal give and take,” said Chin.

Moving forward, the pool of about 250 potential jurors will be split up in groups of 45. The first group will be in federal court Friday, where the judge will question them individually based on how each answered their questionnaires that they filled out on Monday. 

Chin adds that attorneys on both sides would probably want jurors who know a little bit about the case, but not too much.

“Somebody who has a basic familiarity with the facts but isn’t so caught up in all of the details that it looks like they’ve already made up their mind,” he said.

Chin says lawyers will have to evaluate just how much each juror remembers about the case. And would probably stay away from those who have a detailed recollection. 

“For example, if somebody said I remember the interview that chief Kealoha and his wife gave in their home when they were dressed the same and I remember how I felt about that. This person isn’t really focused on the details of the case. They’re gonna be focusing more on the personalities of what they saw during the interview,” said Chin.

Another group of 45 will be questioned on Monday, and then Tuesday, and possibly Wednesday. The goal is to cut it down to 12 plus four alternates by then.

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