Thursday, August 4, 2011


BUDDING GENIUSES: We don't often follow trials, especially in Honolulu, mainly because the news outlets there don't do so either except for those that bleed profusely.

But because of the extensive coverage and rare live bogging by "Civil Beat" of the human trafficking trial of the Sou brothers of Aloun Farms, today we turned first to Sara Lin's blog only to discover that the prosecution apparently bungled the case so badly they were forced to permanently drop all charges today.

But what's even more shocking is that it appears that the reason is that they actually did not even know what the law said at the time the alleged crimes took place.

Piecing together the events this morning from various accounts- Ken Kobayashi of the Star Advertiser being the only one to note that the charges were dropped "permanently"- it appears that the lead attorney flown in from Washington D.C., Susan French, only figured out last Friday that the law had been changed in 2008 or 2009 (depending on the news source) and, in fact, that she had even misled the grand jury in obtaining the indictment.

Though no one will admit it, according to Hawaii Reporter, Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Cushman told U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway this morning that "the dismissal was caused 'by the discovery of new evidence Friday,'” which was the day that French apparently discovered her blunder.

It's rare that we're at a loss for words but the level of incompetence here- especially given how many lives have been effected including the Sous and the dozens of Thai workers involved- is unfathomable.

While the brothers weren't actually charged with a violation of the law that changed- making it now illegal to pay for the transportation of foreign contract labor- it was apparently a major part of the case against them.

What kind of utter malpractice rules not just our local U.S. attorneys' office but the U.S. Justice Department itself, that no one among the slew of lawyers discovered the error?

It kind of makes you wonder what they are busy with... maybe harassing Roger Christie, the head of the Hawaii Cannabis Ministry in Hilo who has been held without bail in federal detention for over a year now for his marijuana church activities. Or could it be threatening state legislators that if they pass a law to allow "compassion centers" to legally distribute medical marijuana they might just arrest the government officials that would administrate the program?

The Hawaii U.S. Attorney's office has been an out-of-control joke for a long time now with justice being determined by U.S. administration policies as evidenced by the Bush appointment scandal a few years back.

We've watched as they use high handed tactics as well as threats and detentions based on thread-bare evidence to force plea deals when their cases are weak for way too long now but this insanity takes the cake.

We'll leave the details of that for another day. Today we simply await the impending justice of seeing the rolling heads that are sure to come from this case.

1 comment:

Larry said...

The "discovery of new evidence Friday" refers to the ongoing legal discovery process. The defense had asked for transcripts of the grand jury,; and some info was turned over to them on Friday. It contained the prosecutor's mis-statement of the law, and the rest is history.