Saturday, October 12, 2013

Hawaii: Update--Prosecution Opposes Releasing Closed Court Transcripts in Deedy Trial

According to The Associated Press, Honolulu prosecutors say that a request by the media in Hawaii to release transcripts of closed court proceedings in US Department of State special agent Christopher Deedy's is "extremely unreasonable."

Prosecutors filed their opposition to the request on Thursday (October 10) in response to two requests from The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and The Hawaii News.

Both news organizations have now asked the Hawaii Supreme Court to release transcripts of closed proceedings in State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy's murder trial that ended in a mistrial in August. 

Other media organizations are supporting the request, which claims Circuit Judge Karen Ahn violated the First Amendment. 

COMMENT: US State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy joins in the media's request. He faces a retrial in the fatal 2011 shooting in a Waikiki McDonald's which resulted in the death of Kollin Elderts, 23, who was shot and killed on November 5, 2011, when Deedy had no legal responsibility to become involved in a violation of a state statute.

Judge Ahn held closed sessions before declaring a mistrial when the jury said it couldn't reach a verdict.

Prosecutors have said that the request "ignores the realities of criminal trials and the unforeseeable situations that may legitimately require immediate courtroom closure."

Media organizations have effectively demonstrated that court proceedings have been "historically open to the public" when they relate to jury deliberations, the prosecution's filing states.

The High Court on September 20 ordered Judge Ahn, city prosecutors and Deedy's defense team to respond to the media's request within 20 days.