Judge puts guilty verdicts on hold

By Paul Drewes
Published On: Oct 21 2013 11:05:52 PM HST
Updated On: Oct 21 2013 11:07:04 PM HST

Even though the jury has reached its final verdicts, the Honolulu judge may toss out one of two guilty verdicts.

HONOLULU -

The jury has reached its final verdicts, but the court case for James Dorsey will go on.

In fact, the judge may dismiss one of the two guilty verdicts Dorsey received Monday.

Click here to watch Paul Drewes' report.

Jury deliberations in the Dorsey case lasted just as long as his one day trial.

The 22-year-old Oahu man admitted he had been driving drowsy when his truck hit two Honolulu Police officers along Farrington Highway in September of 2011.

The crash killed Eric Fontes.  The jury found Dorsey guilty of negligent homicide in the third degree.

They determined Dorsey did not have a negligent state of mind in causing the death of Fontes, and so reduced it from the original second-degree charge.

For severely injuring officer Herman Scanlan, the jury found Dorsey to be negligent.

That created a problem, according to Judge Glenn Kim, because there was just one accident -- which means those verdicts are inconsistent with one another.

"Clearly inconsistent and both can't stand. One of them is going to have to be dismissed, that is what I think," said Judge Kim.

The judge ordered attorneys to submit arguments over which verdict should stay.

Now, after getting two guilty verdicts, the prosecuting attorney said she has a difficult decision to make.

"The jury came back with guilty verdicts on both counts. Officer Fontes passed away and officer Scanlan was seriously injured as a result of this crash. I don't think, at this point, we should have to choose which officer gets their day in court," said deputy prosecutor Kristine Yoo.

Kim gave attorneys ten days to decide.  In the meantime, the verdicts are on hold.

Dorsey will have to wait until Nov. 6 for the judge's final decision.  So will officer Scanlan and the family of officer Fontes.

"The family has been waiting patiently for this day. It is bittersweet because they got their partial justice, now they will have to wait to see it all the way through," added Yoo.

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