No release of Deedy trial transcripts

By Paul Drewes
Published On: Feb 10 2014 02:31:18 PM HST
Updated On: Feb 10 2014 08:27:44 PM HST

A testy legal battle took place Monday over courtroom discussions during the murder trial for federal agent Christopher Deedy.

HONOLULU -

What actually happened in court on the final day of jury deliberations?

Click here to watch Paul Drewes' story.

We know that before jurors declared a mistrial in the Christopher Deedy murder case, the courtroom was repeatedly cleared for discussions, then those transcripts sealed.
A hearing was held Monday to see if those discussions would be made public.

The Deedy trial was a high-stakes case -- either a conviction for murder or acquittal in the death of Kollin Elderts.

With a retrial coming up, Judge Karen Ahn doesn't want to do anything to prejudice a new jury.

"The court is doing its best to make sure the defendant gets a fair trial and the state gets a fair trial," said Ahn.

But Deedy's attorney said he doesn't mind if the public learns what was discussed in the courtroom on Aug. 26.

"We stand by our filing, where we stated we have no opposition to the media's request," said attorney Thomas Otake.

There had been speculation about the mystery meetings, and now a hint from the deputy prosecutor.

"In the event the court decides to release the transcripts, we request it redacts the names of the jurors involved in any closed conference," said deputy prosecutor Janice Futa.

The murder trial involved exhaustive analysis of every second of surveillance footage and focused attention on thousands of tiny details of that fateful night.

One of the attorneys for the media wondered why the discussions, which happened just before the jury announced it was unable to reach a verdict, are still unknown.

"Time has passed; the case is over; the jury been dismissed. There is no legitimate reason to seal any part of those transcripts anymore based on the case law of the 9th Circuit, the Supreme Court and virtually every court," said attorney Jeff Portnoy.

Portnoy couldn't argue any further, because even he doesn't know what is in the transcripts.

"If I tell you, 'These are some of the matters contained in the transcript' so that you can make your objection, we're telling you what's in the transcript. That is why I have a hard time dealing with this whole matter," said Ahn.

Ahn's frustration with the proceedings was evident by the end of the hearing, as prosecuting and defense attorneys requested the actual retrial to only run four days a week.

"I'm thinking of going five out of five so we can finish this thing," said Ahn.

Ahn has another three weeks to decide if she will release the transcripts.

Attorneys have a month to get their pretrial motions in so they can be argued and decided before jury selection begins in June.

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