Mistrial declared for HPD officer accused of sexually... - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Mistrial declared for HPD officer accused of sexually assaulting prostitute

Michael Tarmoun Michael Tarmoun
Dexter Del Rosario Dexter Del Rosario
Kimberly Iopa Kimberly Iopa
Willliam Harrison Willliam Harrison
Louis Kealoha Louis Kealoha

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The trial for a Honolulu police officer accused of sexually assaulting a prostitute ended Monday with a hung jury.

"Has the jury been able to reach a unanimous verdict in this case?" Dexter Del Rosario, Circuit Court judge, asked.

"No, we have not," the jury foreperson replied.

The judge declared a mistrial after the panel of six men and six women reported that it was hopelessly deadlocked.

Michael Tarmoun, 37, is accused of picking up a prostitute in Waikiki, taking her to his apartment and raping her. The alleged victim testified last Thursday that she was afraid when she noticed a police uniform in his car and realized that he was an officer.

The defendant admits that he took the woman to his place, but says he kicked her out once he realized she was a prostitute. He denies the sex allegations.

"I would like to thank the jury for their hard work in deliberating this case," Kimberly Iopa, deputy prosecutor, said. "Unfortunately, they weren't able to come to a unanimous decision, but we look forward to re-trying him."

Tarmoun is charged with second-degree sex assault, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. A new trial is tentatively set for June.

"Obviously, we're disappointed that we didn't reach a verdict today," William Harrison, defense attorney, said. "This matter has been hanging over my client's head for a long time, and I'm sure that he would like to resolve this matter and get on with his life."

The breakdown reportedly had eight jurors for an acquittal, two jurors for a guilty verdict, and two undecided. The defense plans to file a motion to dismiss the charge.

It's the second mistrial involving an HPD officer in about a month. Scott Valdez is accused of reaching into a car during a traffic stop and hitting the driver. His trial also ended with a hung jury.

Police chief Louis Kealoha last week responded to questions regarding the wave of officers being charged with criminal wrongdoing under his watch.

"It definitely is a concern of mine as well as the other officers," Kealoha said. "I also know it's a concern of the community."

Tarmoun's attorney believes those concerns can't help when each defendant goes to trial.

"You get that string and you get that belief of the juries that, you know, there's something going on with the police department, but that's not correct," Harrison said. "Unfortunately, it may have done something to affect the way the jury thought in this case."

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