A new hearing has been set in the high-profile case against alleged gambling arcades. But this time, the prosecutors will be the ones taking the stand to defend their actions.
The crackdown on arcades -- which resulted in hundreds of machines being seized, nine people being arrested, and a 414-count indictment are all in jeopardy.
The case was thrown out on October 10 after prosecutors admitted, there were flaws in it, but they said they would refile.
Late last week, Circuit Court Judge Randal Lee ruled that prosecutors cannot refile until they prove there was no misconduct on their part.Defense attorneys say the prosecutors lied to the grand jury to get the 414-count indictment.
Among the accusations, that they knowingly used a gambling expert to testify even though the expert wasn't certified in the sweepstakes machines in question. The prosecutors also told the grand jury that one of the defendants, Tracy Yoshimura, owned a long list of arcades that offered the devices, when Yoshimura did not.
"These allegations, particularly coming from somebody of Judge Lee's stature, who has obviously years and years of experience in the prosecutor's office... this is something of real concern," says former Honolulu City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle.
"The burden is no longer on the defense and the defendants," says Myles Breiner, Yoshimura's attorney, "The burden is now on the prosecution to prove that they had some scintilla of good faith and frankly they didn't."
The defense attorneys allege that prosecutors acted improperly because Kaneshiro was one of the targets of a civil lawsuit filed by the defendants. That case is currently in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The defense attorneys say it was suspect that the all nine people arrested were part of that civil lawsuit.
The hearing to determine prosecutorial misconduct is scheduled for November 18. If Judge Lee throws out the case, the defendants will try to get the seized machines back and reopen the arcades.
We did reach out to the Honolulu City Prosecutor's Office for comment, but were told they cannot talk publicly about an ongoing criminal case.