Federal Judge Delays Watada's Trial - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Federal Judge Delays Watada's Trial

By Mari-Ela David

WASHINGTON (KHNL) - It's a case that captured national attention, and tonight, the spotlight is back on a Hawaii-born soldier who refused to fight in the war in Iraq.

In a rare move, a federal judge has intervened in First Lieutenant Ehren Watada's trial.

Civilian courts don't normally step in and get involved with military trials. Whether the civilian judge had a right to block Watada's trial Friday is still in question. Nonetheless, Watada's attorney, Ken Kagan, says the ruling is the kind of relief they've been fighting for.

The legal battle over Watada's decision to stand-up against the war, instead of fight for it, has taken a direction in his favor - at least for now.

"As you can imagine Lt. Watada is feeling incredibly relieved that A, he's not going to have to go to trial on Tuesday and B., that somebody finally is going to take this case seriously and give it a meaningful review," says Kagan.

Watada was supposed to go to military court Tuesday, but U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle ordered the army to delay the trial until further notice.

"We went to court Thursday, the federal court here in Tacoma Washington, and asked the judge to stop it because Lt. Watada would have his constitutional rights violated," says Kagan.

Violated because Watada would have been tried a second time for the same charges - according to Kagan, that's double jeopardy. Watada's first court-martial ended earlier this year in a mistrial. His legal fate is expected to be determined in at least three weeks.

Watada faces charges for refusing to deploy to Iraq with his unit June 2006, saying the war is illegal and therefore subjects his soldiers to war crimes.

His trial is on hold until the October 26th.

  • Hawaii News Now headlinesNewsMore>>

  • Man dies in officer-involved shooting at Honolulu highrise

    Man dies in officer-involved shooting at Honolulu highrise

    Friday, September 21 2018 4:09 AM EDT2018-09-21 08:09:13 GMT
    A man was killed Thursday evening in an officer-involved shooting at a Honolulu highrise. (Image: Hawaii News Now)A man was killed Thursday evening in an officer-involved shooting at a Honolulu highrise. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

    Police reportedly fatally shot a suspect after an operation at the Century Center building.

    More >>

    Police reportedly fatally shot a suspect after an operation at the Century Center building.

    More >>
  • Puerto Rico marks 1 year since Maria with song and sadness

    Puerto Rico marks 1 year since Maria with song and sadness

    Thursday, September 20 2018 12:58 PM EDT2018-09-20 16:58:38 GMT
    Friday, September 21 2018 2:14 AM EDT2018-09-21 06:14:42 GMT
    (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa). In this Sept. 8, 2018 photo, Alma Morales Rosario poses for a portrait between the beams of her home being rebuilt after it was destroyed by Hurricane Maria one year ago in the San Lorenzo neighborhood of Morovis, Puerto Rico...(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa). In this Sept. 8, 2018 photo, Alma Morales Rosario poses for a portrait between the beams of her home being rebuilt after it was destroyed by Hurricane Maria one year ago in the San Lorenzo neighborhood of Morovis, Puerto Rico...
    Puerto Ricans are marking the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria with choirs, protests and a funeral procession.More >>
    Puerto Ricans are marking the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria with choirs, protests and a funeral procession.More >>
  • Telling men to 'step up,' Sen. Hirono strides into spotlight

    Telling men to 'step up,' Sen. Hirono strides into spotlight

    Thursday, September 20 2018 6:29 PM EDT2018-09-20 22:29:45 GMT
    Friday, September 21 2018 1:52 AM EDT2018-09-21 05:52:43 GMT
    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite). Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., left, is applauded by demonstrators as the arrive to speak to reporters in support of professor Christine Blasey Ford, who is accusing Supreme Court nomi...(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite). Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., left, is applauded by demonstrators as the arrive to speak to reporters in support of professor Christine Blasey Ford, who is accusing Supreme Court nomi...
    Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono steps into the spotlight as she has unexpectedly become one of the most outspoken senators in Christine Blasey Ford's defense.More >>
    Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono steps into the spotlight as she has unexpectedly become one of the most outspoken senators in Christine Blasey Ford's defense.More >>
Powered by Frankly