Judge advises group accused of breaking into Iolani Palace to get lawyer

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Seven members of a Native Hawaiian sovereignty group were ordered by an Oahu judge Thursday to stay away from Iolani Palace until the end of their criminal case.

James Akahi, Grace Akahi, Wayne Nunes, Waynette Nunes, Terry Kaahanui, Tanya Kaahanui and Vanessa Fimbres are each charged with burglary.

Their group, Kingdom of Hawaii Nation, briefly took control of the palace grounds in August. They claim their king, Akahi Nui, owns the historic landmark so the state has no jurisdiction.

The judge told the defendants they're placing themselves at a disadvantage if they don't hire an attorney.

"By having legal counsel represent you does not mean that you stifle your position," Derrick Chan, Circuit judge, said. "It does not mean that you give up your right to speak out. It only means that you enhance the opportunity to share your position."

The judge postponed their arraignment until October 16th.