State puts off special session meant to tackle controversial state supreme court ruling
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A special legislative session to address a controversial state supreme court ruling that puts hundreds of felony cases at risk is no longer happening.
That’s according to a statement released Friday by Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi.
Kouchi added that the Senate “attempted to work with the House, the Judiciary and the county prosecutors to find a way forward” but the House does not have the majority needed for a special session.
Calls for a special session were growing after justices dismissed a murder charge against Kalihi man Richard Obrero based on lack of a grand jury indictment.
Prosecutors said the ruling will lead to dangerous criminals getting back on the streets and have ripple effects for felony cases.
The ruling left many prosecutors on Hawaii Island scrambling in an effort to keep the suspects in custody early this month.
At the same time, defense attorneys have flooded courts with motions to get their clients cases thrown out.
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For decades, prosecutors have used criminal complaints to keep potentially dangerous suspects from walking free.
And it’s not just new criminal cases that are impacted. Pending felonies, including murder, that were charged via complaint are also at risk. In Honolulu, more than 160 such cases have been identified. On Hawaii Island, there are 220 pending cases.
Kouchi said the house does not have the majority needed for a special session and Gov. David Ige has indicated he would not call the legislature back.
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