HILO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - The trial of Peter Kema, Sr., who's accused in the death of his son "Peter Boy," has been delayed for three more months.
Kema's trial was to begin Monday in Hilo Circuit Court, but at his attorney's request, the trial will be delayed to April 24.
Prosecutor Rick Damerville was clearly unhappy with the delay, but said he had to accept it because the courts in the Hilo district are overwhelmed with cases.
"The public, they are looking at the wheels of justice moving slowly over here, and they are frustrated with it. I can tell you as a prosecutor I am extremely frustrated with it," Damerville told reporters outside the court after the hearing.
He made it clear he was speaking personally and not for the county Prosecutor's Office.
He suggested that lawmakers have ignored the need for additional judges in Hilo for 30 years.
"These judges are working with crushing caseloads, so at some point in time the legislature has to do its job. By the time we get a third circuit court position over here, they will need four, that's how bad it is," he said.
Damerville pointed out that Judge Glenn Hara, who was overseeing the Kema case, has retired and the process to replace him has been delayed. He speculated that not enough local attorneys have applied for the Hilo Circuit Court position.
"Attorneys in practice know what a crushing caseload it is," he said. "Why would you want that job?"
Kema, Sr. and his wife Jaylin are both behind bars, awaiting trial and unable to make bail.
Jaylin Kema pleaded guilty to manslaughter in December in her 5-year-old son's death, and is expected to be questioned in a recorded deposition before her husband's trial.