Trial of Federal Agent Still Shaking Up Hawaii

It's been about a week since the Christopher Deedy trial was headline news everyday, and two years since the killing occurred. Hungry, I found myself near the McDonald's on Kuhio and went in to take a look.

It looks totally different from the videotape we've been hearing about since the Deedy trial came on the news.

I can see where Michael Perrin was sitting when Kollin Elderts was talking to him. The door is in the same place, but the seat is a high counter instead of an ordinary table. The trash bins where the police rested the gun have been moved and a divider has been installed in their place. In fact, large translucent dividers have been placed right down the center of the restaurant, as if by putting this divider here before would have stopped Elderts from talking to Perrin, saving Elderts' life. Everything is updated and modern.

Seeing the video camera I sure hope it is updated. But the more I see everything modernized, the more I realize how these families are stuck in a moment they can't get out of. Two years ago an event happened that took a total of two minutes or so, and we've been talking about it for two years. Because of a hung jury it will be at least another year before anything resembling closure will occur.

The reason the public is fascinated by the Deedy case is the perfect mix of all the elements of a salacious case: Race, violence, abuse of power, drugs/alcohol. Basically everything except sex and fame. And the usual sides are switched. When the prosecution comes after a law enforcement officer, the ordinary alliances and cheering sections go out the window.

And I say the public is fascinated, not outraged, because a large portion of the community seems to be in support of Deedy; everyone else is outraged at the support.

But trials are not elections. We cannot vote based on what's popular or who we like. We definitely cannot negotiate, "We'll agree to raise the debt limit if you throw out this ban on guns." That's the legislature, but this is court. There's a line. You can go right up to it, and you can put a toe on it, and you can put your entire foot on it, but if you go over it even the slightest, you're Guilty.

Welcome to criminal law. One side yelling "he went over the line!" the other side protesting "no I didn't." and the jury stuck deciding "did he cross the line?", but more importantly "do we even trust what really happened?" Because if they don't know what happened, they can't decide if it is legal or not.

The reason for 12 jurors from assorted backgrounds is simple, it is not what you think is okay, what I think is okay, or what our families think is okay, it is what society as a whole allows. I always carry with me the conversation I had with Thomas Greenwood in fourth grade, when I told him you have to receive the punch first for self-defense, and he told me, "No way, if there's any chance you're getting hit, defend yourself first!" Always hope his father is on your self-defense jury and not mine.

The last time I tried a high publicity felony case to a hung jury, the jury count was overwhelmingly for the prosecution. At the retrial, there was no press anymore. The news cycle had moved on. So when the second jury came back in record time and said "Not guilty" it was on an inside page with no photograph. The TV news didn't even cover it anymore. They had moved on to the latest salacious case. The family who trusted me with their representation were able to close that chapter and move on with their lives. They've since even had a new kid!

A Jury Trial, especially in the news where a loss means years in prison, really puts the whole world on hold. You can't make any long term plans while the verdict is still out. Nothing can change. It's one thing to prepare yourself for the worst, it's another thing to prepare yourself to do everything again.

One thing still hasn't changed about this McDonald's after the remodel. Value Meals still cost an extra $2 because of the cut pineapple that comes with it and customers are still surprised.