Circuit Court Judge Karen Ahn will decide within 21 days whether to release transcripts of closed-door proceedings during the final hours of federal agent Christopher Deedy’s murder trial last year, which ended in a mistrial.
The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that Ahn must hold a hearing on Ahn’s reasons for shuttering various proceedings from public view. That hearing was this morning, but media attorney Jeff Portnoy was frustrated that Ahn still did not provide her reasoning for closing the proceedings to the public.
Instead, Ahn said discussing the reasoning for closing the proceedings would only release details in the still-sealed transcripts.
"She said it’s circular, but of course it’s circular," said Portnoy, who represents the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Hawaii News Now in getting the transcripts released. "If she’s not going to give us an opportunity to debate or argue why something should not be sealed … it really makes no sense and denies us an opportunity to be heard."
Portnoy said Ahn technically followed the court’s order by holding a hearing. Ahn also asked Deedy’s attorney whether the defendant understands the ramifications of releasing the transcripts. Portnoy said those question gave him some hope the transcripts would be released today.
Instead, Ahn said she would take the matter under advisement. Prosecutors only requested that the names of the jurors are redacted, to which Portnoy did not object.
Deedy is accused of murdering 23-year-old Kailua resident Kollin Elderts. The trial ended in a hung jury last summer.
Photo: Circuit Court Judge Karen Ahn (Honolulu Star-Advertiser)
— Gene Park