Hawaii Reporter Challenges Closure of Murder Case Records

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Christopher Deedy

BY JIM DOOLEY – Hawaii Reporter has joined with two other news media organizations to oppose closure of records in the murder case against U.S. State Department security officer Christopher Deedy.

Christopher Deedy

Deedy was accused last year following the early morning shooting death of Kaneohe man Kollin Elderts during an altercation at a Waikiki fast food restaurant.

Prosecutors last week asked the court to seal a defense motion that argues Deedy is immune from state prosecution based on his employment as a federal law enforcement agent.

Attached to the motion were portions of a surveillance video recorded at the McDonald’s restaurant when Elderts was shot.

Oahu Publications, publisher of the Star Advertiser newspaper, asked to intervene in the case to oppose sealing of the motion and Hawaii Reporter has joined in the intervention motion, along with television station HawaiiNewsNow.

“The public has a right of access to judicial proceedings and records,” attorneys Jeff Portnoy and Elijah Yip said in the motion, which will be argued before Circuit Judge Karen Ahn this afternoon.

The hearing will focus only on the media’s request to oppose closure of public records. Ahn has set another hearing Thursday on Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro’s effort to seal the records before the trial of Deedy begins later this year or next year.

Kaneshiro spokesman Dave Koga said prosecutors are concerned that public release of information about the case could result in prejudicial pretrial publicity.

“In a criminal case as emotionally charged as this one, public release of evidence and arguments can only result in prejudicing the proceedings.,” Koga said.

“The prosecutor’s office believes the proper place and time for disclosure is in Judge Ahn’s courtroom — after a jury has been seated,” said Koga.

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