POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jun 17, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 01:55 a.m. HST, Jun 17, 2011
Circuit Judge Edward H. Kubo dismissed a case against Honolulu police officer Scott J. Valdez Thursday after a second jury in less than six months could not agree on a verdict. Kubo dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning Valdez cannot be tried a third time.
Valdez had been accused of pushing or hitting a 17-year-old male driver during a traffic stop on the H-1 freeway in March 2010.
Valdez, 43, was charged with second-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle. If convicted, he faced up to five years in prison.
Motorist Matthew Smith said Valdez pulled him over when Smith threw up his hands after the officer drove by on a narrow shoulder, nearly brushing Smith's Toyota Scion. Valdez claimed Smith made an obscene gesture, prompting the traffic stop. Valdez denied any improper conduct and insisted that he remained calm.
Jeffrey Hawk, Valdez's attorney, said the officer only reached into Smith's car to check the tint on the window. Hawk said Smith wanted to get back at Valdez because of the expensive citations he was issued.
The second trial began June 7 and ran three days. The jury deliberated for more than two days and informed Kubo Thursday afternoon it could not reach a unanimous decision.
The prosecutor's office declined comment.
A previous trial before Kubo ended with a hung verdict in January.