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For Thursday, July 28, 2011

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services

LAST UPDATED: 7:50 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

Aloun Farms trial close to start

Opening statements could begin as early as today in the federal trial of brothers Alex and Mike Sou of Aloun Farms on charges of forced labor and related counts.

U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway told the lawyers Wednesday afternoon that a jury should be selected by lunch today and they should plan on making their opening statements. Mollway presided over a day of jury selection Wednesday and will resume the selection process this morning.

The brothers are accused of threatening Thai laborers with harm if they did not work at the Kapolei-based Aloun Farms.

The trial is expected to last several weeks.

Decision on voter count put off

The Honolulu Reapportionment Commission deferred action Wednesday on whether to include nonresidents such as military members and their dependents in the overall island population count for revising voter districts.

After about 90 minutes of debate, the commission decided to put off a decision until it learns if additional data on military members' addresses would be forthcoming from the state Reapportionment Commission.

"I think it's a controversial enough topic … that we should try to get as much information as we can," Commissioner Arthur Park said.

The commission may consider excluding other nonresident groups such as nonresident students and incarcerated felons as it draws up county political districts to reflect changes in the population in the past decade.

In 2001, the Honolulu commission decided to exclude military members but not their dependents, along with nonresident students.

State commissioners voted 8-1 last month to include all four nonresident groups in the overall population count for drawing up state House and Senate districts.

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