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Video of shooting by federal agent will remain sealed, judge rules

By Ken Kobayashi


Surveillance videos of a fatal shooting in Waikiki and defense documents related to a request asking for a dismissal of the murder charge against a federal agent will remain sealed.

Circuit Judge Karen Ahn today granted a request by city prosecutors to keep the videos and defense documents confidential.

In her 13-page ruling, Ahn said the release of video and defense filings which include Deedy's version of the shooting might jeopardize a fair trial for "the defense and/or prosecution."

 State Department special agent Christopher Deedy is charged with murder in the shooting of Kollin Elderts, 23,  at the McDonald's Kuhio Avenue restaurant.

 The McDonald's surveillance video of the fatal shooting the early morning of Nov. 5 was filed by the defense to support a request to dismiss the murder charge.

 Deedy, 28, was here to provide security at the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference.

  The defense is contending that Deedy was performing his duties as a federal law enforcement officer which would make him immune from the state prosecution.

Ahn ruled that the videos will be kept confidential until either a July 13 hearing on the defense dismissal request or the trial set for September.

Deedy’s lawyers have filed a request to push back the trial until March next year.

City Posecutor Keith Kaneshiro said his office “agrees with Judge Ahn’s reasoned and legally sound ruling.”

City Deputy Prosecutor Janice Futa had asked for the sealing of the defense filings.

She maintains that the video is irrelevant to the dismissal request and the defense submitted the filings to taint potential jurors in Deedy’s favor.

Deedy’s lawyer, Brook Hart, opposed the sealing. He said the video will help Ahn decide whether Deedy reasonably believed he was acting as a law enforcement officer.

Hart said today he had just reviewed the decision.

“I’m trying to determine what if anything my client would like to do about it,” he said.  “I haven’t had a chance to speak to him.”

Hart’s defense is that Deedy was acting to defend himself and others.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, its TV news partner Hawaii News Now and online news site Hawaii Reporter also opposed the sealing. 

Jeffrey Portnoy, the news organizations’ lawyer, argued that court filings have long been considered open to the public.

He contended the prosecution failed to establish the required “compelling reasons” to keep private the defense documents and surveillance videos.

Ed Lynch, Star-Advertiser managing editor for news, said the newspaper is reviewing its options.

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false wrote:
Under the influence of alcohol, doesn't allow the defense for murder in the line of duty. Words are not weapons of destruction. The trial needs to proceed like any other local personality regardless of color. We're all equally important and protected under the law, so let it be.
on May 31,2012 | 12:47PM
fishwrider wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on May 31,2012 | 03:10PM
bumba wrote:
Fishwrider is exactly right.
on May 31,2012 | 04:37PM
dogleg wrote:
Exactly! And what about all the psychological and legal issues Deedy and his family have to go thru now!! Was there an actual blood alcohol level taken on Deedy? Or is it just that he looked intoxicated?
on May 31,2012 | 06:50PM
Kuikapono wrote:
there was no actual blood alcohol taken on Deedy because...........HE DENiED IT !!!!! I wonder what he had to hide if he ( wasn't) under the influence!? I wonder what he was trying to hide, if he was "legally perfroming his duties" like he claims !
on June 1,2012 | 05:34PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
that's right! maybe he didn't deserve to die for being stupid but he at least bears some responsibility for the shooting.
on May 31,2012 | 07:26PM
Kuikapono wrote:
if you were following this trial from the beginning then maybe you would realize how ridiculously stupid your comment is. The state changed their charge on Deedy form 2nd degree murder to 1st degree murder, based on the video! Its obvious that the video is in Elderts favor, not against him! the prosecution has Nothing to hide, maybe......just maybe........they don't want (any) evidence shown to the public, because its a MURDER TRiAL!!!!!!!!! and comments from the media and public can taint the trial in any way to any side. Again----please, if you do NOT know Kollin Elderts, do not make unnecessary negative comments about his personality ! How do you know he's a tattered out local bruddah who tried to give lickens to some random guy!? do you know him!? where you there!?
on June 1,2012 | 05:41PM
loquaciousone wrote:
Though we gotta say goodbye....for the summer...I'll fill the emptiness. .. I'll give you all my time....in a bottle......sealed with a kiss....
on May 31,2012 | 12:53PM
fishwrider wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on May 31,2012 | 03:16PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
You need to cut loquaciousone some slack. He got stuck in the 60s. Actually, a lot of us got stuck in the 60s. Come on, I know my oldie moldy music. Sealed with a kiss. Written by Gary Geld and Peter Udell. First recorded by the Four Voices in 1960. Made a hit by Brian Hyland in 1962. Brought back back to life by loquaciousone for no apparent reason at all.
on May 31,2012 | 05:47PM
Oye_Como_Va wrote:
Why worry about whether the videos are sealed or not? The case will be dismissed and the Sheeple of Hawaii can go about their daily lives as usual like before and the Federal government will go on trampling on the Hawaiians especially if the Akaka bill is passed.
on May 31,2012 | 01:15PM
what wrote:
The Judge has decided an actual video of the crime being performed will jeopardize the fairness of a trial? That's like saying facts might jeopardize the fairness of a case. We can't allow facts in a trial. It's ridiculous what our trial system has become.
on May 31,2012 | 01:25PM
entrkn wrote:
I wonder how many innocent people got mauled by those choirboys before they picked on a US Marshall...
on May 31,2012 | 01:28PM
kainalu wrote:
If it's "evidence", the time will come when it's made available. This is merely a delay.
on May 31,2012 | 01:52PM
inverse wrote:
History repeats itself. This case is a reincarnation of the 1931 Massie Incident. Elderts->Joe Kahahawai; Deedy->Thomas Massie; defense lawyer Brook Hart->Clarence Darrow.
Two "local" guys from two different eras in Hawaii, both had issues and indirectly started a unfortunate chain of events that lead to their death. With Kahahawai in 1931, he was no angel and had broken the jaw of a Caucasian woman that he did not know from a road rage incident. Elderts, with coke and marijuana in his system and a past criminal history, was probably saying some pretty nasty things to innocent Caucasian patrons in a Waikiki McDonalds at 3 in the morning. Both end up dead. Either case, there are no winners, HOWEVER any attempts to sweep the Elderts case under the rug or allow politics to interfere with our rules of law will do more harm than good for the entire State of Hawaii in the long run. Unfortunately in Hawaii, politics rein supreme and like the rail and interisland power generation cable project, the taxpaying public and in this case the Elderts family, when it is all over, will get the short end of the stick.
on May 31,2012 | 02:26PM
false wrote:
The undercurrent of history and the overthrow runs deep in the blood of Hawai`i.
on May 31,2012 | 03:06PM
bumba wrote:
This is nothing like the Massie case. Bruddah picked on the wrong guy. The Elderts family doesn't deserve any part of the stick. Their son was a bully. Hence, the work "WAS".
on May 31,2012 | 04:41PM
Kuikapono wrote:
Im sorry, who are you? Do you know Kollin Elderts and his family? where you there that night!? --cause if you weren't, which I'm 99.9% sure you wasn't , then you do not know who was being the bully. Deedy was obviously out for recreational purposes ( excluding him from performing duties, that are allowed for him to do AT WORK ) he got into a ( personal confrontation) with Elderts, and used his position in the government to justify murder, after he got in an argument with someone hanging out with friends. And unless, you have experienced the pain of loosing a YOUNG family member Unexpectedly, and unfairly, don't EVER say a Family does not deserve justice, for an unjust crime ! Deedy is 27, and was out with 2 weapons on him Elderts was 23!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! with no weapons, so who's the bully now!?
on June 1,2012 | 05:30PM
saveparadise wrote:
Please do not turn this into a racially motivated hate crime. This is a person willing to put his life on the line for others. Let the law take it's course.
on May 31,2012 | 02:38PM
PaloloValley wrote:
What a cr*ck.
on May 31,2012 | 02:53PM
false wrote:
Case of arrogance. The badge and booze make for poor judgement. The cost is great one dead and the other? loss of freedoms.
on May 31,2012 | 03:07PM
8082062424 wrote:
A drunk agent shooting an unarmed Hawaiian male. that picture speak for it self. I do not call this agent putting his life on the line being drunk and shooting another person. i hope the law dose it job and he spends time in a local prison This agent should be treated like any other person who commits a crime no special treatment.
on May 31,2012 | 04:02PM
Peacenik wrote:
What picture? The prosecution don't want us Joe Public to see the actual picture, just the picture they want painted for the public. Anyone who stands up for the underdog gets my vote. Too many tough local bruddahs, think it's ok to harass non-locals because of something that happen 100 years ago. Judge Ahn is the slap on the wrist judge for many violent crime case, please watch her rulings on future cases.
on May 31,2012 | 06:08PM
Kuikapono wrote:
sucks for you, you never got to experience the Joy of knowing someone like Kollin Elderts. Someone who had a undeniably good heart. He was NOT that " tough local bruddah that thought it was okay to harass non-locals. Plain and Simple, Kollin was not waving a weapon around ( unlike deedy) saying that he was gonna harm others, So there was NO justified reason to shoot! Deedy must have had a personal issue with Elderts, and that alone Excludes his Excuse of " performing duties " And who are referring to as the " under -dog " !? Deedy is the one who is trying to use his position to get out of a murder trial ! Wouldn't the " local bruddah" and his family be the under-dog!? bullied by a "federal-agent"--murdered with no justice !?
on June 1,2012 | 05:10PM
Kuikapono wrote:
Exactly ! thank you ! finally some " common-sense" !!!
on June 1,2012 | 05:22PM
Descartes22 wrote:
Prosecutors routinely leak and feed the media "evidence" like this, which may prospectively influence a jury pool months or years later. What a double standard. There are safeguards in place to secure a fair and impartial jury, such as individual questioning of a jury panel. But I guess that only applies when evidence is detrimental to a defendant. The prosecution should be held to this new standard that they have sought. It should be prohibited (along with their HPD partners) from releasing pretrial evidence, such as 911 tapes, surveillance video, witness statements, photographs, and other evidence which is inflammatory to an accused.
on May 31,2012 | 03:46PM
I've read the comments on this article and I believe anything can happen. I can't understand why they can't show the video or are they trying to hid something. Usually that is the case when you don't want people to see all of the evidence. I believe they can make a better judgement with all of the evidence seen by all. And "yes", this could be another "hate" thing, if you try to hide the evidence. After all, we the people, only know what we read and see, so don't leave anything out.
on May 31,2012 | 04:39PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
McDonalds is obviously hazardous to your health.
on May 31,2012 | 05:42PM
MrGlenn wrote:
Is not the tape property of the local McDonalds? The ruling might prevent the attorney's from releasing anything, but nothing is stopping McD's from releasing, is it?
on May 31,2012 | 06:36PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
How can an actual video of the incident be "irrevelent" to a motion to dismiss the charges? What a ridiculous statement from the prosecutor,what are they trying to hide? People can watch the video and make up their own mind without Keith Kaneshiro telling them what to think first. They know the tape shows Elderts hassling this guy, even after having a gun pointed at him. Stupid people don't derserve to die but he most certainly bears some responsibility for this incident.
on May 31,2012 | 07:40PM
Kuikapono wrote:
no one knows what the video shows. There are other reasons for having the video not shown "for now", reasons relating to the flow of the trial. And why are you people so interested to see the video right now, anyway--they mentioned it will be shown later in the trial. If you are not personally tied to this case, then why the hell do you care!? Don't you people have better things to do with your life and day, then to sit here and comment negatively about a victim or family you know nothing about! Get a life ! cause trust, the Elderts families ( Life ) is ruin! and your stupidity and negative comments does not help !
on June 1,2012 | 05:18PM
Papakolea wrote:
If the premature public viewing of the video could prejudice the outcome of a fair trial in either direction, then it should remain sealed. In this case, the judge has ruled that it could influence the outcome of the trial. I, for one, would love to see the video but I'd rather have my curiosity put on hold than jeopardize a fair trial. The media outlets are only interested in selling ad space. They should be ashamed of putting their profits above justice.
on May 31,2012 | 08:40PM
bigbud808 wrote:
What a smoke job! So l can get licensed and walk around w/a concealed weapon in a nightclub and consume alcohol and party and at any given exchange of words shoot someone and it's ok.Where do l sign up, let me right the injustices of the world. Let me clean the muck off the streets, Oh wait, let me have another beer first.
on June 1,2012 | 02:15AM
Kuikapono wrote:
I knew of the victim and his family, and of all the years that I knew them I never once heard a negative comment about or surrounding the victim. Only stories of Love, friendliness, helpfulness, and complete appreciation for his community, family, friends and surrounding individuals, not of the " local -bully - punk " you "commenters" are referring to. And i do know that his murder not only devastated his family--but the entire community--from friends of friends, to the old man at the convenient store, the young-girl at the grocery store- and the mail-lady, they all depended on Elderts to walk by them--and do his usual, say something to make them smile--and let them know that no matter what their going through--he will be there to make them feel better about it. Before I leave here, the one thing i will make sure of is that, Kollin is represented righteously! He was a Good-Hearted Honest, Beautiful Person! his Aloha was beyond impeccable! and if you do not know him, please do no disrespect his family by posting unnecessary comments about his personality--that you obviously do not know about because you obviously do not know him! Deedy likes to say that he was "performing his duties" when he shot Elderts, but his job was to "protect foreign dignities" We know that the friends or people he claims to be "protecting" when he shot Elderts are not " foreign dignities " and on top of that, he was not in a work setting or environment. Now, if Elderts had been causing harm to the person who he was supposed to protect by law, and then he shot, that would be considered Deedy " performing his duties " I'm sure his job description does not include: " you may participate in recreational activities with your friends, where you can drink alcohol, and carry your weapon around into the wee hours of the morning, and then if you and your friends just so happens to get into a "personal argument" with someone and if that argument just so happens to turn physical, you can shoot that person-- ---and claim you were protecting yourself and others because! your a federal agent, and we can just tell people you were "doing your job." Lets not ignore the facts here people. Deedy was not at "work" when he shot Elderts, he was "obviously" out for the night with friends ( things you do after work) Somewhere along the lines he got into a confrontation with Elderts, and instead of being a "professional" and walking away, he stayed and continued to get deeper into a confrontation with Elderts to the point where they were physically fighting---then Deedy took out his gun on the " un-armed" Elderts and shot him right in the chest!!! Deedy decided himself to stay in that confrontation--if at any point he felt harmed--why didn't he just walk away? We know that Elderts wasn't trying to cause harm to innocent people around them--giving Deedy a reason to stay, and continue the confrontation. Deedy must have had a personal issue with what Elderts was saying; that very action EXCLUDES the EXCUSE of " performing his duties to protect others" And for the people calling Elderts names, why back Deedy up so much? Do you know him personally? for all you know he's a federal-agent-punk who used his authority to be a bully! If you were following the storie the whole time--you would know that the state changed their charge on Deedy form 2nd degree murder to 1st degree from watching the video--meaning there was something in the video that indicated that Deedy was not performing his duties, legally. The prosecution has nothing to hide, but not wanting the video to surface--they just don't want "anything" to taint any part of the trail before it starts. And to the person who claims he saw the video, i don't see how you did--unless you are a prosecutor or lawyer--and if you are, isn't it illegal to talk about the matter outside of court ? And for the person saying that it was only "said" that Deedy was under-influence and it was not proven with a test--thats because Deedy himself denied the test ! --so what does he have to hide, if he was not uder the influence? Plain and Simple : Elderts was not running around like a crazy person with a weapon saying he was gonna harm others! -- thats an obvious! Yes! Elderts may have said some derogatory words, but Deedy being the "professional" that he claims to be should have ignored him and walked away. But he didn't--he stayed until the argument turned physical--as in any case when ( people are under the influence ) but, Deedy knowing he was an agent--somehow convinced himself Elderts was intentionally causing enough harm to him, that he needed to be shot in the chest--not the leg, or arm--the chest ! and Kill him for No justified reason. If the state does not prosecute him to the full-exstend, what kind of message would the state of Hawaii be sending!? ; As long as you have the right title you can come to Hawaii--and do as you please--even if that includes killing someone else's loved one! If you "say" you were performing your duties. Come on State of Hawaii, Do Not let this happened again to an other innocent life, and all the other lives that are affected when you wrongfully murder someone unexpectedly...........Charge Christopher Deedy to the full extent ! and give the Elderts family the justice they so "Legally " Deserve ! and for everyone else spewing negativity, please just shut up ! you will never understand what Kollin's family lost when they lost him! It only makes the wounds burn even more when you comment about him without any knowledge of the incident or who he was as a person ! Don't say things you wouldn't want said about your only family members!
on June 1,2012 | 04:56PM
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