Wednesday, November 25, 2015         

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Puppy mill defendant's attorney gets more time to prepare for trial



The public defender representing the former manager of a now-defunct Waimanalo puppy breeding operation Thursday morning was granted a three-week continuance to better acquaint himself with his client's 153 criminal animal cruelty misdemeanor charges.

David Lee Becker, 37, has been held on $200,000 bail since he was extradited to Honolulu last Friday from Las Vegas to face charges of animal cruelty.

Deputy Public Defender Jin Tae Kim this morning requested the continuance until mid-July because he said he needed time to review the 1,500-page criminal complaint and numerous accompanying photos. 

Kim later told reporters he needs the time "to examine all the documents" to determine Becker's defense.

Each misdemeanor count amounts to $2,000 and Becker could be fined as much as $306,000 and spend up to a year in jail.

City Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jan Futa argued for a shorter time, saying that two weeks would be adequate.

Becker, dressed in a brown T-shirt and gray shorts, did not speak at this morning's proceedings.

District Court Judge David Lo approved Kim's request and set Becker's arraignment for July 12 at 8:30 a.m. in Kaneohe District Court.

Becker was charged May 26, but left the state before he was served with the criminal complaints alleging the business amounted to a so-called puppy mill.

He was detained June 8 in Las Vegas after the Hawaiian Humane Society found Becker and gave the information to the Honolulu prosecutor's office, which obtained a special gubernatorial warrant for his arrest.

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