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Deedy trial jury could feel pressure, experts say

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 01:45 p.m. HST, Aug 23, 2013


High-profile attention put on jurors of national criminal trials could be weighing on a Hawaii jury that's deciding whether a federal agent is guilty of murder, legal experts say.

Jurors began deliberating Aug. 15 in the case against State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy, who is charged with second-degree murder after he shot and killed a man inside a Waikiki McDonald's restaurant in 2011.

"Jurors know how closely they're monitored these days," in light of recent cases such as George Zimmerman and Casey Anthony, said Claire Luna, senior vice president of Costa Mesa, Calif.-based trial consulting firm Jury Impact. "Jurors know that all their neighbors and friends and family and media in the state are going to be looking at what they do."

University of Hawaii criminal law professor Kenneth Lawson said that pressure may be fueled by the dynamics of the key players: Deedy, now 29, of Arlington, Va., who was here to help provide security for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, and shooting victim Kollin Elderts, 23, of Kailua, Hawaii.

"You have a local person who's dead you have an out-of-state law enforcement officer," Lawson said. "If I find this man not guilty, how am I going to go home and hold my head up? How am I going to explain this to my community?"

Deedy testified over three days on the witness stand that he believed he was acting in self-defense and protecting others from an aggressive Elderts, who Deedy claims was harassing a customer. The prosecution has maintained that Deedy was intoxicated, inexperienced and should have simply walked away.

Further complicating the decision for jurors is the all-or-nothing situation of not being able to consider a lesser charge of manslaughter. "It puts those jurors in a battle where there's no room for compromise," Lawson said.

Megan Kau, a defense attorney not involved in the case and a former Honolulu prosecutor, said she predicts a hung jury. But any verdict will spark discussion about what the decision says about Hawaii race relations, she said. Deedy claims Elderts referred to him as a haole, the Hawaiian word for white person, in a derogatory way, and the prosecution claims Deedy was primed by a warning from a fellow agent that locals are hostile toward outsiders.

That will not be lost on a local jury, Kau said.

"I think Deedy overreacted based on what someone had told him: locals don't like haoles," she said. The jury is "likely looking at whether he was justified in employingdeadly force."

Like every Friday throughout the trial that began July 8, the jury had the day off. They will resume deliberations Monday.







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allie wrote:
I agree with that account. The jury is divided, obviously, and yes, the prosecutor should have allowed a compromise solution such as manslaughter which us what is at issue here. Not murder. It was so easy to predict this would happen.
on August 23,2013 | 02:13PM
GONEGOLFIN wrote:
Allie, this may be a 1st, but I think what you have written is SPOT-ON. Thank you.
on August 23,2013 | 05:15PM
Mythman wrote:
The defense should have moved Heaven and Earth to move the trial out of Hawaii where a fair trial is impossible.
on August 23,2013 | 03:11PM
RetiredWorking wrote:
IRT Myth, the Deedy Support Fund could not afford the cost of moving heaven and earth. All he could borrow to afford were high powered high-priced local and mainland attorneys. I guess Ms Futa did an EXCELLENT job against the mighty Goliaths Props to her. If not, Deedy would've been found not guilty on the first, maybe second day of deliberations.
on August 23,2013 | 03:28PM
hanalei395 wrote:
Ms Futa knows Deedy IS a murderer and she wants that murder verdict, and not that "second best" manslaughter.
on August 23,2013 | 06:03PM
joseph007 wrote:
why should the people of Hawaii NOT have the right to decide. outrageous comment above, ridiculous and detrimental to our islands.
on August 24,2013 | 08:59AM
Snator wrote:
Why does the jury get every Friday off??? Oh ya, this is the Nei.
on August 23,2013 | 03:20PM
Anonymous wrote:
"Jurors know how closely they're monitored these days," in light of recent cases such as George Zimmerman and Casey Anthony, said Claire Luna, senior vice president of Costa Mesa, Calif.-based trial consulting firm Jury Impact. "Jurors know that all their neighbors and friends and family and media in the state are going to be looking at what they do."

What the heck is the Star-Advertiser doing g publishing this on the jury's day off?! It reads like a threat from Tony Soprano.


on August 23,2013 | 04:16PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Nice little local family you got there. Hate to see anything happen to it.
on August 23,2013 | 07:51PM
sailfish1 wrote:
If any jurors reach a verdict because they are afraid of what their friends and neighbors say, they were poor choices to be on the jury. That would truly show Hawaii to be a "locals versus outsiders" biased state and a travesty of justice. I hope that those so-called "experts" Luna and Lawson are wrong.
on August 23,2013 | 10:40PM
HealthyandHappy wrote:
The "experts" are under pressure to stay relevant.
on August 24,2013 | 12:00AM
joseph007 wrote:
all these experts blowing steam..... our news industry now has suppositions and guesses as the main part of "news" now. ask any person, with a degree especially, of what they "think" about something and that's called news.
on August 24,2013 | 08:58AM
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