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Supreme Court hears case at Farrington High auditorium

The Hawaii Supreme Court held its first hearing at a high school today as justices listened to arguments in a criminal case before about 200 students at the Farrington High School auditorium.

The hearing was the first under the Judiciary’s Courts in the Community project to educate students and the public about the Judiciary’s role.

Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald said the hearing achieved what it set out to do in reaching out to the younger generation.

He said the court is considering holding these sessions at least once a school year, including going to schools on the neighbor islands.

The hearing was over an appeal of a theft conviction. A key issue was whether the jury should have been instructed about factors that should be considered in evaluating eyewitness identifications.

Jack Tonaki, state public defender, argued that his client, Steve C. Cabagbag Jr., should receive a new trial because the jury wasn’t given the instruction.

Deputy Prosecutor Stephen Tsushima urged the court to uphold the conviction.

Students from Farrington and Mililani high schools attended the hearing.

As is customary, Recktenwald adjourned the session without indicating when the court will rule.

But before adjourning, Recktenwald thanked the students and their teachers, Farrington High School and the University of Hawaii law school, which assisted in the program.

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