A retired police lieutenant testified this afternoon about the 2008 disorderly conduct conviction for Kollin Elderts, but his testimony was limited by Circuit Judge Karen Ahn.
Wayne Fernandez testified that Elderts was part of a large crowd in May 2008 and challenged others to a fight.
Elderts struggled when he was arrested, but police did not see him hit anyone, Fernandez said in his brief stint on the witness stand.
In saying she would limit the testimony this morning, Ahn said she recognizes her limitations might not make either the prosecution or the defense happy.
But she said she must weigh State Department special agent Christopher Deedy’s right under court rulings to introduce the conviction against the chance that the jury might decide the case on an “improper basis” that Elderts was a ”bad person” who “got what he deserved.”
She said the jury will know about the conviction only to the extent as to who was the aggressor the early morning of Nov. 5, 2011, when Deedy fatally shot Elderts at a Waikiki McDonald’s restaurant.
Ahn’s remarks came at the start of the 20th day of Deedy’s trial on a charge of murdering Elderts.
Over strong objections by prosecutors who argue that the introduction of the conviction will unduly harm their case, Ahn ruled late Wednesday that she would permit police testimony on the conviction.
The defense argued that under court rulings, the conviction should be introduced at Deedy’s trial to show Elderts’ “aggressive and violent character.”
Elderts was convicted of disorderly conduct after his arrest outside a Kailua bar.
Deputy Prosecutor Chasid Sapolu wanted Fernandez’s testimony to be expanded to cover that Elderts was acting to defend his uncle and family. But Ahn said that might open the way for the defense to include more details.
Karl Blanke, Deedy’s lawyer, argued Ahn’s limits on the testimony would not show Elderts’ aggressive behavior that included Elderts challenging members of a fight club; not backing down from police despite repeated warnings; and telling police, “f— you.”
A police officer also had to physically bring Elderts to the ground and two other officers had to help in handcuffing him, Blanke said.
The judge indicated she would not permit those details. “Mr. Elderts is not here to defend himself,” she said this morning.