The online news site Civil Beat and other media organizations filed a legal brief with the Hawaii Supreme Court Monday supporting a request to release the transcripts of closed court sessions in federal agent Christopher Deedy’s murder trial.
The request filed by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Hawaii News Now also asks the court to prohibit Circuit Judge Karen Ahn from holding private court proceedings without giving the media and the public a chance to object.
The request was filed Sept. 6 after Ahn held a private bench conference without the jury present and then cleared the courtroom before declaring a mistrial in the Deedy case.
Ahn has scheduled jury selection for June for the retrial.
Deedy, a State Department special agent, is charged with murdering Kollin Elderts in the 2011 shooting at a Waikiki McDonald’s restaurant.
The brief filed today said Ahn "failed to follow basic procedures that assure continued public confidence in the integrity of the state’s administration of justice."
It urges the state high court to recognize that the U. S. Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment has imposed standards on closing the courtroom.
The brief also asks that the high court determine how the public can receive notice and a "meaningful opportunity to object."
The high court ordered the judge, the city prosecutors and Deedy to file a response to the Star-Advertiser’s motion within 20 days of it Sept. 20 order.
Other organizations joining in the brief filed today are LIN Television Corp., doing business as KHON; Hearst Television Inc., owner of KITV; Hawaii Public Radio; Stephens Media LLC, doing business as Hawaii Tribune-Herald and West Hawaii Today; Maui Time Productions Inc., doing business as Maui Time Weekly; Hawaii Reporter Inc.; Hawaii Professional Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists; Media Council Hawaii, and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.