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Judge won’t allow DNA in Maui murder trial

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    Steven Capobianco appeared in a Maui district court room in July 2014. A judge has ruled that prosecutors cannot use DNA evidence against Capobianco, who is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend on Maui in 2014.

WAILUKU » A judge has ruled that prosecutors cannot use DNA evidence against a man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend on Maui in 2014.

Steven Capobianco is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Carly “Charli” Scott, who was five months pregnant with his child when she disappeared two years ago.

Prosecutors say a hair found on a pair of Capobianco’s jeans in January had Scott’s blood on it, tying him to the crime.

Second Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza granted the defense request to exclude the evidence Tuesday based on a delay in getting the results. The judge determined that allowing for a review of the DNA testing could potentially affect Capobianco’s right to a speedy trial.

“I’m not, in this ruling, being critical of anyone involved – not the prosecution, not the FBI, not HPD, not police officers involved, nor any defense experts that might be involved,” Cardoza said. “But I have to make sure there’s a fair trial here.”

The evidence had been sent to Quantico, Virginia to be examined in an FBI laboratory in February. The FBI reports were received by the prosecutor’s office May 12 and sent to the defense between May 18 and 20, according to testimony.

“There is absolutely no explanation as to the delay,” said Capobianco’s attorney, Jon Apo.

First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera acknowledged a “tardy” arrival of the reports, but argued that the DNA evidence was crucial to the case.

Judge Cardoza countered that “The case is obviously going to be tried on a web of evidence. The question is what’s going to be included in the web of evidence.”

Jury selection began May 23.

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      • For you to suggest that Judge Joseph Cardoza is “lax and sloppy” is reprehensible. Judge Cardoza is a very experienced and competent judge who, unlike you, has a solid understanding of criminal law and procedure and the facts of this case. Get a life, “allie,” and keep your meaningless drivel to yourself.

    • Wrong. This judge did not kill the super ferry. He had no authority/power to do so. It was, rather, other factors including bungling by the State which killed the ferry. The judge/court MUST rely upon statutes and rules and MUST require that all players abide properly by them. You are pointing your fingers at the wrong person in a very over simplistic fashion which is not grounded in fact or in practice.

        • Haven’t you yet figured out the brilliance of the courts is that lawyers and judges routinely make mistakes and screw people over and ruin lives, but it’s rarely their fault.

          Their job is to find fault in others and to cover it up for themselves and their clients. Whoever does this best usually “wins” in court. That’s a “good” lawyer. That’s why no one likes them and they tend to be jerks and bullies.

          Try talk to some paralegals sometime, it’ll probably make your blood boil.

        • Do you mean the sentence that identifies your mistake? I guess you’d rather keep blaming the wrong person instead of actually doing something about the problem, right?

  • “Prosecutors say a hair found on a pair of Capobianco’s jeans in January had Scott’s blood on it…” That spineless creature should just plead guilty.

  • “The judge determined that allowing for a review of the DNA testing could potentially affect Capobianco’s right to a speedy trial.” – What “speedy trial” is he talking about? It has been TWO YEARS already since the crime. How much time can it take to review the DNA test results which they have?

  • What is the exact deadline from the time DNA tests are performed before it is provided to the defense? Is there a deadline? Was the results delayed to BOTH the defense and prosecution or just to the defense? Maybe the FBI lab is really backed up so now that the results are available to the defense why can’t the judge allow a continuance and give enough time to the defense to review the results and prep their defense accordingly? Can only come to two reasonable conclusions. Either the judge is biased to the defense or the prosecution really messed up by not keeping up with clearly stated deadlines or notifications to the defense. Either way is not good

    • Those are not the only two options. The other option, which sounds likely, is that the FBI lab is just that backed up that it couldn’t get results to the prosecution in a timely manner.

      • Is that reason alone for a judge to throw out the evidence in a court trail? If the actual court trial has not started and the defense is made aware of the delay, how does that deny the defendant adequate preparation time and a right to a fair trial? Defendants and their attorneys are routinely given a continuance for various reasons, why could the judge give such an allowance for the prosecution if the delay by the FBI to test the DNA was not out of malice?

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