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Warrant dropped for protester who refused to speak English

Nelson Daranciang
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STAR-ADVERTISER / 2014

Protester Kaleikoa Kaeo of Maui was in court for his trial for disorderly conduct, obstructing a sidewalk and refusing to obey a police officer and chose to conduct his defense in Hawaiian.

A state judge on Maui this morning rescinded a bench warrant he issued yesterday for a defendant who chose to speak Hawaiian instead of English in his courtroom.

Maui District Judge Blaine Kobayashi issued an order that was filed just before 9:00 a.m. today recalling the bench warrant. The order was not the result of a hearing and Kobayashi doesn’t say in the order why he took the action. The order does, however, schedule a hearing on Feb. 21 on the issue of an interpreter.

Samuel Kaleikoa Kaeo, a Hawaiian studies assistant professor, was in court yesterday for his trial for disorderly conduct, obstructing a sidewalk and refusing to obey a police officer and chose to conduct his defense in Hawaiian. His arrest stemmed from an August protest against the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope under construction on Haleakala.

Kobayashi initially issued the bench warrant because he said the court was unable to determine whether or not the defendant in the case was present.

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