HILO -- From 1985 to 1994, high-ranking officers, including former Deputy Chief Francis DeMorales, corrupted the Hawaii County Police Department by rigging promotions, attorney Michael Green says.
Green made the statement to the jury yesterday during his closing argument in a seven-week trial over allegations by 19 current and former officers that they lost promotions because of actions taken by DeMorales, Chief Wayne Carvalho and the county.
"By your verdict in this case, you can take back your police department," Green told the jurors.
Testimony indicated Guy A. Paul, chief until 1988, routinely told then-Deputy Chief Carvalho whom he wanted promoted. Carvalho passed the information to then-Inspector DeMorales.
DeMorales testified he told favored candidates questions and answers they could expect during oral exams given by promotional boards.
Defense attorneys have countered that the actions were irrelevant, since the promotional boards only gave advice to Paul. By law, the chief had complete authority to pick whomever he wanted.
Defense attorneys were to give their closing arguments today, with the jury to receive the case tomorrow after receiving about 100 special instructions from Circuit Judge Riki May Amano.
DeMorales testified that he fixed every promotion except one when he sat on promotion boards, and "probably" fixed promotions when he wasn't on the boards.
DeMorales later attempted to back out of his reference to "probably" fixing promotions. Green scoffed at testimony by DeMorales that he was confused by Green.
Carvalho testified he was only a "loyal soldier" conveying Paul's wishes and never ordered DeMorales to help people cheat.
Green scoffed at him too, saying the jury has heard "lies and perjury" from the highest officers.
Paul took early retirement in 1988 during a controversy surrounding his reaction after learning that some officers, including DeMorales, were involved in a craps game.
After that, political pressure was applied to the new chief, Victor Vierra, to promote DeMorales to deputy, Green said.
DeMorales then persuaded Vierra to appoint DeMorales and some of his "clique" to a permanent promotion board, Green said.
One of the people DeMorales allegedly helped cheat in 1987 was William Perreira. DeMorales gave him a slip of paper listing questions to expect during the oral exam to become a captain.
Perreira testified he showed the paper to a series of officials over several years, but got no action until 1996, when the aggrieved officers filed a federal suit.
U.S. District Judge David Ezra threw the case out, but it was refiled in state court.
Wife of accused cop
blames ex-police chief
Demands of the job and inside dealsBy Rod Thompson
nearly ruined their lives, she says
HILO -- During nearly three decades with the Hawaii County Police Department, Francis DeMorales spent so much time working for the department and for the police union -- the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers -- that his wife tried to divorce him, she says.
As he rose in rank, he also had to do things he disliked, such as support political candidates, Paula DeMorales testified yesterday.
"He did things he didn't think were right because he had to," she said. "In a quasi-military organization you follow orders or you pay the price."
When 19 officers filed suit against DeMorales for alleged promotional cheating, it made the family's life hell, and DeMorales turned to heavy drinking, which destroyed his health, she said.
She blamed it on former Chief Guy A. Paul, who had started the process of influencing promotion boards by sending word to DeMorales ahead of time naming the people he wanted promoted.
"Guy Paul has made my life a living hell," she said, looking directly at Paul, who is a defendant in the case. Circuit Judge Riki May Amano ordered the testimony stricken.
After Paul retired, the new chief, Victor Vierra, made DeMorales deputy chief.
In 1994, Mayor Stephen Yamashiro offered to get rid of Vierra and make DeMorales chief, Paula DeMorales said.
Her husband refused, she said.