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Wednesday, August 22, 2001



art
KEN SAKAMOTO / KSAKAMOTO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Clyde Arakawa wants his trial moved, possibly
to Oregon where he now lives.



Arakawa seeking
change of venue

Pretrial publicity has ‘poisoned’
the jury pool, his lawyer says


By Debra Barayuga
dbarayuga@starbulletin.com

Retired police officer Clyde Arakawa is asking that he go on trial in another jurisdiction because of the "extensive, inflammatory pretrial publicity" surrounding his criminal case.

A hearing on his request will be held tomorrow before Circuit Judge Karen Ahn. Ahn will also consider Arakawa's request to postpone the trial to a later date to give him more time to prepare his defense.

Arakawa was on vacation and a month shy of retirement after 25 years with the Honolulu Police Department when his car collided with another car at Pali Highway and Iolani Avenue last October, killing the other driver, 19-year-old Dana Ambrose.

He faces trial for manslaughter, recklessly causing Ambrose's death while intoxicated.

Arakawa's attorney, Michael Ostendorp said publicity about his client's case has been "detrimental" and has "poisoned" the jury pool.

"He cannot get a fair trial here," Ostendorp said.

Ostendorp, in his motion, points to news reports asserting Arakawa was the cause of the accident, public comments by city Prosecutor Peter Carlisle interpreted as asserting Arakawa's guilt and public sentiment that show overwhelming bias against his client.

Arakawa contends he had the green light and was not speeding at the time. He also contends the city is liable for failing to properly maintain the traffic light.

Ostendorp said he will ask that the trial be held possibly in Oregon, where Arakawa has moved since the incident.

The trial had been scheduled for Sept. 17, but Ostendorp will ask that it be postponed. The state opposes any delay.

Ostendorp sought the delay because Arakawa has exhausted all his financial resources and can no longer pay for his defense and attorney's fees.

Ostendorp, at a hearing last month, had asked that Arakawa be represented by the Public Defender's Office but was denied.

The Public Defender's Office also said it did not consider Arakawa indigent based on the funds he had available at the start of his defense.

The state had opposed the request, saying taxpayers should not be forced to pay for Arakawa's defense and it was his attorney's problem for being "fiscally irresponsible."

Ostendorp has indicated that to prepare for Arakawa's defense, he needs to hire and pay for experts who can testify on accident reconstruction and the effects of alcohol.

Sixty-thousand dollars have already been spent on legal fees. The defense anticipates at least $54,000 for expert fees and in excess of $30,000 for legal fees.



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