Pauline trial indicates
picture may be clouded
The defense in the Ireland caseBy Rod Thompson
hints that deciding the suspect's
fate may be hard
HILO -- Jurors should not expect to get a complete, unclouded picture of the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Big Island newcomer Dana Ireland as the trial of Frank Pauline Jr. begins tomorrow, Deputy Prosecutor Charlene Iboshi indicates.
Defense attorney Clifford Hunt also seemed to hint that deciding Pauline's fate could be difficult.
Pauline, 26, is accused of participating in the Christmas Eve, 1991 attack in which Ireland, 23, was allegedly run over, beaten, raped and left to bleed to death in a remote area south of Hilo.
The apparent hints to jurors came in the form of questions to them during final jury selection yesterday.
Apparently because of a detailed pre-selection process in April, the selection proceeded quickly and is expected to finish today followed by the opening of the trial tomorrow.
Lawyers typically ask prospective jurors questions to learn their viewpoints and to plant ideas in their heads.
Iboshi asked jurors a hypothetical question. Would they be satisfied if someone gave them enough pieces of a picture to know it showed the Statute of Liberty, even though not all of the pieces were there?
Most answered yes, but one woman answered that the missing pieces might suggest an entirely different picture. Iboshi soon used a "peremptory challenge" procedure to eliminate the woman from the jury.
Behind words like Statue of Liberty is a problem facing the prosecution. Sheets where Ireland lay were stained with semen apparently belonging to one of the attackers. But the DNA in the semen didn't match any of the publicly identified suspects, and prosecutors have given no hint that they have any idea who it belongs to.
Defense attorney Hunt also has a big problem. Pauline confessed to police and even to news media several times before denying his confessions. Hunt asked prospective jurors what was the biggest problem they ever faced.
Meanwhile, Hunt has asked Judge Riki May Amano to keep jurors from learning certain information about Pauline such as his long criminal history.
In preparation for a hearing on the requests today, Deputy Prosecutor Lincoln Ashida filed a response to Hunt. The criminal history can be kept out, except in an unusual circumstance, but information about Pauline's "bad acts" should come in, Ashida said.
That especially includes Pauline's use of drugs, he said.
"One of the central themes of the prosecution in this case is the fact defendant and his accomplices were ingesting intoxicating compounds during this festive time of year (Christmas) and committed these crimes while on a "rush,' " Ashida wrote.
Ashida agreed with Hunt's request that the jury shouldn't be told about crimes for which Pauline was already in jail when he confessed in 1994. But Pauline gave a television interview wearing prison clothing, and no attempt should be made to hide the clothing from jurors, he wrote.
Dana Ireland Archive