Friday, December 10, 1999

Verdict in police
corruption case not
expected before Dec. 20

By Rod Thompson
Big Island correspondent


HILO -- The earliest a verdict will be known in a lawsuit involving alleged Big Island police corruption will be Dec. 20, according to a schedule approved by Circuit Judge Riki May Amano.

The case pits lower- and middle-ranking officers against their top leadership over allegedly rigged promotions.

After 5 days of deliberation, jurors still had not reached a verdict yesterday. No deliberations will be held today, and Amano will attend a national symposium on women offenders all next week in Washington, D.C., she said.

Jurors were not told she will be absent. They plan to continue deliberating next week.

But if they reach a verdict, each individual verdict form will be sealed until Amano returns.

The complicated case involves events from 1984 to 1994.

Nineteen current and former officers are alleging the cheating occurred under former Chief Guy A. Paul until 1988, and then continued under former Chief Victor Vierra from 1988 to 1994.

Paul told then-deputy and now-Chief Wayne Carvalho the names of officers he favored for promotion, according to testimony, and Carvalho passed the information to then-inspector Francis DeMorales.

DeMorales testified he then told the favored candidates questions and answers to expect during oral exams.

DeMorales testified he believed he was acting under orders. Carvalho denied giving such orders.

Paul was not sued by the 19 plaintiffs, but Carvalho and DeMorales sued him as a third-party defendant.

The defense argued that all of this was irrelevant, because Paul had the legal right to choose anyone he wanted from the top five applicants for a given job.

DeMorales testified he stopped helping favored applicants after Paul left the department in 1988 and was replaced by Vierra.

Although Carvalho also left the department between 1989 and 1994, the plaintiffs charge he continued to be part of the alleged conspiracy because he never formally repudiated it.

The plaintiffs are asking for $16 million in damages.

Jurors heard 7 weeks of testimony before starting deliberations last week.

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