Judge dismisses theft case for delay

LIHU‘E — Lori Lynn Nagamine got a big break Monday when Fifth Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe dismissed the state’s case against her for taking too long to bring it to trial.

Nagamine, 34, was charged with second-degree theft in a case that dates back 880 days to a July 2008 arrest, according to her attorney, Shauna Lee Cahill.

She said the key evidence, a laptop computer, was mislabeled and missing for most of that time, causing the delay in part.

According to the Hawai‘i Rules of Penal Procedure, Rule 48 is applied when a motion of the defendant calls to dismiss charges if a trial is not commenced within six months from the date of arrest or when bail was set.

County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Wendel Crutchfield said the state had no objection to dismissing the trial without prejudice, meaning that it would be possible to re-prosecute a new case in the future.

To dismiss with prejudice would mean the state could not bring up a new case.

Watanabe approved the defendant’s motion to dismiss the case for violation of Rule 48 based on the constitutional right to a speedy trial. She ordered the case discharged without prejudice and for any bail be returned or bonds released.

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