Judge delays motion to dismiss animal cruelty case

LIHU‘E a The judge will need more time to review supplemental arguments before deciding on a dismissal motion in the 16-count misdemeanor case of animal cruelty against Lara Butler-Brady.

Chief Judge Randal Valenciano of the 5th Circuit Court on Thursday said that having just received a memorandum, the court was not ready to hear oral arguments on the dismissal motion. He set a hearing for decision on the motion for May 3.

Defense counsel Craig De Costa presented the motion to dismiss the case on April 16, claiming the state has violated Butler-Brady’s right to a speedy trial.

Sheri Lawson was present as a Special Deputy Attorney General. She had argued that past continuances should be excluded and not charged to the state.

Neither attorney made arguments on Thursday, but held a lengthy bench conference with the judge prior to the continuance. The case is set for jury trial May 29, with Valenciano presiding.

Lawson is the Hawai‘i County Prosecutor appointed to replace Kaua‘i County Prosecuting Attorney’s office after the court granted its motion in March to recuse itself for a potential conflict of interest.

Butler-Brady is charged with 16 counts of cruelty to animals in a 2010 case involving horses on the 165-acre Keapana Horsemanship riding stable in Hanama‘ulu. The horses were declared emaciated by the Humane Society after complaints were filed and Butler-Brady was indicted on July 13, 2010.

The horses remain in protective custody and are maintained by the Kaua‘i Humane Society at its Puhi shelter and through some privately owned land. If found guilty, Butler-Brady faces a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

• Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or tlaventure@thegardenisland.com.

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