Charges against Libre-Palacio dropped

  • Courtesy Kauai Police Department

    Kaleb Libre Palacio

LIHUE — A judge threw out a case against a Waimea man after prosecutors tried to arraign him nearly two years after he allegedly broke into a woman’s home.

“It took them about 16 months to arrest my client,” Kaleb Libre-Palacio’s court-appointed attorney Melinda Mendes told a judge during a court hearing Monday, arguing that prosecutors were responsible for pursuing the case in a timely manner, “and they failed miserably at that.”

Charges against Libre-Palacio, 23, stem from an incident on Sept. 14, 2017, when he was arrested for “unauthorized entry into a dwelling,” according to Kauai Police Department arrest logs.

Libre-Palacio was released pending investigation, and court documents do not show any record of his detention or pretrial proceedings in the case until three months later, in December of that year, when prosecutors filed charges in court.

A warrant was issued for his arrest, but for almost a year and a half, the case was all but forgotten. Then, a few months ago, Libre-Palacio once again ran into police.

The arrest wasn’t even made by officers looking to serve the outstanding warrant, according to Mendes, who said her client was picked up when police stopped him while he was walking on the street and asked for identification.

Once they called dispatch to check Libre-Palacio’s record, police saw the warrant for his arrest and booked him, Mendes explained to Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe.

It had been 19 months since the alleged break-in, a period of time Mendes successfully argued was unreasonable and prejudicial toward Libre-Palacio, causing him to suffer “high anxiety and concern over this case” and depriving him of the right to an adequate legal defense because the charges were based on an incident he could no longer remember the details of.

“There were absolutely no verified attempts to serve the bench warrant,” Mendes wrote in a motion to dismiss the months-old case. “The state’s interests in prosecuting a case in which it took about 16 months to serve a bench warrant are far outweighed by fundamental fairness to the defendant and the orderly functioning of our courts.”

Watanabe ordered the case dismissed with prejudice, meaning prosecutors are barred from filing new charges related to the allegations.

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Caleb Loehrer, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or cloehrer@thegardenisland.com.

8 Comments
  1. JAMES July 11, 2019 6:57 am Reply

    What? I think we deserve some sort of explanation from the KPD and prosecutor’s office about their lack of action on this case. Why didn’t they do anything for 18 months? Sounds like really shoddy work on their parts to me.


  2. CommonSenseish July 11, 2019 7:16 am Reply

    But it took cops on the mainland 30 seconds to find a random woman who licked an ice cream container in WalMart. Who cares about the real criminals anyways?

    —It had been 19 months since the alleged break-in, a period of time Mendes successfully argued was unreasonable and prejudicial toward Libre-Palacio, causing him to suffer “high anxiety and concern over this case”—

    ARE YOU SERIOUS! Maybe if you didn’t break into someones home and get caught you wouldn’t have to worry about going to jail? There will be a next time. Unfortunately if it’s on this island that really means nothing. The police dept and judicial system on this island are a joke. Judge Judy couldn’t roll her eyes hard enough at this if she tried.


    1. Rhonda July 12, 2019 8:43 am Reply

      His attorney did a great job in representing him. As for the prosecuting office that’s what you get for trying to bring him back in court when charges were originally dropped at the first court hearing in 2017.


  3. Joe Public July 11, 2019 8:54 am Reply

    OPA and KPD failed miserably on this case, feel for the victim.


  4. Must Be July 11, 2019 2:17 pm Reply

    Must be nice having fun not doing their jobs at the Prosecuting attorneys office. Karma for being part of the corrupt judicial system on Kauai.

    Did you all receive 2 raises in one year? And is the office attracting the best and most qualified candidates for the job positions?

    Time to clean house in the PA office. Vote Kollar out and get rid of the freshmen team that they have.

    I can tell you that them jokers are the problem for like the last 20 cases that’s gone wrong at that office. Must be like Oahu and watching Netflix for 8 hours and it would be 8 1/2 if they didn’t have a lunch break.

    Wait there’s no lunch break law in Hawaii so they might as well not get a lunch break and watch Netflix for 8 1/2 hours and at the end of the fiscal year demand 10-15% raises every 6 months like they did they got this past year.

    Yeah the county got two (2) 10-15% pay raises in one year. Fact check.

    The Drug Nuance Abatement Unit (DNAU) is the biggest joke there since POHAKU and hiring an outside investigator to locate Aurero Moore when there was a clear conflict of interest and every knows it.


  5. Khsgrad July 12, 2019 6:01 am Reply

    Why is it that everyone has so much to say about 1 case that slipped through the cracks? Our jail is FULL- thank you Justin Kollar!!! Why do we focus on the native instead of the many successes of the office? Thankful that the previous PA and her “above-the-law” attitude is out of there!!


  6. manongindashadow0711 July 12, 2019 3:54 pm Reply

    If that was “high anxiety” in that mug hot. Boy, it could have fool me. So what if time lapsed. A crime was committed.
    Now he goes free, “laughing”.


  7. Joe Public July 15, 2019 10:06 am Reply

    You must live a sheltered life…Justin sucks at his job his and his track record is nothing to be proud of as he pleads cases down to avoid trial or say that there isn’t enough to go to trial, point in case is the Officer Loo case that the AG’s office took, and won.

    Justin needs to go.


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