LIHU’E — A Kaua’i woman could face potential perjury charges after a Fifth Circuit Court judge ordered a mental evaluation last week in the Lihu‘e courthouse.
The judge questioned the mental stability of the defendant after she was questioned under oath by her attorney, Mark Zenger.
Jennifer Allen, who was interviewed by both Zenger and the prosecuting attorney, struggled to recall various details about the case, from which she took a plea bargain in September of 2019.
Allen stated, on the record, that she was clear-headed during her September 2019 hearing when she opted to take a plea bargain with her then-public-defender Stephanie Char.
During the examination, Allen suggested Char pressured her, and she even felt like she was “signing her future away” with the agreement. She even accused Char of unintentionally extorting her to sign the plea agreement.
Allen faced burglary charges in the second degree, theft exceeding $750, criminal trespass in the second degree and criminal property damages in cases dating back to 2018.
After listening to arguments from both the prosecutor and Zenger, the judge chose to suspend the case pending a mental evaluation to gain clarity on whether Allen is fit to proceed with the court hearing.
During the interrogation, while under oath, she had several lapses in understanding or recalling the trial, videotaped last September. Allen’s lack of recollection was eventually referred to as a “disc equilibrium,” in which she failed to recall various events of the last year’s hearing.
“I need to address the court with pen and paper,” Allen said during her deliberation. “It was an error to sign (the document).”
After hearing Allen’s testimony, the judge made the decision to suspend the case to have further reevaluation to ensure that she is fit to proceed with the trial.
If Allen is found to be fit and mentally sound by a psychologist, she could be facing an additional charge of perjury for allegedly lying under oath about her mental capacity and understanding of the events. The case will continue to the hearing scheduled for Nov. 24 if she is declared mentally fit for it.