Trial begins for first person to be charged under Kaulana's Law
Trial for the first person to be charged under "Kaulana's Law" started on Tuesday.
That man is 39-year-old Jeremy Lee. Only KITV4 was there as Lee appeared before Judge Karen Nakasone, who is presiding over his bench trial. Lee pleaded guilty to negligent homicide for the death 76-year-old Eugene Chin. Prosecutors say Lee was speeding down Farrington Highway in Mokuleia last September when he veered off the road, hit Chin and then left the scene.
Under Kaulana's Law, judges can double sentences for negligent homicide and hit and run cases. In Lee's case, there is no jury. Instead, Judge Nakasone will hear testimony from witnesses and then make a decision.
"It's not a matter in this case of whether or not the defendant committed the crime or fled the scene. He already plead guilty to that before this court," the prosecution said during opening statements. "The only question for this court is whether or not the defendant is a danger to the community. Based upon the testimony from witnesses the state will present and other evidence, the court will find beyond a reasonable doubt that he is a danger to the community."
Chin's family was in the courtroom as several witnesses took the stand on Tuesday morning. The bench trial is expected to last through Friday.