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Dismissed jurors say most were leaning toward felony convictions

Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Wednesday, November 1, 1995, page A3

By Linda Hosek
Star Bulletin

Despite jury questions that appeared to favor sovereignty activist Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele, most jurors appeared to want to convict him of two felony charges, jurors said after they were dismissed.

But they also said that the 12 jurors in the controversial case could not have reached a verdict and that sovereignty concerns did not play a role in their deliberations.

"A couple jurors tried to bring up sovereignty, but it really didn't pertain to the case," said juror Kevin Watanabe, an Aina Haina auto detailer.

Jurors, who began deliberating Friday, quickly decided to acquit Kanahele, leader of the self-proclaimed Nation of Hawaii, and Gordon Kaaihue of the misdemeanor charge against them from the January 1994 incident.

The government charged them with interfering with a police officer trying to serve a warrant on fugitive Nathan Brown, who had evaded a 78-month sentence for tax fraud.

Juror Matthew Allard, a Makiki grocery store clerk, said he thought Kanahele and Kaaihue were not guilty because the officer serving the warrant didn't say that Brown was under arrest.

"Count one was definitely acquittal," Watanabe said.

But jurors split early on the felony charges against Kanahele and reached an impasse Monday afternoon after about a day of deliberations.

The government charged that Kanahele harbored Brown and interfered with deputy marshals trying to arrest him at Kanahele's Waimanalo home in March 1994.

Allard, who said he was leaning toward conviction of both counts, said that jurors appeared split 10 to 2, with most wanting to convict Kanahele of interfering with the marshals and 9 to 3 in favor of conviction for harboring Brown.

He said those who favored conviction tended to believe Kanahele had heard the marshals identity themselves because they were so close to him.

Kanahele's defense had been that he did not hear the marshals and was protecting his property from strangers.

Watanabe, who said he was leaning toward acquittal, said he was unaware of vote totals. He said more jurors appeared to favor conviction, but not a sound majority.

Neither Watanabe nor Allard knew about anyone who tampered with the jury or which juror raised the question.

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