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State briefs for May 16

Ex-death row inmate wants to be tried by judge

HONOLULU — A former death row inmate from Delaware now facing sex trafficking charges in Hawaii wants a trial before a judge and not a jury.

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Isaiah McCoy made the request Tuesday after the judge said he didn’t present sufficient evidence to dismiss his case.

The judge didn’t immediately rule on his request for a bench trial. McCoy is representing himself, and says he considered using an insanity defense.

McCoy was sentenced to death after a jury found him guilty of murder in Delaware. He was later released from prison after a judge found him not guilty at a retrial.

Less than a year after his release, he was charged with seven counts of sex trafficking. Prosecutors allege he forced, threatened and coerced young women into prostitution in Hawaii.

Japan’s prince and princess to visit Hawaii

HONOLULU — The Japanese government announced Prince Fumihito, the second son of Japan’s Emperor Akihito, and his wife, Princess Kiko, will visit Hawaii for the first time next month.

The royal couple are expected to visit Oahu from June 4-8.

Deputy Consul General of the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu, Takayuki Shinozawa, said the visit is to build connections with Japanese abroad.

The couple will visit sites on Oahu but will not travel to neighbor islands.

The announcement came shortly after a media briefing Monday for the upcoming commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants moving to Hawaii.

Caldwell says rentable electric scooters not legal

HONOLULU — The rentable electric scooters that popped up throughout Honolulu are not legal, city officials said.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell sent a letter to the company called Lime last week, telling it not to deploy the scooter-sharing program.

But the company on Friday rolled out the scooters anyway.

Riders unlock the scooters using a smartphone app and then leave them wherever. The scooters aren’t tied to docks or charging stations.

Caldwell said there already were problems with the scooters being left throughout the city.

Police officers in Waikiki have been picking up abandoned scooters as lost property and storing them until an owner claims them.

The concept is so new that city officials say they weren’t ready for the program. But Lime disputes that it wasn’t authorized to roll out the scooters, saying it worked closely with officials during the past several months to design the program.

On Monday, Lime issued an appeal to residents to support the operation so the company can continue operating.

Company officials said they think the launch of their pilot program is permitted, as long as it’s safe and consistent with city ordinances.

The company said people have already taken more than 1,400 rides in Honolulu.

20 AGs back lawsuits by family planning groups

LOS ANGELES — Twenty attorneys general are challenging Trump administration rule changes they say will reduce access to family planning services.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Tuesday that the president is playing politics with patients by changing rules that would shift federal family planning funds toward organizations that stress abstinence.

The AGs filed a brief supporting lawsuits filed in Washington two weeks ago by Planned Parenthood groups in Wisconsin, Ohio and Utah, and the National Family Planning &Reproductive Health Association.

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The lawsuits target proposed rule changes for about $260 million in family planning funds.

The supporting brief was also signed by AGs in Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia.