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State briefs for November 14

Sex trafficking case dropped

HONOLULU — Sex trafficking charges were dismissed Tuesday against a former death row inmate from Delaware.

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U.S. prosecutors dropped a 10-count indictment against Isaiah McCoy, who represented himself in the case. A judge approved the dismissal, and McCoy walked out of court after being detained without bail in the Honolulu Federal Detention Center since January.

Prosecutors moved to dismiss the case because of information they “became aware of in the past several days,” said a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office in Hawaii.

The release didn’t elaborate on why the office dropped the indictment.

McCoy was sentenced to death after a jury found him guilty of murder in Delaware. A judge found him not guilty at a retrial.

Less than a year after his release from death row, he was arrested and charged with sex trafficking. Prosecutors say he forced, threatened and coerced young women into prostitution in Hawaii.

Fishermen in shark fin case to be released

HONOLULU — A U.S. judge is allowing 10 Indonesian fishermen arrested in Hawaii to be released while a case accusing them of trying to smuggle sharks fins is pending.

According to court documents, they were working on a Japanese boat and headed home via Honolulu when airport security workers found shark fins in their luggage.

Court documents say there were at least 962 shark fins in 13 pieces of luggage. Authorities say some were from protected oceanic whitetip sharks.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang says the fishermen can’t leave Oahu without court permission and must stay out of trouble.

They were expected to be released from custody Tuesday and taken to a Honolulu hotel. Chang says they’re not allowed to discuss the case with each other.

It’s against U.S. law to engage in international trade of a protected species without a permit. It’s also illegal to possess, sell or distribute shark fins in Hawaii, which was the first state in the nation to ban the pricey delicacy often used in Chinese soups.

Biki announces expansion

HONOLULU — More than 100,000 rides were taken last month through Honolulu’s self-service bicycle rental platform, marking a record number of rides in single month, the operator said.

Bikeshare Hawaii, the manager of Biki, is planning to add 300 more bikes and about 30 more rental stations by the end of the year.

Biki launched in June 2017, offering about 1,000 rental bikes at 100 stations throughout urban Honolulu. Biki has since recorded more than 1 million rides.

The ridership last month increased by 62 percent compared to October 2017.

The service began with funding and support from the city, state and public institutions. The expansion will be supported by funding from the federal Transportation Alternative Program.

Biki plans to reach more neighborhoods, including Iwilei, Makiki and Waikiki, as well as better equip the city’s urban core, Bikeshare Hawaii said. The proposed locations for the expansion were shared late last year, and community feedback has informed the selected locations, it said.

Maui council to have first female majority

WAILUKU, Maui — Six women are entering Maui’s governing body, forming a female majority on the council for the first time.

Women ran for eight of the nine seats on the Maui County Council this year and were elected to six.

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Natalie “Tasha” Kama, Alice Lee, Yuki Lei Sugimura, Kelly King, Tamara Paltin and Keani Rawlins-Fernandez are set to take charge of the council Jan. 2.

The council has never had more than four women at any one time. Before the council was created in 1969, a board of supervisors oversaw Maui since 1904.