State briefs for July 12

Attorney, convicted ex-prosecutor part ways

HONOLULU (AP) — A former prosecutor convicted of conspiracy in what’s been described as Hawaii’s biggest corruption case said she should get a new trial because her defense attorney was ineffective.

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A lawyer representing ex-Honolulu deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha filed a motion Thursday saying her former attorney, Cynthia Kagiwada, is inexperienced. Kagiwada’s failings included not properly preparing witnesses, the motion said.

Kagwiada declined to comment.

Shortly before the motion was filed, a judge granted Kagiwada’s request to withdraw as Kealoha’s attorney, citing a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship.

Kealoha was convicted last month along with her retired police chief husband Louis Kealoha in a plot to frame her uncle. Katherine Kealoha was taken into federal custody because of concerns she would try to obstruct justice if allowed to remain free on bond before she’s sentenced.

She walked into court Thursday wearing a beige inmate’s jumpsuit and shackles around her ankles. She waved and smiled at her husband. “Very chic,” her attorney, Earle Partington, joked.

Kealoha said she doesn’t object to Kagiwada’s withdrawal request.

U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright heard from Kagiwada and Kealoha behind closed doors Thursday before granting the request. Kagiwada will no longer represent Kealoha for other trials she faces — one for bank fraud and identity theft with her husband and another with her pain physician brother for drug-dealing charges.

Runaway brush fire on Maui prompts order to evacuate

WAILUKU, Maui (AP) — Hawaii emergency officials ordered an evacuation on Maui due to a runaway brush fire.

Access in and out of Kihei on Maui was blocked as of 3:15 p.m. Thursday. Officials say the fire started along Kuihelani Highway Thursday morning.

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A Maui County official says an evacuation was ordered around 3 p.m. and a notice was sent to the cellphones of residents north of Ohukai Road and Maalaea.

The official says shelters were set to open at 3:30 p.m. at the War Memorial Gym.

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