Judge sets new trial date in drug case

  • LAURA RUMINSKI/West Hawaii Today After nearly 20 months, a trial date is set for Jose Miranda, who faces nine drug charges.

KEALAKEKUA — A judge is allowing a 2017 drug case to move forward after prosecutors withdrew their motion to dismiss the case.

Jose Miranda was charged in December 2017 with 11 counts of first-degree promoting a dangerous drug, Class A felonies punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Two counts were dropped, and after four continuances, trial was set to begin June 18.

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However, prosecutors on May 16 filed a motion to dismiss all charges because of the unavailability of a witness, a now-retired police officer who was on leave without pay and unable to testify because of identity protection provided by the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO).

After a series of motions and closed hearings, Kona Circuit Judge Robert D.S. Kim allowed declarations from Hawaii County Police Chief Paul Ferreira, Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth and Deputy Corporation Counsel Lerisa Heroldt regarding the nature of the officer’s unavailability to become public, therefore negating the prosecution’s need to dismiss the case.

On July 31, prosecutors withdrew their motion to dismiss.

“We’re ready to go to trial,” said Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Sheri Lawson.

Kim will hear arguments Sept. 5 on a defense motion to suppress all evidence related to Miranda.

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A jury trial was set for Oct. 22.

Email Laura Ruminski at lruminski@westhawaiitoday.com.

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