Drug case nearly dismissed because of officer availability now set for trial

  • Jose Miranda

KAILUA-KONA — Trial is now set for January in a 2017 drug case that was nearly dismissed earlier this year because of the unavailability of a police witness.

Jose H. Miranda is set to go on trial Jan. 20, 2020, on nine counts of first-degree promoting a dangerous drug, all Class A felonies punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Trial was set to start Oct. 22, but Kona Circuit Judge Robert D.S. Kim set a new court date amid arguments about a motion to suppress all evidence related to Miranda in the case.

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Kim had yet to issue an order on the defense’s motion to suppress as of Tuesday.

Miranda was originally charged in December 2017 with 11 counts of first-degree promoting a dangerous drug.

The case came close to being dismissed when prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss all charges May 16 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, Kim allowed declarations from 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 request to dismiss the case.

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Miranda remains free in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Email Chelsea Jensen at cjensen@westhawaiitoday.com.

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