Monday, June 27, 2022|
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IAN LEE LOY
Criminal charges against a retired Hilo police detective won’t be heard by a Hilo judge.
Both Hilo Circuit judges, Henry Nakamoto and Peter Kubota, filed certificates of recusal for a pair of cases in which the defendant is 56-year-old Ian Lee Loy, the husband of County Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy of Hilo.
In disqualifying themselves from the cases, the two Hilo judges cited the state’s Revised Code of Judicial Conduct, Rule 2.11(a), which states “a judge should disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”
The cases are now assigned to Kona Circuit Judge Robert Kim. A clerk in Kim’s chambers said he will hear the cases and that a hearing was conducted Monday, but she didn’t know what occurred.
Minutes of the hearing weren’t immediately available.
Ian Lee Loy is charged with second-degree assault for allegedly attacking Neal Tanaka, the acting deputy chief of the county Department of Public Works Building Division, on July 25, 2019, at the Hilo Lagoon Center.
The then-detective is alleged to have struck Tanaka on the right side of his face with an open hand. A certified physician assistant at Aloha Kona Urgent Care documented “a perforation of Tanaka’s right tympanic membrane, resulting in rupture of about 1/4 (to) 1/3 of the ear drum,” and noted that “long term hearing impairment” could result from the injury.
Lee Loy, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, a Class C felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment upon conviction, retired July 31, less than a week after the incident. The former detective and the councilwoman have said, however, his retirement was being contemplated as early as last spring.
Trial had been scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 3 before Kubota, and Lee Loy is free on $1,000 bail in that case.
The other case is a misdemeanor domestic abuse charge for an alleged attack May 25, Memorial Day. According to documents, the complainant is Sue Lee Loy, who is seeking a third term on the council.
According to police spokesman Alan Richmond, Ian Lee Loy allegedly “threw (an) object and caused bleeding on hip and left arm” of his 50-year-old wife. Richmond said the alleged domestic altercation took place in the couple’s Panaewa home.
Ian Lee Loy also pleaded not guilty to the abuse charge and requested a jury trial. He’s free on $1,000 bail in that case, as well.
Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth has, in his words, “conflicted out” in both of the retired cop’s cases, and the Kauai County prosecutor’s office will handle both cases.
Ian Lee Loy told Big Island newspapers in December, prior to being charged, that a possible reason for the assault allegation against him was his involvement as a witness in a case involving two other police officers indicted for allegedly tipping off a gambling ring prior to a police raid Aug. 10, 2017.
“Allegations of misconduct on my part and dragging Sue into it began to surface,” he said at the time. “These guys are trying to discredit me before I testify.”
The officers Lee Loy referred to are Chadwick Fukui, a retired Hawaii Police Department captain and former commander of the Hilo Criminal Investigation Division, and Brian Miller, a retired Hilo Vice Section detective.
Fukui and Miller were charged in separate indictments by a Kona grand jury with tipping off Triple 7 arcade owners Lance and Stacey Yamada prior to the raid.
Charges against Fukui, all misdemeanors, were dismissed without prejudice in December after Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura, since retired, ruled Fukui’s cellphone call records, obtained by an administrative subpoena, were inadmissible as evidence as “the constitutional requirement of obtaining a warrant for telephone records applied.”
Those charges were refiled by Roth in February, however, and Kubota and Hilo District Judge Kanani Laubach recused themselves from hearing the case, which is scheduled for a hearing at 1:30 p.m. today in Hilo District Court.
Miller still faces similar charges in connection with the gambling raid, as well as unrelated felony charges in connection with the alleged theft of cocaine from a police evidence locker in May 2016.
Kubota also recused himself in Miller’s case, as well as in the cases against both Yamadas, and co-defendants David Colon and Ivar Kaluhikaua, all of whom are facing misdemeanor gambling-related charges in connection with the 2017 raid.
Email John Burnett at email@example.com.
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