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Judge maintains bail at $500,000 in attempted murder case

May 8, 2014 - 12:05am

The attorney for a man accused of attempted murder began laying the foundation for a self-defense argument during a Wednesday bail hearing.

William Harrison told 3rd Circuit Court Judge Ronald Ibarra the man Joel White allegedly stabbed, Jeremy Nicholas, invited White into the Waikoloa home that was the scene of the April stabbing.

“They sat together watching videos” for several hours in the room Nicholas rented in the home, Harrison said. “A fight broke out. Mr. Nicholas told my client he was going to kill him.”

White is accused of stabbing Nicholas eight times, including once in the throat. He was charged last month with second-degree attempted murder and first-degree burglary.

Harrison was arguing for Ibarra to reduce White’s bail from $500,000, a figure Harrison said was effectively a “no bail” order because it was too high for White to afford. Harrison said even White’s initial bail, $275,000, was too high, and asked Ibarra to set bail at a lower amount and allow for electronic monitoring of White.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michael Schlueter’s motion to revoke any bail was the impetus for Wednesday’s hearing. Schlueter said that because of the seriousness of the alleged crimes, White’s recent history of drug use and White not having a “stable” address, it would serve the interests of the state to have White held in custody until his case was concluded.

Harrison said White owned a house for six years, moving recently after a divorce and to be closer to his job. Following that move, he was in a short-term rental, Harrison said. Further, White’s mother was willing to let him move in with her, if the court was concerned about his residence.

“The bottom line, he is not a danger,” Harrison said. “We can put him on an ankle monitor. We’ve got a stable home for him.”

The state Supreme Court has also previously ruled that bail should not be set so high that is “in effect no bail,” Harrison said.

“What the Supreme Court (said is) not (to) have a man shoulder a sentence for an unproved crime,” he added.

Ibarra said two other judges — one at a probable cause hearing and one a few days later at White’s arraignment — agreed with the Intake Service Center’s bail study recommending $500,000 bail. He said he believed the people at the center were competent in completing the report, and he wasn’t going to second-guess the other judges. Ibarra acknowledged that $500,000 created a financial hardship for White and his family.

As far as holding White without bail at all, Ibarra said he didn’t see evidence supporting that request.

“There is no evidence as far as the defendant will pose a danger to another individual in the community,” Ibarra said. “It has been argued, but there has been no evidence.”