KAILUA-KONA — Trial is now set for January for a 2017 drug case that was nearly dismissed earlier this year due to the unavailability of a police witness.
Jose H. Miranda is now set to go on trial Jan. 20 on nine counts of first-degree promoting a dangerous drug, all Class A felonies punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Trial had been set to commence Oct. 22, however, Judge Robert D.S. Kim set a new court date on Sept. 30 amid arguments over a motion to suppress all evidence related to Miranda in the case.
Kim had yet to issue an order on the defense’s motion to suppress as of Tuesday. Prosecutors and counsel for Miranda have submitted proposed findings of facts and conclusions of law as required by the court.
On Tuesday, Kim granted an order to allow Miranda to travel to the mainland for an undisclosed medical procedure slated today at the University of California Los Angeles.
Miranda was charged in December 2017 with 11 counts of first-degree promoting a dangerous drug; two counts were subsequently dropped.
However, the case came close to being dismissed when prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss all charges on May 16 due to the unavailability of a witness, a now-retired police officer who was on leave without pay and unable to testify due to 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 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, which Kim granted in August.
Miranda remains free in lieu of $100,000 bail pending trial.