LIHU‘E — Anahola man Vicente Hilario opted in October to represent himself in his second trial for the 2010 killing of state witness Aureo Moore.
At the time, jury selection was set to begin in early November.
A month later, the trial appears to be a much longer way off, as complications with Hilario’s self-representation have stalled the legal process.
Hilario appeared at the Lihu‘e Courthouse before Circuit Court Chief Judge Randal Valenciano on Monday, where the judge reiterated the determination that the defendant must be provided all discovery (information about the witnesses and evidence to be presented at trial) and be granted “meaningful time” to review it before the trial can begin.
Since Hilario is representing himself, the prosecution has to go through a long process of redacting the evidence before presenting it to him. After a month of work, Deputy Prosecutor Todd Dickinson reported Monday that the redaction of the discovery was only 40 percent complete.
Hilario objected to the delays, continuing his recent push for a quicker trial.
“I don’t need any time because, as I’ve stated before, I’m prepared because I was in possession of these materials in the past,” said Hilario.
Valenciano and Hilario clashed when the defendant announced that he planned to use court funds to hire two unlicensed citizens as private investigators in the case.
“I’m not going to hire some random citizen and pay that person as an investigator,” said Valenciano. “I don’t know the people you’re referring to. I don’t know who they are. Their names are unfamiliar to the court.”
“Right,” said Hilario. “And I thought (it) would be a credit to them, that they’re not in the judicial system.”
“We entrust regular citizens to be judges of fact in criminal trials,” he continued. “So I’m not sure why they wouldn’t be capable of timing a walk or taking a photograph.”
Valenciano maintained his position that the court would not pay for unlicensed private investigators and recommended that Hilario reach out to an investigator that had previously done work on the case, or approach a licensed investigator.
“We’re going in circles and I don’t want to start the Monday off this way,” said Valenciano.
Hilario described the challenges in finding an investigator to be “just another hurdle,” that was difficult to overcome due to his current incarceration at the Kaua‘i Community Correctional Facility.
This is Hilario’s second shot at a trial.
In March 2013, Hilario was convicted of murder in the first degree, retaliating against a witness, intimidating a witness, and bribery of a witness for the killing of Moore, for which he was later sentenced to life in prison.
Prosecutors alleged Hilario bribed a woman with pills to arrange a meeting with Moore at Anahola Beach Park, where he shot him six times.
Moore was set to testify against Hilario and another man in a stick-up drug robbery that took place in the parking lot of the Safeway supermarket in Kapa‘a earlier that year.
Hilario has maintained his innocence, testifying that a friend killed Moore without his knowledge or consent.
Hilario’s conviction was remanded for a new trial in 2017 when an Intermediate Court of Appeals ruled that his right to meaningfully participate in his defense was impeded because his request to approach the bench during jury selection of his original trial had been denied.
After two lawyers dropped the case this year citing “(breakdowns) in attorney-client relationship,” Hilario began serving as his own attorney on Oct. 21.
He is next scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 5.
Source: The Garden Island
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