news 1 week ago

Hawaii prosecutor ordered to stay away from lawyer he shoved

The Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii prosecutor must spend the next three years avoiding an attorney he shoved in the hallway of a courthouse, according to a judge's order.

The injunction prohibits Deputy Prosecutor Emlyn Higa from approaching or interacting with defense lawyer Myles Breiner, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.

Higa must avoid contacting, threatening or harassing Breiner for the three-year term of the injunction because of an altercation between the men.

Higa did not deny shoving Breiner in Honolulu's First Circuit Court building following a contentious hearing Sept. 18.

The order prohibits Higa from visiting Breiner's home or office, but it does not prevent Higa from handling criminal cases involving Breiner's clients.

"You could agree with me that it's totally unacceptable, particularly for a prosecutor, to be physically assaulting opposing counsel in the hallway at court. That is just not acceptable," said Honolulu District Judge Hilary Benson Gangnes.

Breiner also requested a ban on Higa appearing in the same courtroom. Gangnes said she could not fulfill the request because the courtroom is the judicial branch's workplace, not Breiner's place of business.

Gangnes ordered Higa to remain 5 feet (1.5 meters) from Breiner in court, following Higa's request to make the distance 2 feet (0.61 meters).

Higa was previously assigned to prosecute three cases involving Breiner's clients, but after pushing Breiner he transferred two cases to another deputy. The judge was puzzled why Higa remained on the case that led to him shoving Breiner.

"Honestly, I don't know why your boss isn't automatically yanking you off the case," she said.

Honolulu Prosecutor Dwight Nadamoto is not willing to bar Higa from the attempted murder case due to his experience in the area, Higa said.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com