For a Maui County Prosecuting Attorney, there can’t be many cushier assignments than arguing cases before the Liquor Control Adjudication Board.
You only have to go to court one day a month, and you’re rarely there for more than five hours.
Most of the time licensees plead no contest so they can face reduced charges, which means you only need to make opening and closing statements and don’t need to concern yourself with questioning or cross-examining witnesses. Oh, and no contest pleas still end up as guilty verdicts so they get recorded as convictions on your record.
When you do have to face a licensee who’s pleading not guilty, a lot of times they lack the money to retain legal counsel. So they end up representing themselves, and that’s always going to be a poor match against your law degree and license.
Also, Adjudication Board “trials” aren’t really trials, since it’s not a criminal or even civil matter requiring a judge or jury. The Rules of Evidence don’t apply, so you can admit hearsay as evidence.
You don’t have to face a legal-savvy judge or a jury, but a panel of political appointees who are mostly retired and demonstrate little or no working knowledge of the liquor establishments and industry. As such, you get to make wide and sweeping generalizations like “The licensee is responsible for everyone in the premises,” after which the board members will slowly nod their heads in complete agreement.
For some reason, deputy Prosecuting Attorney Andrew Martin is giving all that up. After just six months prosecuting licensees at the LC, he said at the Apr. 6, 2006 hearing that he was moving on. His replacement, Jeffrey Temas, sat next to him during the hearing to get a feel for the place.
“So we’re probably not going to be losing any more cases,” Silva joked at the hearing, referring to Martin’s sole loss before the board—the Dec. 1, 2005 hearing in which the board acquitted Lahaina’s Moose McGillycuddy’s on three counts related to over-service.
Looking back, that joke was about the hardest thing Martin had to face.