It isn’t often a Maui County Liquor Control Board of Adjudication member publicly accuses his colleagues of “denying due process” to an establishment appearing before the board, but that’s exactly what happened during the Aug. 4, 2005 hearing.
The establishment was Lahaina’s Sly Mongoose—pleading not guilty to three counts related to serving a customer who was already allegedly drunk. The member was rookie Lance Collins, an attorney who’s fast making a name for himself as the most intelligent and fair Adjudication Board member.
Almost as soon as the meeting began, LC Director Franklyn Silva told the board that the prosecution wanted the case continued for a month because its sole witness—LC Officer Harry Matsuura—was unable to attend due to an injury. After questioning from Collins, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Scott Hanano admitted that his office knew Matsuura probably wouldn’t be able to testify a few days before the board agenda was printed, but said nothing.
Hanano, who was filling in for Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Angela Hedge, was clearly nervous. His voice cracked on numerous occasions; once he actually raised his hand to vote during one motion when Board Chairman Shigeto “Mustard” Murayama called for a show of hands from the board.
In any case, Collins was disturbed that Hanano and the LC were so cavalier about asking for more time. He explained to Sly Mongoose owner Hana Rawlings, appearing without legal counsel, that she had every right to object to the board giving the prosecutor more time.
She objected, but the Adjudication Board chose to ignore her and voted to give the prosecutor’s office another month to prepare.
“I strongly object to a continuance,” Collins told his colleagues. He explained that two months earlier the board had rightfully denied a continuance request from the attorney for Idini’s in Wailuku that was made after the board agenda had been posted. Collins said approving a continuance now was giving “preferential treatment” to the county prosecutor’s office and “denying due process” to the Sly Mongoose.
“I’d like to put on the record that this is highly irregular,” Collins said when it when it was clear the rest of the board was going to ignore his pleas. Murayama noted Collins’ objection, denied they were depriving anyone due process, then voted with the rest of the board to give the prosecutor’s office more time.