Even Gabriel Sallard will admit he’s a lousy attorney. But that wasn’t the point.
On Apr. 6, Sallard—one of the owners of the Tiki Lounge in Kihei—appeared before the LC’s Board of Adjudication on two counts related to his club allegedly over-serving a 26-year-old girl back in July, 2005 (See “Tiki Lounge,” Mar. 30, 2006 for more on the case). Most licensees simply trade no contest pleas for lighter sentences, but Sallard chose to fight the matter. He also chose to represent himself.
Sallard said his reasoning for taking such an extraordinary step was financial. At most, considering it was his club’s first offense for over-service, Sallard faced $4,000 in fines—$2,000 for each count. An attorney could easily cost him much more.
“If I thought I was guilty, I would have pled no contest and been done with it,” Sallard said on the day of his trial. “But I honestly don’t think we did anything wrong.”
Indeed, the case preceding Sallard’s over-service matter dealt with a charge that Tiki Lounge violated the LC’s aisle congestion rules. To that, Sallard pled no contest, and received a $500 fine.
The trial took two and a half hours, and it was from the outset a hopeless mismatch. Sallard, who had no legal training, faced two deputy prosecuting attorneys—Andrew Martin, who was actually trying his last case before the LC, and his replacement, Jeffrey Temas. Though in a nice step, Sallard did ask that the board secretary read both charges out loud into the record—an act previous boards have all but openly discouraged.
Assuming that he would have an opportunity to cross-examine the girl in question, Sallard was stunned to see prosecutor Martin rely solely on LC Investigator David Olsten and his incident report. Stumbling through his own ill-prepared questioning of Olsten, Sallard then unsuccessfully asked the board for a continuance, saying he wanted more time to hire an attorney and subpoena both the girl—who Martin said was now off-island—and her friend who’d also been with her that night. When that died, he rested his case without calling any witnesses.
It took the board 25 minutes to find him guilty and sentence him to a $2,000 fine on each count, with $1,000 suspended on each if he can avoid another over-service conviction for a year.