Last month the Maui County Liquor Control Board of Adjudication found that Club Starlite in Wailuku was guilty of three counts related to LC investigators finding manager Hannah Bridgette Yun drunk and asleep on a couch in her own establishment. That the board was able to make such a determination is testament to its incredibly lenient definition of the word “evidence.”
Before I get to the inherent weaknesses in the prosecution’s case—where the burden of proof lies in any American courtroom—I have to point out that Yun put on a cartoonishly bad performance on the stand. Walking to and from the witness lectern in high heels with absolutely no problem, Yun testified repeatedly that the reason LC investigators found her stumbling the five or so feet from the Club Starlite couch to the restroom was because she can’t keep her balance when wearing heels. She also said she only consumed one whiskey and water on the night in question, and had no explanation as to why her own bartender told investigators she served Yun four such drinks.
All that came out in cross examination, meaning Yun could have chosen not to testify on her own behalf. Considering the weaknesses in Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Angela Hedge’s case, that should have been her strategy.
Hedge had just one witness: LC investigator Pedro Gapero. He testified that Yun appeared to be drunk—bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, difficulty walking—but never took any kind of blood alcohol test. Though Gapero testified that he’d been in Club Starlite many times, he had difficulty answering defense attorney Lawrence Ing’s questions about the placement of the booths and karaoke machine.
When Hedge was done, Ing asked the board to dismiss the case on the grounds that Hedge simply hadn’t proved her case. Board member Lance Collins agreed, but was outvoted by the rest of the board, which eventually found Starlite guilty and fined them $3,000.