Alleged stabber pleads not guilty


The state will be asking a 3rd Circuit Court judge to hold without bail a Waikoloa man charged with attempted murder.

Joel White, 35, appeared before Judge Elizabeth Strance on Monday morning, entering a not guilty plea to the second-degree attempted murder and first-degree burglary charges he faces following an April 17 incident in Waikoloa that sent another man to the hospital with a throat laceration.

The hearing was White’s first in Circuit Court. Strance scheduled a trial date for early September.

White’s attorney, Damir Kouliev, argued unsuccessfully to have White’s bail lowered from $500,000, claiming the high amount is essentially a denial of any bail.

“The purpose of bail is not to have a punitive effect,” Kouliev argued. “Mr. White’s liberty is compromised here. He has a litany of reasons (justifying release on bail).”

Kouliev said White is not a danger to society or a flight risk.

Strance denied the request, noting that a District Court judge had increased White’s bail from $275,000 during a preliminary hearing, and that another 3rd Circuit Court judge will hear the state’s motion to hold White without bail. Strance agreed to order an updated bail study, at least as it pertained to White’s housing situation. Kouliev said the first bail study indicated White was “couch surfing,” or moving from house to house without a permanent residence. White had been paying rent where he was staying, Kouliev said.

Strance denied Kouliev’s request that the bail study also be updated to include more information about White’s extended family.

The hearing on the state’s bail request is set for May 7.

Police arrested White at the scene of a stabbing in Waikoloa. The victim, a 20-year-old Waikoloa man, had been stabbed eight times. A police detective testified at last week’s preliminary hearing that he had not yet been able to interview the victim, but the victim’s father described the injuries, and statements the victim made about who had stabbed him.

Kouliev on Monday attempted to argue that he had not been able to have a “meaningful” cross examination of the detective, because so much of the testimony was hearsay, coming to the detective in a second-hand, or even third-hand, manner.

Strance told Kouliev she did not have a transcript of the hearing in evidence and that she would not second-guess the District Court judge’s ruling on bail, especially with another hearing set for next week on the same matter.

Email Erin Miller at emiller@westhawaiitoday.com.

 

Rules for posting comments