- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

HONOLULU (AP) - A state judge said she’ll rule within three weeks on a request by a Honolulu newspaper and a television station to unseal transcripts of closed proceedings when she declared a mistrial for a federal agent charged with murder.

Circuit Judge Karen Ahn said Monday she’ll rule within a 21-day deadline imposed by the state Supreme Court. But she won’t provide reasons for why she sealed them.

State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy is facing a retrial for the November 2011 shooting death of a man inside a Waikiki McDonald’s. Jurors weren’t able to reach a verdict last year.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (https://ow.ly/twcj7 ) and Hawaii News Now want the transcripts unsealed, and they want Ahn to be prohibited from closing court sessions without giving the public a chance to object. Other media organizations support the request.

The state Supreme Court sent the case back to Ahn last month for Monday’s hearing. The court ordered Ahn to issue a written ruling within 21 days of the hearing.

Ahn said she believed at the time that closing the proceedings was necessary. She said if she provides reasons for doing so, she would be disclosing matters from the sealed transcripts - an issue she said she’s having a hard time dealing with.

“I’m not sure what we’re supposed to be doing,” she said.

Jeffrey Portnoy, lawyer for the newspaper and the news station, said after the hearing the media should have been given a chance to argue against closing the hearings and sealing the transcripts.

“Frankly, I find this morning to be quite disappointing and distressing, not giving us an opportunity to engage in a debate which the Supreme Court indicated they wanted us to have with the court,” he said.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, https://www.staradvertiser.com

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