- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 10, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - A judge has thrown out felony charges for the second time against three men accused of running illegal gambling operations in Oahu game rooms.

Judge Rom Trader dismissed the case against Tracy Yoshimura, Eugene Simeona Jr. and Michael Miller Jr. on Tuesday, saying the state took too long to bring them to trial. The dismissal was made with prejudice, meaning prosecutors can’t charge the men a third time, but the ruling can still be appealed.

“The state’s had two opportunities and through their own failures, simply has not gotten it right,” Trader said. “A third opportunity would not be fair for these individual defendants.”

The men had been indicted in the high-profile case in 2014 on more than 400 gambling counts involving nearly 80 seized gaming machines. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that case was dismissed after two prosecutors admitted presenting false testimony to the grand jury.

The three men had been scheduled to stand trial this month on the second indictment handed down in February.

One of the defendants in the case was a distributor of arcade machines, while the other two were arcade owners.

“They were innocent, trying to do the right things, run legitimate businesses,” said Tommy Otake, who represents Simeona. He added that the men sought opinions at the state and county levels on the legality of the machines before opening their arcades years ago, Hawaii News Now reported.

In response to the judge’s finding that the state violated the men’s right to a speedy trial, Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro released a statement saying he is “deeply disappointed.”

“While I take responsibility for any delays my office contributed to, the court also must be held accountable for its inability to set timely dates,” he said. “My office acted in good faith and in the interests of the people of Honolulu. It is important to note that the dismissal was not based on the merits of the case.”

Six arcade workers who were also charged in the case are scheduled to face trial later this month.

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