October 9, 2014
Statement from Prosecuting Attorney Keith M. Kaneshiro
It was suggested in news reports that the prosecutor’s office took the case of Sgt. Darren Cachola to a grand jury as a way to deflect criticism for not charging him.
This is uninformed and wrong.
While grand jury proceedings are confidential and prosecutors cannot comment on them unless an indictment is returned, it is important to set the record straight about the reasoning behind the move.
When the investigation was turned over to our office, police said there was insufficient evidence to support a charge.
HPD’s conclusion was based on these issues:
- Lack of complaining witness, a victim willing to press charges and testify in court.
- No physical injuries.
- No witnesses to the event willing to provide statements.
- The full surveillance videotape, which showed several physical interactions before and after the brief clip distributed to media and could possibly raise doubt about who the aggressor was.
But where police had exhausted their options at this point, prosecutors had one more.
By issuing grand jury subpoenas to reluctant or uncooperative witnesses, we could compel them to testify and tell the panel – under oath – exactly what they saw and heard as the events on the videotape unfolded. Members of the grand jury also are allowed to question the witnesses as well as police officers called to the scene and detectives who follow up. All the available evidence can be offered for their consideration.
The law does not prohibit presenting misdemeanor cases to the grand jury. The presentation of every available witness and item of evidence is critical in deciding whether a crime has occurred.
That is exactly what the prosecutor’s office did with an investigation that had stalled. Taking the case to a grand jury wasn’t about looking for a way out. It was about finding the most effective strategy to obtain and present all the facts and have an independent decision made.