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Mundon seeks reduced bail, awaits 3rd trial

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Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2013 12:45 am

LIHU‘E — James Mundon, a 57-year-old defendant awaiting a third trial after a series of appeals, was in 5th Circuit Court on Tuesday to seek reduce bail or supervised release.

Mundon was found guilty in 2006 of several counts of assault, terroristic threatening and sexual assault, only to have several counts of the 5th Circuit conviction thrown out by the state Supreme Court in 2012 because the prosecution used improper evidence during the trial.

Mundon represented himself, but the court had appellate attorney Stuart Fujioka, who presented Mundon’s appeal before the Hawai‘i Supreme Court, speak via phone from Honolulu as standby counsel.

Mundon requested supervised release or that bail be reduced from the current $100,000.

He said he expects two of the original charges to go forward in the new trial, and that bail is still based on the original 28-count indictment in 2004.

Fujioka said the defendant is a low-to mid-level risk for supervised release.

County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Lisa Arin said that any issue of bail reduction should be presented in writing to allow the state to respond.

Judge Kathleen Watanabe, who presided over the 2006 trial and sentenced Mundon to 40 years in prison, said Tuesday that she would continue the bail hearing to Monday. She ordered Fujioka to submit written motions by Thursday.

In October 2012, then County Prosecuting Attorney Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Charles Foster argued on the merits of the case before the Hawai‘i Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court affirmed Mundon’s convictions for third-degree assault and vacated the convictions for attempted first-degree sexual assault and kidnapping and the sentence on convictions for third-degree assault.

The Supreme Court ruled that the 5th Circuit Court erred by permitting the state to introduce evidence of acts allegedly committed for which a jury had already acquitted him of in the first trial. This presented double jeopardy, according to the court.

Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald recused himself and assigned Circuit Court Judge Rhonda Nishimura in his place for the hearing.

Mundon was arrested on sexual-assault, kidnapping, terroristic threatening and assault charges on Feb. 5, 2004. He was bound over by preliminary hearing and entered a not guilty plea in 5th Circuit Court.

After dismissing his public defender, Mundon defended himself and his case was dismissed without prejudice after his right to a speedy and public trial expired.

He was sentenced to five years prison for a probation violation on an unrelated family abuse charge in 2005.

The original case was recharged on 21 counts and a jury found Mundon guilty of first-degree terroristic threatening, kidnapping, attempted first-degree sexual assault, attempted second-degree sexual assault and third-degree assault on Dec. 20, 2006.

Watanabe sentenced Mundon to 40 years in prison on Feb. 15, 2007. The case was appealed and the Hawai‘i Supreme Court overturned the conviction, ruling that since Mundon wasn’t able to play compact discs of his trial proceedings or receive written transcripts or case notes that his constitutional rights were violated.

The Supreme Court reversed the state’s conviction for the terroristic threatening charge and remanded the remaining counts for a new trial.

A jury found Mundon guilty on the same four counts following a re-trial that ended June 28, 2010. Mundon’s second appeal argued that the state introduced the same counts he was acquitted in his first trial.

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