Lawyers of Distinction member, Brook Hart, Esq., of Honolulu, Hawaii, won a dismissal of all criminal charges with prejudice in the case State of Hawaii v. Adam Mau, Criminal Nos. 06-1-1393 and 08-1-0809 (First Circuit Court). The court-ordered time period for the State to file a motion for reconsideration or a notice of appeal regarding that ruling has expired.
Mr. Hart’s client, Adam Mau, is a mentally ill man who was accused in two indictments of committing a total of twenty-one crimes, including three murders; robbery, burglary, theft and firearms offenses; and (separately) assault offenses against a correctional officer. After multiple hearings and taking of evidence from time to time over a ten-month period, Judge Rom Trader of Hawaii’s First Circuit Court ruled that Mr. Mau had been held pending a final determination of his fitness to proceed to trial for over twelve years (since 2006), including “nearly ten years of treatment at the Hawaii State Hospital.” The court ruled that Mr. Mau remained unfit to proceed to trial, because “the overwhelming evidence in the form of expert testimony, expert reports, and recorded interviews of Mr. Mau, indicate that he is unable to consult with his counsel with a reasonable degree of rational understanding,” as a result of Mr. Mau’s “memory deficits combined with ongoing symptoms of schizophrenia, as well as six brain injuries in addition to his birth trauma, [which] impair his ability to understand abstract concepts and rationally weigh the various factors involved in making the legal decisions which would be required of him in a trial in these criminal proceedings.” The court further ruled that Mr. Mau’s “severe memory deficits and ongoing symptoms of schizophrenia (anosognosia, auditory hallucinations, and delusions) are preventing Mr. Mau from having a rational understanding of the proceedings against him, and communicating with and assisting his counsel with a reasonable degree of rational understanding.” The court concluded “that further pretrial confinement cannot be justified by progress toward recovery,” and that “there is no reason to believe [Mr. Mau] will regain fitness to proceed at any time in the foreseeable future.” Thus, the court dismissed all the criminal charges with prejudice, and ordered Mr. Mau “re-committed to the custody of the [Hawaii] Director of Health, to be placed in an appropriate medical institution, such as the Hawaii State Hospital, for detention, care, and treatment.”