Talia Emoni Williams
Spc. Naeem Williams
Death penalty case is coming
Hawaii can expect to see its 1st federal death penalty case go to trial next fall, Hawaii District U.S. Attorney Flo Nakakuni told Big Island legal professionals on Wednesday.
While Hawaii may not have its own death penalty law on the books, the federal government has since 1994, Nakakuni said.
The federal case against Army Spc. Naeem Williams, a Schofield Barracks soldier accused in the beating death of his 5-year-old daughter in 2005, is expected to go to trial in September 2011, she said.
As U.S. attorney, Nakakuni is responsible for an office that employs 27 attorneys who litigate both federal criminal and civil cases on behalf of the U.S. The Honolulu-based U.S. Attorney's Office primarily handles criminal cases, she said.
Nearly half of the criminal cases are drug-related, she said, adding that about 85 % of those cases involve methamphetamine in one way or another.
The other half of the criminal cases most often involve fraud, firearms, immigration, human trafficking and national security issues.
In the civil realm, about 20 % of the attorneys are handling cases involving civil rights, the environment, and litigation filed against the U.S. within the district, she said.
Nakakuni's update to members of the West Hawaii Bar Association was held at the Manago Hotel in Captain Cook. About a dozen members attended the luncheon.
Nakakuni was confirmed as U.S. attorney for the District of Hawaii by a full U.S. Senate on Sept. 29, 2009. A graduate of the University of Hawaii's William S. Richardson School of Law, Nakakuni is Hawaii's 2st female U.S. attorney. Prior to her confirmation, Nakakuni worked since 1985 as an assistant U.S. attorney in the District of Hawaii.
Nakakuni replaced Edward H. Kubo Jr., who had served as Hawaii's U.S. attorney since 2001. The office handles cases not only in Hawaii, but also Saipan, Guam and American Samoa.
(source: Hawaii Tribune)