WAILUKU -- Convening on Maui for the first time since the mid-1800s, the Hawaii Supreme Court heard oral arguments this morning in a criminal case focused on a defendant's constitutional right to be represented by an attorney of his choice.
Approximately 470 students from seven Maui high schools were in the audience at the Baldwin High School Auditorium, which also was filled with attorneys, judges and community members.
"It's very significant in that it gives us an opportunity to reach out in the community, particularly to reach out to our young people to show the court in operation," Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald said after the hearing that lasted about an hour.
Attorney Hayden Aluli represented Stephen Cramer Jr., who was sentenced last year to a 10-year prison term after being found guilty of second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, possessing drug paraphernalia and third-degree promotion of a detrimental drug.
Cramer is challenging his sentence on the grounds that he was not allowed his attorney of choice at his sentencing.
Maui County Deputy Prosecutor Artemio Baxa, represented the state.
The Supreme Court took the case under advisement.
For more on the story, see Friday's Maui News.