Settlement reached in lawsuit over 25-year-old rape case
Maui County is paying $7,500 to settle a lawsuit brought by a man who had sought more than $1 million in damages after spending 20 years in prison before his rape, kidnapping and burglary convictions were vacated and later dismissed.
The lawsuit filed by Alvin Jardine III alleged he was falsely arrested and wrongfully imprisoned for the Dec. 28, 1990, knifepoint rape and assault of a 25-year-old woman in her Haiku home.
Maui County maintained that the police investigation that led to Jardine’s arrest was done properly.
After juries couldn’t reach verdicts in two earlier trials, Jardine was found guilty in a trial that ended in April 1992. He was sentenced to a 35-year prison term for four counts of first-degree sexual assault, three counts of attempted first-degree sexual assault, kidnapping and first-degree burglary.
In January 2011, after Jardine’s fourth such petition, then-2nd Circuit Judge Joel August vacated Jardine’s convictions and ordered a new trial, saying new DNA evidence might have an impact.
In fighting his convictions, Jardine, now 46, was represented by attorneys working on behalf of the Hawaii Innocence Project, which called it a case of “actual innocence.”
But the prosecution said there was no legal finding of Jardine’s innocence.
At the request of the prosecution, which said it didn’t want the victim traumatized again, the charges against Jardine were dismissed in July 2011.
After Jardine filed the lawsuit in 2013 in 2nd Circuit Court, the county offered a $3,000 settlement, which wasn’t accepted, according to a document filed in court by the county. Jardine “demanded” $1.05 million in March 2014, according to the document.
After a settlement conference with the court last year, Jardine in October tentatively “agreed to accept a nominal monetary settlement from the county but made his agreement contingent on having his deposition transcript sealed,” according to a court document filed by the county.
Jardine’s seven-hour deposition was taken on March 25, 2015. Attached to it as an exhibit was his application packet to the state Department of Public Safety’s Sex Offender Treatment Program.
Under the Uniform Information Practices Act, The Maui News last October requested Jardine’s deposition and exhibits in the case.
Jardine’s attorneys objected to the release of the deposition and exhibits, saying they contain information that might cause Jardine “annoyance, embarrassment and/or oppression.”
The plaintiff’s objection also said the deposition transcript includes questioning related to Jardine’s “psychiatric health and therapy,” which is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, and a questionnaire Jardine was asked to complete to participate in the sex offender treatment program. The questionnaire, mailed to Jardine while he was incarcerated in Minnesota in 2000, asked for additional information about Jardine’s offense and his life.
According to his lawsuit, Jardine hadn’t been released on parole while incarcerated because he had maintained his innocence.
During a court hearing Dec. 23, 2nd Circuit Judge Peter Cahill granted the plaintiff’s motion to seal the deposition and attachments, over the county’s objections.
Cahill said he granted the motion because the questionnaire was a required evaluation in order for Jardine to be paroled and because it could be a medical-related exchange, which is privileged.
The judge also said he had concerns about the impact of making such information public in other cases. If the case went to trial, Cahill said the document would likely be the first thing presented as evidence.
Deputy Corporation Counsel Moana Lutey had said the deposition and attachments were subject to being released as government documents.
The lawsuit had also named as a defendant the estate of the late Antonio Funes, the police detective assigned to investigate the rape. According to court records, Funes’ estate was dismissed from the lawsuit because the plaintiffs didn’t serve the complaint on the estate.
The county disclosed the $7,500 settlement amount this week after a Maui News request made under the Uniform Information Practices Act.
The rest of the settlement agreement cannot be disclosed because of a confidentiality agreement, Lutey said in an email.
A stipulation to dismiss the lawsuit was filed Jan. 27.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at email@example.com.