Judge again denies bail reduction to former candidate

Marten has been in custody for eight sexual assault charges since before the election

Chayne Marten is shown during a hearing on Oct. 14. The Maui News / CHRIS SUIDONO photo

WAILUKU — A 2nd Circuit Court Judge again refused to reduce bail for a former Republican state House candidate who has been in custody since October on eight sexual assault charges.

Judge Richard Bissen on Friday denied the request to reduce the $650,000 bail to $100,000, as requested by Chayne Marten’s attorney, Hayden Aluli.

Marten has pleaded not guilty to five counts of first-degree sexual assault, three counts of third-degree sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a minor.

In a collect call last November to The Maui News from the Maui Community Correctional Center, Marten said he’s innocent of the charges and vowed that he would be exonerated. He said the charges were politically motivated.

Bissen said that to his knowledge, Friday’s hearing was the fourth time Marten’s bail has come up. The judge pointed to information provided to the court that showed that the 64-year-old’s residence had entered foreclosure and that his employment was managing a vacation rental on Kauai, which could lessen Marten’s ties to the Maui community.

Bissen added that the charges, five of which could be punishable by life in prison with possibility of parole, could influence someone to become a flight risk.

Deputy Prosecutor Annalisa Bernard Lee and Aluli had a bench conference with Bissen prior to his hearing the motion. Bissen said information from that conference was “not in favor of the defendant.”

Bissen also ordered a relative of Marten, who was in the courtroom, to not contact the complaining witness on behalf of Marten.

He also noted that Marten himself is to not have contact with the witness.

In arguing for reduction of bail, Aluli said the prosecution should have just charged Marten with one Class A first-degree sexual assault charge, as is sometimes done.

Aluli said bail was set by multiplying $100,000 per each first-degree sexual assault charge and then adding more money for the other four charges.

He added that Marten has never been arrested and has owned property on Maui for 17 years and has three children, factors that he implied tie Marten to the community.

Aluli pointed out about five people who showed up in court Friday in support of Marten.

Lee said that she considered bringing fewer charges, but because of the seriousness of the allegations, she decided to charge for each offense.

The assaults allegedly happened between Dec. 6, 2007, and Dec. 6, 2010, involving sexual contact and penetration of a girl between 7 and 10 years old, prosecutors have charged. The girl is a relative.

Bissen scheduled a further hearing date on Aluli’s motions regarding Marten’s bail study at 9:30 a.m. March 6.

Marten was on the general election ballot in 2016 when he sought the House District 10 seat (West Maui, Maalaea, north Kihei) against Democratic incumbent Angus McKelvey.

Marten lost with 1,643 votes to McKelvey’s 4,573.

He also sought the same seat unsuccessfully in the past.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.