Only Conviction in Aloun Farms Case Overturned

Nanea Kalani/Civil Beat

A federal judge has overturned the conviction of the only person sentenced in the Aloun Farms human trafficking case.

In exchange for pleading guilty to visa fraud, Matee Chowsanitphon, 57, agreed to testify for the government against brothers Mike and Alec Sou, the farm's owners. They were charged in an alleged human trafficking scheme to keep 44 Thai farm workers as indentured laborers on their Kapolei farm.

But the government's case fell apart in August after the lead prosecutor, Susan French, admitted to misstating the law in front of a grand jury.

The prosecutor's misrepresentation also undermined the basis of Chowsanitphon's conviction, court records show. As a result, Chief U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway granted Chowsantiphon's request to vacate his conviction and sentence.

Chowsanitphon had been sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $48,000 in restitution.

Mollway ordered Chowsanitphon be given back payments he had made to the court clerk.

Read the judge's order below:

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