Hawaii Federal Judge: U.S. Won't Pick Up Tab for Aloun Farms Defense

Katherine Poythress/Civil Beat

A Hawaii federal judge has ruled that the federal government will not have to pay for defense costs in the failed Aloun Farms human trafficking case.

Mike and Alec Sou had argued in court last month that the federal government ought to reimburse them for roughly $500,000 in defense costs. The government dismissed human trafficking charges against the Sous in August "in the interest of justice."

The ruling isn't a complete surprise. Chief U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway made clear at last month's hearing that she had reservations about granting the brothers' request, given that they had initially pleaded guilty in the case.

In her order denying the brothers' request, Mollway writes: "Of particular significance to the court are the Sous’ pleas of guilty to the charge of conspiracy to commit forced labor in the Original Indictment. A guilty plea requires much more than a mere statement that one is guilty."

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