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A-1's Top Gun Award 2021 Goes To... Attorney Thomas Otake

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Attorney Thomas Otake wins A-1's Inaugural Top Gun Award

Attorney Thomas Otake has quietly created a storied career in the criminal defense field. Mr. Otake's 2021 accomplishments were substantial and numerous; here are just three examples of his excellence.

The show-stopping accomplishment of 2021 was Mr. Otake's successful defense of officer Zachary Ah Nee in the police shooting of 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap. Mr. Otake drafted a novel motion to dismiss the case, based upon the statutory construction of how serious crimes are charged:

“The only way the State may prosecute attempted second-degree murder is under the authority of a grand jury indictment."

Mr. Otake's motion (a portion provided below), called into question whether the District court had the authority to charge a murder case. His spotlighting of how serious crimes may or may not be charged, split Hawaii's legal community, with some believing the District court did in fact have the authority to charge the case, while others, including those at the legislature, believed only the grand jury had that power.

The motion was denied, but it shrewdly set up an appealable issue, had Mr. Otake not won the case outright by earning the dismissal for his client. To listen to a deep dive on the motion, CLICK HERE, for additional legal commentary via the A-1 Podcast.

Next, after nearly a decade of litigation, Mr. Otake finally won closure for client Christopher Deedy, the special agent exonerated of guilt in the 2011 shooting of Colin Elders.

Adding to the feat, Mr. Otake won the second trial, after all-time great attorney Brook Hart won the first. To me, its a rather large risk to take a case upon second charging, since 1) following a legendary attorney is never easy, 2) the first case was won via deadlocked jury, and 3) the second trial could be seen as harder to win, since the prosecution amended the charge from murder to manslaughter, thusly needing a lower bar for conviction.

Lastly, Mr. Otake was able to earn a big bail reduction for his client on the Big Island. This accomplishment demonstrated that he not only could get results in the first circuit (Oahu), but also could win in other circuits.

There's a fine art to crafting a successful bail reduction, and all too often motions are denied due to poorly constructed petitions. Over the last several years, Mr. Otake has shown a proficiency at earning bail reductions, and this latest one is a reminder of how complete he is as an attorney.

With all his accomplishments this year, A-1 proudly names Thomas Otake 2021's TOP GUN winner for excellence in the field of criminal defense.

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