At an evidentiary hearing on Thursday, Judge Kanani Laubach rejected a Big Island couple’s request to have a temporary restraining order extended against a deputy prosecutor and his wife.

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Laubach ruled that the loud hacking and coughing and window slamming that Deputy Prosecutor Randall Winston Albright and his wife Nicole engaged in did not rise to a level of knowingly and intentionally bothering their neighbors in a way that served no legitimate purpose, the legal standard.

Judge Kanani Laubach rejected a Big Island couple’s request for an extended restraining order against the deputy prosecutor. Courtesy: Hawaii Court System

Micah and Jessica Gauthier alleged that the Albrights harassed them over matters including a shed the Gauthiers owned that encroached on the property line, intrusive surveillance cameras and videotaping, and Micah Gauthier’s outdoor smoking. They had been granted a temporary restraining order in early August. The Albrights were also granted a temporary restraining order against the Gauthiers, and that case is still pending.

In granting the Albright’s motion to dismiss the TRO against them, the judge found that Gauthier’s smoking is a legal act and so is coughing or shutting windows.

While hacking and slamming windows might disturb the Gauthiers, “it serves a legitimate purpose because each time there is smoking,” Laubach said.

Francis Alcain, the Albrights’ lawyer, asked the judge to make the Gauthiers pay attorneys’ fees for having to defend against the TRO and for their emotional distress.

“This is not a cheap endeavor,” he said.

The judge found the Gauthiers made good faith efforts to resolve the dispute through their actions and through mediation, so she denied the request.

Reached after the hearing, Jessica Gauthier said by text that she and her husband feel they “did the right thing by proceeding with our request for TRO protection from the Albrights. We just didn’t convince the court that our emotional distress warranted court protection.”

Alcain, the Albright’s attorney, said his clients “were confident that when the Gauthiers allegations were examined and questioned, those allegations would fail to pass muster.”

 

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