On December 19, 2002, Roynes Dural was charged with multiple counts of sexual assault which had allegedly occurred between the years 1998-2000. While no specific dates of assault were ever provided by the alleged victim, Roynes was on active duty in the Navy and deployed for a substantial portion of the time window provided by the alleged victim. Roynes’ accuser was not unknown to him, as she was the younger daughter of an ex-girlfriend. Roynes vehemently denied the accusations and further denied having any physical contact with his ex-girlfriend or her daughter during the years the alleged assault occurred. Nevertheless, on November 3, 2003, Roynes was convicted on all counts after a jury trial and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
After Roynes had exhausted all of his direct appeals, HIP was contacted by the family to help exonerate Roynes. By conducting new interviews and investigations, HIP was able to determine that the allegations were completely false. When the alleged victim was confronted about being sexually active, her mother asked if the perpetrator was her own ex-boyfriend, Roynes. At the time the alleged victim reported that Dural was her perpetrator, she was having a secret relationship with her 26 year old boyfriend whom she married five weeks after Dural was convicted. In an effort to hide and protect her boyfriend at the time, the alleged victim did not challenge or correct the false accusation that Roynes was the person with whom she had sexual contact. HIP filed a Rule 40 requesting relief and exoneration based on this new evidence.
Roynes served 8 years of his 20-year sentence and was released on parole based on his claim of innocence. He has remained on parole and registered as a sex offender for the last eight years while his Rule 40 appeal has been pending. In February 2018, the Intermediate Court of Appeals granted Roynes' appeal and ruled that based on the evidence presented in his Rule 40 petition, the Circuit Court should have awarded Roynes a new trial based on newly discovered evidence. The state appealed the ICA's ruling and Roynes' case to the Hawai'i Supreme Court. On September 5, 2019, the Hawai'i Supreme Court affirmed the ICA's ruling and remanded Roynes' case back to the Circuit Court to determine if the Prosecutor will dismiss the case or seek a new trial. Although Roynes' case is coming to a close, the effects of his wrongful conviction have long-lasting implications. Help the Hawai'i Innocence Project support Roynes and his family after enduring this miscarriage of justice.