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State v. Loo

July 05, 2000

STATE OF HAWAII, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
NATHAN AH LOO, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE



APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE FIFTH CIRCUIT (CASE NO. LC98-103)

Burns, C.J., Watanabe and Lim, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Burns, C.J.

Pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) § 641-13(7) (1993)*fn1, Plaintiff-Appellant State of Hawaii (the State) appeals the April 14, 1999 Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order (FsOF, CsOL, and Order) entered by the District Court of the Fifth Circuit, granting the February 5, 1999 Motion to Suppress (M/S) filed by Defendant-Appellee Nathan Ah Loo (Ah Loo or the defendant). We affirm.

The M/S sought to suppress Ah Loo's answers to questions asked by Police Detective Sherwin K. Perez (Detective Perez) before Detective Perez cited Ah Loo for committing the offense of Prohibitions Involving Minors, HRS § 281-101.5 (1993),*fn2 a petty misdemeanor. HRS § 281-101.5(d).

BACKGROUND

The FsOF, CsOL, and Order state in relevant part as follows:

FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND ORDER

[Ah Loo's] motion to suppress having regularly come on for hearing on March 12, 1999, . . . , this Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law and issues the following order:

Findings of Fact

1. On February 6, 1999 [Ah Loo] was with [a] small group of teenagers behind the Wailua Golf Course, a public place.

2. [Ah Loo] was holding a beer can in his hand.

3. Several plain clothes police officers, who had been assigned to a special project, went to that area to investigate juveniles drinking alcohol in public places.

4. Upon their arrival about 11:50 p.m. one of the officers saw [Ah Loo] and he appeared to be under 21 years of age.

5. The officers blocked the group's vehicles from leaving.

[6.] An officer approached [Ah Loo] and, without Mirandizing him, asked [Ah Loo] his age.

[7.] [Ah Loo], believing that he was not free to leave and was obliged to answer, said that he was 18 years old.

[8.] The officer then demanded identification.

[9.] [Ah Loo] replied that he did not have any.

[10.] The officer, without Mirandizing [Ah Loo], asked [Ah Loo's] name, age and address.

[11.] [Ah Loo] was not free to leave and [the officer] would not have cited him if he refused to provide ...


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