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State v. Williams

Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawai'i

September 22, 2014

STATE OF HAWAI'I, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
FRED E. WILLIAMS, also known as FREDERICK ERNEST WILLIAMS, JR., Defendant-Appellee

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE FIRST CIRCUIT. (CR. NO. 13-1-0025).

On the briefs: Brandon H. Ito, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, City and County of Honolulu, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

William H. Jameson, Jr., Deputy Public Defender, for Defendant-Appellee.

FOLEY, PRESIDING JUDGE, FUJISE AND LEONARD, JJ.

OPINION

FUJISE. J.

I.

In this drug and drug paraphernalia prosecution, Plaintiff-Appellant State of Hawai'i (State) appeals from the Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order Granting Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence (Suppression Order) entered by the Circuit Court of the First Circuit (Circuit Court)[1] on May 21, 2013.

On appeal, the State maintains that the Circuit Court erred in granting Defendant-Appellee Fred E. Williams's (Williams) Motion to Suppress Evidence. The Circuit Court suppressed evidence seized from Williams at the time of his arrest, as unlawful fruit of an illegal arrest effected in violation of the limitations contained in the bench warrant. We conclude that the Circuit Court erred in interpreting the terms of the bench warrant, vacate the Suppression Order, and remand for further proceedings.

II.

Page 1175

The arresting police officer learned of the outstanding bench warrant for Williams's arrest [2] on January 2, 2013, while in the process of citing Williams for remaining in Cartwright Park after the closing time stated on posted signs in the park. [3] The December 8, [134 Hawai'i 375] 2011 warrant for Williams's arrest stated that it could not be executed between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. " on premises not open to the public." After Williams was placed in handcuffs, the arresting police officer found " a cylindrical glass pipe with a bulbous end[,]" two lighters, and " a small plastic Ziploc type baggie" on Williams's person.

In granting Williams's motion to suppress, the Circuit Court ruled that the police officers' execution of the subject bench warrant exceeded its scope and therefore suppressed the evidence seized as a result of a search incident to that arrest. The Circuit Court reasoned that, as the warrant specified that it could not be executed between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. " on premises not open to the public," and Cartwright Park was closed at the time the warrant was executed, the park was not " open to the public" and therefore the warrant did not authorize Williams's arrest.

The time limitation contained in the warrant was mandated by Hawai'i Rules of Penal Procedure (HRPP) Rule 9(b), ...


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