As Amended May 8, 2015.
This decision is published in table format in the Pacific and Hawai'i reporter.
APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE FIRST CIRCUIT. CR. NO. 11-1-0133.
Jon N. Ikenaga, Deputy Public Defender, for Defendant-Appellant.
James M. Anderson, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, City and County of Honolulu, for Plaintiff-Appellee.
Nakamura, C.J., and Fujise and Reifurth, JJ.
Plaintiff-Appellee State of Hawai'i (State) charged Defendant-Appellant David Harraway (Harraway) with Promoting a Dangerous Drug in the Second Degree (Count 1); Unlawful Use of Drug Paraphernalia (Count 2); Possession of a Prohibited Firearm (Counts 3-5); Unauthorized Control of a Propelled Vehicle (Count 6); Promoting a Detrimental Drug in the Third Degree (Count 7); and Ownership, etc., of Prohibited Detachable Ammunition Magazine (Counts 8-13). Harraway moved to suppress evidence seized by the police and statements he made during the execution of a search warrant on his residence. The Circuit Court of the First Circuit (Circuit Court) denied Harraway's motion to suppress. Harraway then entered a conditional plea of guilty to the charges, reserving the right to appeal the Circuit Court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence. The Circuit Court sentenced Harraway to concurrent terms of imprisonment totaling ten years.
On appeal, Harraway argues that the Circuit Court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence because he contends that the police failed to comply with " knock and announce" requirements in executing the warrant. In particular, Harraway asserts that the police were required to knock and announce at a locked gate attached to a chain link fence on the perimeter of the property, instead of at the front door to the house. As explained below, we affirm the Circuit Court.
The police obtained a warrant to search Harraway's residence for methamphetamine. The warrant authorized the police to execute the warrant between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. The police arrived at the residence at about 6:30 a.m. To gain access to the front door of the house, the police cut the lock on a gate attached to a chain link fence on the perimeter of the property, without performing a knock and announce. The police then proceeded through a yard to the front door of the house where they performed the knock and announce four times, pausing in between each knock and announce. When no one responded, the police breached the front door. During the execution of the warrant, the police recovered drugs, numerous firearms, ammunition, ammunition magazines, drug paraphernalia, and stolen motor vehicles.
Harraway moved to suppress the evidence seized and statements he made during the execution of the search warrant. The Circuit Court held a hearing on Harraway's suppression motion. At the close of the evidence, Harraway argued that (1) it was improper for the police to breach the gate attached to the chain link fence on the perimeter of the property without first conducting a knock and announce; and (2) the knock and announce at the house was improper because it was not loud enough or long enough. The Circuit Court orally denied Harraway's suppression motion. With respect to Harraway's argument that the police were required to knock and announce at the gate on the perimeter of the property, the Circuit Court found:
Regarding the issue of the perimeter, under the circumstances that the officers discovered pursuant to the execution of the search warrant, I don't find it unreasonable that they did enter the perimeter, and to do so had to cut the lock. The purpose of the search warrant of course was to enter the home, and I think the knock-and-announce procedures were intended to give the occupants a reasonable opportunity to respond and [f]or the officers to use their discretion to perform the knock-and-announce procedures at the door rather than at the perimeter fence, I do find to be a lawful exercise of their authority pursuant to the search warrant.
The Circuit Court subsequently issued its " Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and Order Denying Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence and Statements" (Suppression Order), ...