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State v. Ramos-Saunders

Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawai'i

April 23, 2015

STATE OF HAWAI'I, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
KOALAUKANI I. RAMOS-SAUNDERS aka Koalaukani Ramos-Saunders, Defendant-Appellee

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE FIRST CIRCUIT. (CRIMINAL NO. 11-1-0093).

On the briefs:

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

William A. Harrison, (Harrison & Matsuoka), for Defendant-Appellee.

FOLEY, PRESIDING J., LEONARD AND REIFURTH, JJ.

Page 407

[135 Hawai'i 300] OPINION

FOLEY, J.

Plaintiff-Appellant State of Hawai'i (State) appeals from the " Findings of Fact, Conclusion of Law and Order Granting Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence" (Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law), entered January 13, 2012, in the Circuit

Page 408

[135 Hawai'i 301] Court of the First Circuit[1] (circuit court).

On appeal, the State contends the circuit court erred in granting the November 30, 2011 " Motion to Suppress Evidence" (Motion to Suppress) submitted by Defendant-Appellee, Koalaukani Ramos-Saunders (Ramos-Saunders).

I. BACKGROUND

On December 3, 2010 at approximately 7:19 a.m., the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) received a " dropped 911 call" from a number that was registered to Walter Rosskopf (Rosskopf). Rosskopf's address was listed as Unit B, 59-068 Kamehameha Highway (Unit B).

Two HPD officers, Officer Angela Montano (Officer Montano) and Officer Joseph O'Neal (Officer O'Neal) (together, officers), responded to the dropped call. The officers arrived at the scene about 7:39 a.m. They proceeded to Unit B and spoke with Paula Burgess (Burgess), who indicated she lived there. Burgess told the officers that Rosskopf used to live in Unit B, but that he had moved up the road to Unit A (Unit A). Unit A and Unit B are two individual stand-alone residences that are located approximately 750 feet away from each other. Burgess also told the officers that Rosskopf suffered from prostate cancer.

Based on the information received from Burgess, Officer Montano notified dispatch that they were relocating to Unit A. The officers did not question Burgess further or check Unit B to determine whether Rosskopf or anyone else was inside in need of assistance. 'The officers did not conduct any further investigation of Unit B. Instead, the officers went directly to Unit A.

Upon their arrival at Unit A, the officers knocked on the front door and received no response. They walked around the exterior of Unit A, calling out to anyone who might be inside, but again got no response. The officers reported no indications such as voices or perceived movement, which could have suggested that someone was inside Unit A. The officers did not see anyone inside Unit A at any time.

While walking around Unit A's exterior, the officers looked inside through an open window and saw what appeared to them to be the barrel of a firearm, with what looked like a " silencer" attached to the firearm, protruding from underneath a towel. The officers also observed that Unit A was in a state of " disarray," the glass sliding door was open, the two air-conditioners were in operation, and the lights were on inside.

Upon making the forgoing observations and continuing to receive no response to their calling out, from outside Unit A, to anyone who could be inside, the officers requested additional police units to assist them at the scene. They remained outside ...


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