APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE FIFTH CIRCUIT (CR. NO. 12-1-0105)
On the briefs: Tracy Murakami Deputy Prosecuting Attorney County of Kauai for Plaintiff-Appellant
Jon N. Ikenaga Deputy Public Defender for Defendant-Appellee
NAKAMURA, C.J., AND FOLEY, J., WITH GINOZA, J., CONCURRING SEPARATELY
OPINION OF THE COURT
Defendant-Appellee Rick Trinque (Trinque) and co-defendant Miles Martinez (Martinez) were each charged by indictment with: (1) first-degree commercial promotion of marijuana for possessing or cultivating one hundred or more marijuana plants; and (2) unlawful use of drug paraphernalia for using or possessing with intent to use drug paraphernalia. Trinque and Martinez were arrested by the police at night in a pasture where a large number of marijuana plants were being grown. After his arrest, Trinque made three incriminating statements to the police: (1) while being escorted out of the pasture (Statement 1); (2) outside the pasture while waiting to be transported to the police station (Statement 2); and (3) at the police station (Statement 3). The Circuit Court of the Fifth Circuit (Circuit Court) suppressed all three statements.
Plaintiff-Appellant State of Hawai'i (State) appeals from the Circuit Court's "Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order Granting [Trinque's] Motion to Suppress Statements" (Order Suppressing Statements) and the Circuit Court's "Order Denying [the State's] Motion to Determine Voluntariness of Statements" (Voluntariness Order). On appeal, the State argues that the Circuit Court erred in suppressing Statements 2 and 3. As explained below, we hold that the Circuit Court erred in suppressing Statements 2 and 3. We vacate the Circuit Court's Order Suppressing Statements and its Voluntariness Order with respect to Statements 2 and 3, and we remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this Opinion.
After receiving information that marijuana was growing in a pasture in the Kilauea area of Kaua'i, the Vice Division of the Kaua'i Police Department initiated an investigation. Over a thousand marijuana plants were apparently being cultivated in the pasture. Officer Brian Silva (Officer Silva) was the officer in charge of the investigation, and his supervisor, Officer Richard Rosa (Officer Rosa), was also involved.
At night, while on surveillance in the pasture, Officer Silva and other officers encountered Trinque and Martinez, who were placed under arrest. Trinque was handcuffed. It was dark, there was sugarcane and "grass everywhere, " and the officers were trying to figure out how to get out of the pasture. Officer Silva or another officer escorting Trinque out of the pasture asked Trinque how he had entered the field. Trinque responded that he came over the fence by the banana tree using a ladder that was still located by the fence and that he was caught red handed (Statement 1).
After Trinque was taken from the pasture, he was ordered to sit on a bench outside a residence. Officer Rosa was assigned to watch Trinque. Officer Rosa had never met Trinque before. However, Officer Rosa had previously worked on a case involving Trinque's daughter. Officer Rosa, who was wearing his badge, introduced himself to Trinque as a police officer. Officer Rosa informed Trinque that he was the officer who had worked on Trinque's daughter's case; that Trinque could talk to his daughter if he did not believe Officer Rosa; that Officer Rosa would not lie to Trinque, would not "jerk [Trinque's] chain, " and would be completely honest with Trinque. Officer Rosa told Trinque not to make any statements until Trinque was advised of his constitutional rights. In response, Trinque stated, "What for? You caught us red handed, there's nothing left to say, times are hard and we needed the money" (Statement 2). Officer Rosa then told Trinque "not to make anymore statements until we got to Lihue" (where the police station is located).
Officers Silva and Rosa transported Trinque to the Lihue police station. After he was booked, Trinque was taken to an interview room where Officers Silva and Rosa were present. Officer Silva advised Trinque of his constitutional rights, using an advice of rights form. After he was advised of his Miranda rights, Trinque was asked whether he wanted to make a statement. In response, Trinque stated that he did not want to make a statement since he got caught red-handed and was going to jail anyway (Statement 3).
Trinque filed a motion to suppress all three statements. The State opposed Trinque's suppression motion and also filed a motion to determine the voluntariness of Trinque's statements. The Circuit Court held an evidentiary hearing on both motions. The Circuit Court granted Trinque's motion to suppress and denied the State's motion to determine voluntariness. The Circuit Court entered its ...