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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court — No. SCWC-16-0000100

No. SCWC-16-0000100, Thursday, January 18, 2018, 11:15 a.m.

STATE OF HAWAI I, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. KEKOA IONA, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.

The above-captioned case has been set for argument on the merits at:

Supreme Court Courtroom
Ali`iolani Hale, 2nd Floor
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Attorney for Petitioner:

William H. Jameson, Jr., Deputy Public Defender
Attorney for Respondent:

Stephen K. Tsushima, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 10/10/17.

COURT: MER, CJ; PAN, SSM, RWP, and MDW, JJ.

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

The case concerns the scope of a temporary investigative stop of an individual, known as a Terry stop. Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 22 (1968).

Petitioner/defendant-appellant Kekoa Iona (Iona) and two other individuals were stopped by a police officer near Ala Moana Park after the officer noticed that the bikes they were riding did not have tax decals. Iona stated that he had borrowed the bike. The officer conducted a warrant check on all three individuals.

Two additional officers arrived at the scene. Using the serial number from the bike Iona was riding, police dispatch confirmed that (a) the bike had not been reported stolen, (b) Iona was not the registered owner, and (c) the person Iona claimed to have borrowed the bike from was not the registered owner. The registered owner lived in Waianae. After an unsuccessful attempt to contact the bike’s owner, the officer contacted the Waianae police station and requested that an officer from that station drive to the residence of the registered owner of the bike to determine the ownership status of the bike.

Meanwhile, police dispatch confirmed that there was an outstanding warrant for Iona. Iona was arrested on the outstanding warrant. During a pat-down, the police officer discovered a glass pipe in a plastic sleeve as well as a zip lock plastic bag that contained a crystalline substance.

Iona was charged with one count of promoting a dangerous drug in the third degree and one count of unlawful use of drug paraphernalia. Prior to trial, Iona moved to suppress the evidence as “fruit of the poisonous tree” on the ground that the stop had impermissibly continued well after its initial justification for lack of a tax decal on the bike. The circuit court denied the motion to suppress. Iona was convicted as charged. The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) affirmed the denial of the motion to suppress and the convictions.

The question before this court is whether the evidence recovered in the search incident to Iona’s arrest was illegally obtained as the result of an impermissibly prolonged temporary stop.