LIHU’E — Subpoenaed records of three Kaua’i Police Department vice officers who went to Maui last year for training purposes but allegedly did not attend any classes were turned over to a Circuit Court judge yesterday.
The records of KPD’s Wesley Perreira, Lawrence Stem and Channing Tada’s trip to Maui were turned over to Judge Kathleen N.A. Watanabe.
The records were subpoenaed by attorney Michael Soong, who is defending a client charged with felony drug offenses.
Soong pointed out that KPD’s Custodian of Records, Estelle Furuike, was late for a hearing held two weeks ago about the subpoena to turn over the records.
He pointed out that there were concerns that officials of KPD, or the prosecutor’s office, or the county attorney’s office, may have told Furuike not to show up at a Jan. 24 hearing about suppressing a statement and evidence seized from his client, Crystal Battulayan.
James Itamura from the county attorney’s office indicated that perhaps Furuike was waiting for him to file a motion to quash Soong’s request for KPD records.
Watanabe informed Furuike that it was no fault of hers for not showing up in court.
Soong pointed out that he wanted the records to go after the officers’ credibility.
He said that the officers went to Maui for a training session in 2005, but they failed to attend. Upon returning, Soong indicated that they submitted critiques of classes that they did not go to.
Soong said that he believes that a criminal investigation is going on about the three officers going to Maui.
“It all goes to credibility,” said Soong.
Watanabe agreed with Soong, in that when a witness takes the stand, credibility becomes an issue. She said that she will take a look at the documents that Furuike provided in private.
During the hearing, Soong pointed out that he will not seek reports, documents, records or photographs of strip searches conducted by KPD officers at the KPD cellblock or at other locations during 2004 and 2005.
He pointed out that there was an agreement between him and attorneys in the prosecutor’s office that the request will be dropped providing that two counts against his client, one for having 1/8 ounce or more of crystal methamphetamine and one for possession of drug paraphernalia, be dropped.
In court records, Soong wrote that his client did not want to be stripped-searched because she had heard about KPD officers doing body-cavity searches at the cellblock and taking pictures.
According to court records, Soong wrote that KPD files about the officers may contain information that they obtained a rental car and rooms using county or federal money.
Upon their return, Soong wrote that they submitted false documents indicating that they did indeed attend the training. Soong wrote that the officers changed their stories when they were questioned further.
Soong wrote that the officers said that they had food poisoning while on Maui, and could not attend the classes.
Soong is representing Battulayan, who faces six felony drug counts. She was indicted in August on two counts of having crystal methamphetamine, one count of having oxycodone, and on three counts of having drug paraphernalia.
The indictment shows that the alleged offenses took place in May last year.
Battulayan, 32, of ‘Aiea on O’ahu, is being held at the Kauai Community Correctional Center on $50,000 bail.
Her jury trial is scheduled to begin April 17.
- Cynthia Kaneshiro, staff writer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or firstname.lastname@example.org