Agency opines on secret arrests

The Office of Information Practices released an opinion yesterday that the Kaua‘i Police Department must make the names of arrested residents public.

The official opinion comes roughly five months after The Garden Island was denied the name of a manslaughter suspect’s name, which was “blacked out” on the arrest log.

Police said at the time that the reasoning behind keeping the name of the arrested person private was because the case was still pending.

A 22-year-old male was arrested in relation to the crime on Oct. 14, the name of whom is still not known.

The case has been remanded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Mary Daubert, county spokeswoman, said.

Names are often redacted because arrestees are sometimes released without being formally charged, KPD officials have said.

Other times, arrestees agree to become police informants, so releasing their names could endanger them, police told OIP officials.

However, OIP officials state that, “KPD’s argument for withholding the names of arrestees who are released pending further investigation appears to be that releasing those names would frustrate KPD’s ability to obtain an arrestee’s cooperation as an informant.”

The OIP also states that redacting names can impede upon an individual’s rights, rather than offer protection.

No resident should be taken into custody secretly, and those who are arrested should be taken in only after probable cause has been established, Les Kondo, OIP director, said.

The names of arrestees “concerning adult offenders must be made publicly available upon request,” the opinion states.

It also states that “The (Universal Information Practices Act) does not permit an agency to redact or to otherwise withhold the names of arrested individuals, even where the arrestee was released without charges being filed or released pending further investigation.”

Officials at the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office were out of town and not available for comment.

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