Judge suppresses arrest interview for lack of interpreter

LIHU‘E — A 5th Circuit Court judge said that police should have called in an interpreter to question a suspect on attempted murder charges.

Chief Judge Randal Valenciano on Tuesday granted a motion to suppress statements given by Dominador Padua in his police interview. He said the defendant was not fully aware of his rights or the consequences even after responding in English to the Miranda Warning and questions about the case.

Padua, 48, is charged with second-degree attempted murder. He is accused of shooting his spouse Janet Padua, 43, in her thigh with a .38-caliber handgun. The incident took place on May 22, 2011, in their Koloa home.

Padua is also charged with second-degree assault and four firearms crimes.

From the police video, Valenciano said it was clear from Padua’s responses that he was having a problem understanding very early in the interview.

Interviewers need to ensure the suspect is fully aware of the purpose of the line of questioning and of the possible consequences of responding, Valenciano said.

A 20-minute portion of the interview that took place at the Lihu‘e Police Station around midnight following the arrest, included a reading of the Miranda Warning. Padua was asked if he could read and understand English, and wrote “about 50 percent” in the form block.

Craig De Costa, defense counsel, said the interview following the incident was emotional and that Padua often reverted to his native Tagalog dialect that he speaks at home.

Second Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jake Deleplane said the responses were appropriate. He said the video showed that when the defendant had difficulty responding, the officers took their time to explain.

De Costa’s motion to dismiss the indictment was denied. He said that the grand jury was not presented with key testimony from the sister of the defendant, and that this prejudiced the process.

Valenciano ruled that the grand jury’s role is to find probable cause, and that the issues of De Costa’s motion are meant for the trial.

Padua was accompanied by a Tagalog interpreter on Tuesday. He has been held at Kaua‘i Community Correctional Center since his arrest in lieu of $516,000 bail. His trial is scheduled May 21.

• Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or tlaventure@thegardenisland.com.

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