Kapaa man asks for prison

LIHUE — A Kapaa man was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday in 5th Circuit Court — after he asked the judge to not grant him the probation that was recommended in his plea agreement to felony drug charges.

David Silas Laamea, 44, was sentenced for a felony drug charge. He changed his plea to no contest to methamphetamine possession on July 7, with no recommendation to the court for a minimum or maximum jail term.  

The state had recommended probation in the change of plea agreement. County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Tobin said he did not object to the defendant’s preference for the open term.

“An open term is the option of the court and not just the defendant,” said Chief Judge Randal Valenciano.

The judge noted that Laamea had an extensive record. The 31 convictions are mostly for contempt of court charges. He also served one year jail terms for third-degree assault convictions in 1997 and 1999.

Court-appointed defense attorney Warren Perry said Laamea preferred to serve a straight prison term to probation. Without a stable home or employment, Laamea did not want to burden others to care for him and felt the lack of transportation would result in violations of his probation.

More than that, Laamea was a leader in the Lifetime Stand program at Kauai Community Correctional Center, and he would like to continue working as a mentor to discourage young inmates from reoffending, Perry added.

“I want to use myself as an example of what happens and teach them to take the better path and not the wrong path that I took and am learning from now,” Laamea said. “I think if I had someone at that age then maybe it would have made a difference.”

County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar said his office is satisfied with the sentence.

“It’s unusual to see a defendant take this measure of responsibility for his actions and to be honest with himself and the court about his problems,” Kollar said.

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