Man gets 5 years for meth

LIHUE — A lengthy criminal record caught up with a Lihue man, as a 5th Circuit Court judge denied probation and sentenced him to five years in prison for a third-degree methamphetamine conviction.

Raymond Paul Rapozo, Jr., 54, said he is getting older and closer to his family than in the past. Even though he always seemed to hold a job, he said that not letting go of old habits dragged him down.

“You present yourself well and that weighs in your favor,” said Chief Judge Randal Valenciano. “But your past convictions weigh against you.”

County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Winn said Rapozo was being sentence for a C felony methamphetamine charge in one case. It was part of a plea agreement that resolves six cases including a B felony that will be dismissed with the plea deal.

Rapozo’s criminal record includes 25 prior convictions that include seven felonies. He has already been sentenced to a five-year term only to lose his parole and serve out the remaining year after an early release.

“Because of that the state can only recommend the open five (year prison term),” Winn said.

State Deputy Public Defender Stephanie Sato asked the court to sentence Rapozo to probation with six months in jail. The criminal record cannot be denied, she added, but he is growing tired of criminal activity that was related to his addiction and is spending more time working and being closer to his family.

“He is a good guy who has made some really bad decisions,” Sato said.

Sato said Rapozo is eligible for the Kauai Drug Court program, or HOPE (Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement) for close supervision of high-risk offenders.

She would submit an application if the court would consider probation.

Valenciano said the sentencing would remain with the prison term. However, he said should probation determine Rapozo is acceptable for either program, then the defense could file a motion to amend the sentence.

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