Court: Suspect has no right to resist arrest

LIHUE — A 5th Circuit Court judge ruled Thursday that a suspect may not resist arrest even if a warrant wasn’t served and officers didn’t clearly state a reason for apprehending him.

Jason William Camarillo, 33, of Kaumakani, argued that, because the police did not have a valid warrant, they erred in arresting him outside the Kauai Police Department on Aug. 20, 2013. Camarillo went to KPD — reportedly with drug paraphernalia in his pocket — to register a complaint in another matter when he was approached by officers.

When officers spotted Camarillo at KPD headquarters, they checked with dispatch to see if there were outstanding warrants or arrest or ders. There were none. Then they checked with Investigative Services Bureau, where a detective ordered Camarillo arrested for questioning about a burglary case.

An officer and a cadet officer approached Camarillo in the breezeway and informed him that he was under arrest. Camarillo reportedly pulled away and took two steps away before the cadet went to cut him off. The second officer tried to apprehend him and a third became involved to get Camarillo on the ground.

Sgt. Anthony Morita said Camarillo was hiding his hands under his body and kicking his legs as officers tried to arrest him.

Court-appointed attorney Craig De Costa said Camarillo was not intentionally resisting arrest, but acting out of fear to a situation he did not expect and was not adequately explained to him. Camarillo displayed no intent to inflict injury on a police officer, he added.

There was no probable cause for the arrest and it was a violation of his constitutional rights, De Costa added.

Drug paraphernalia was discovered in Camarillo’s pocket after the arrest. 

County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Winn said the arrest was lawful. Regardless of whether the validity of the arrest would later hold up in court, the defendant does not have a right to resist arrest.

Chief Judge Randal Valenciano denied the motion, saying that whether the reason for the arrest is valid or not doesn’t give a suspect the right to resist an otherwise lawful arrest. 

“The arrest was made under the cover of legal authority,” Valenciano said.

A passive resistance move, such as placing the hands under his own body, would not constitute resisting arrest, he added, but kicking the legs does because it places the officers in danger.

The state’s case against Camarillo will go forward with a trial date of Feb. 23. He is indicted on charges of third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, prohibited acts related to drug paraphernalia, and resisting arrest.

In March 2014, Camarillo was charged with first-degree unauthorized entry, unauthorized control, second-degree criminal tampering and fourth-degree criminal property damage. He was sentenced to time served Dec. 18.

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