LIHUE — A Kapaa man was sentenced to nine months in jail after a judge found him guilty of promoting a dangerous drug when police found him with two morphine pills five years ago.
Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe said Tuesday’s sentencing was Keive Kauakahi’s “last opportunity to show the court that you can be a law-abiding citizen” as she had seen him in her courtroom plenty of times and knew of his struggles.
The court sentenced him to nine months in jail and five years of HOPE probation in one case for “two pills” and six months in jail and one year HOPE probation in the other case.
Prosecutors said that while the 32-year-old was at another person’s house on Apr. 23, 2011, police executed a search warrant on the property and found Kauakahi with two morphine pills on his person.
He was charged with promoting a dangerous drug in the third degree, drug paraphernalia and promoting a detrimental drug in the third degree.
The court also said he was guilty of theft after prosecutors said that while he was participating in the Kauai drug court program, Kauakahi shoplifted from Kmart in February 2004. He was terminated from drug court in February after he tested positive for methamphetamine and amphetamine as well as other violations of his probation, deputy prosecutor Rebecca Vogt said.
Vogt said that jail time — nine months for the felony and six months for the misdemeanor theft — would be appropriate as Kauakahi had failed to keep up with his HOPE probation, had tested positive and had missed meetings.
She also asked the court to recommend that Kauakahi pay $1,411 for the theft, under the objection of his attorney, who said it was not necessary to pay the fine as all the items had been returned to Kmart. The court allowed the fine as part of the sentencing.
Kauakahi started to apologize to the court, but broke down in tears after he began talking about his father, who had died of cancer in November, one day before Thanksgiving.
“I’m not representing him in Mr. Meyer’s case, but when you listen to the underlying facts in that case, you’re talking about two pills,” said public defender Sam Jajich.
He told the court that Kauakahi was a “good guy” and had been through recent struggles.
“He’s very respectful. He’s learned a lot in the last year or so and he’s prepared to take responsibility for his life and help his family,” he said.
Defense attorney Gregory Meyers told the court that Kauakahi had grown as a person in the two years he has known him.
“I believe that the loss of his father may have had an impact on his ability to — for lack of a better term — ability to see the light. I believe him when he says he has been clean and sober for over a year,” Meyers said.
Kauakahi is scheduled to be released on Feb. 1.