Case dismissed after delay in serving warrant

LIHUE — A Kauai judge dismissed a case Thursday after the state could not prove that police had served a Kapaa man alleged of having stolen from his employer with an arrest warrant.

Just 48 hours before Aaron Ikaika Lum, 30, was scheduled to complete his period of deferment on a misdemeanor theft case that had been reduced from a felony, the state said Lum had violated the terms of his probation.

It would mean that Lum, who had no prior record, would have faced resentencing by Fifth Circuit Court Judge Randal Valenciano and a conviction of second-degree theft.

A bench warrant was issued on Nov. 3, 2015 on the same date the Office of the Prosecuting filed a motion to set aside deferred acceptance of the no-contest plea on Lum’s case.

Defense Attorney Caren Dennemeyer argued that the state made no attempts to serve her client with a warrant between Nov. 3 and early April. Lum was eventually arrested on April 23, five months after the issuance of the bench warrant.

“Not only were there no efforts to serve it, the warrant never even went out for service,” Dennemeyer told the court Thursday. “There was no attempt on the state’s part whatsoever. They didn’t put the warrant out for service. Mrs. Tobin said to me she didn’t know who was supposed to serve it.”

That’s when Valenciano called out prosecuting attorney Sally Tobin for having made a gesture toward the defense attorney.

“I don’t allow attorneys to laugh at other people’s arguments,” he told her. “You have to respect each other. I have to manage the courtroom. I don’t want chaos to rule. The court has to rule with information provided to it.”

Tobin responded.

“When comments are attributed to me that are false, I take offense … I apologize,” she said.

She argued that five months was too little time to serve warrants and that the Supreme Court cases in the opposition she had filed showed that time elapsed allowed for two years on warrants, but Valenciano said the timeframe was not important.

“The warrant has to be executed without unnecessary delay,” he said. “If I don’t have any necessary information that there was any effort, why was there a delay? That’s the issue. If there was a good reason for the delay, then it wouldn’t be unnecessary. What information can you provide to the court to show that there was no unnecessary delay in executing the warrant that was issued in this case? What happened in that interim? Between when the motion was filed and when the motion was actually served.”

Valenciano said he wanted to see paperwork to show KPD and the state’s due diligence.

Tobin said she had not received any service logs from the Kauai Police Department, which showed efforts had been made to serve Lum after the warrant was issued.

“According to our records, a warrant was issued on Nov. 3, 2015, and (Lum) was arrested by a KPD officer on Apr. 23,” said county spokeswoman Sarah Blane.

The case was dismissed with prejudice right before Valenciano reminded attorneys to present to conduct themselves in a manner that “brings nobility and pride to the profession.”

Dennemeyer told The Garden Island that she was delighted to see the court uphold the law the way it did.

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