LIHUE — A Fifth Circuit Court judge told a defendant Tuesday if he could have given him more than one year in jail, he would have.
That’s because 19-year-old James Wesley Michael Stevens was sentenced to one year in jail for threatening Kauai officers during a routine traffic stop in February. He was also driving under the influence of alcohol when he was pulled over near mile marker 6.5 on Kuhio Highway in Kapaa.
“The defendant was stopped for a mud guard violation, was drunk, and said some very ill-advised things to the arresting officers, who were just trying to do their jobs,” said prosecuting attorney Justin Kollar.
Stevens was charged with terroristic threatening on top of the DUI-alcohol charge in March. While he awaited sentencing, he spent a total of five months incarcerated.
He told the court, he had learned his lesson.
At his sentencing, Fifth Circuit Court Chief Judge Randal Valenciano said Stevens’ actions were out of bounds.
“You should know that I am going to protect law enforcement,” Valenciano said. “Not only did you threaten the police officer, you threatened the police officer’s family. That’s just unacceptable.”
“We cannot have chaos,” he said. “I am going to side on the need to protect law enforcement because our justice system cannot work if we allow defendants to threaten police officers, judges and people involved with the court system. You’re young yet. A lot to learn. I’m hoping this lesson is going to work for you.”
Valenciano also asked that Stevens pay restitution in the amount of $364 to the police department for a blood test, but after an objection by Stevens’ public defender, the amount was deleted.
According to state law, the state can seek reimbursement for blood tests conducted for blood alcohol content as part of the sentence.
Stevens’ license was suspended for one year. He will have to undergo treatment assessment and 14 hours of substance abuse driver’s eduction.
“He will have a year in jail to contemplate his actions and hopefully to work on his alcohol abuse problem,” Kollar said.
Stevens has at least 13 traffic cases in Hawaii.