Charges against a retired Hawaii Police Department captain accused of tipping off arcade owners prior to a gambling raid have been dropped.
According to court records, all four charges against Chadwick Fukui — two counts each of second-degree hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence, all misdemeanors — were dismissed on Dec. 12.
The charges against Fukui, a former Hilo Criminal Investigations Division commander who retired after 34 years service in 2006 and worked as an investigator for the Hawaii County Office of Prosecuting Attorney from 2007-2014, were in connection with an Aug. 10, 2017, raid on Triple 7 arcade in the Canario Building in downtown Hilo.
Fukui applied to be police chief in 2008, but then-Deputy Chief Harry Kubojiri was chosen.
Fukui and Brian Miller, a retired Hawaii Police Department detective, were charged in separate indictments by a Kona grand jury with tipping off Triple 7 arcade owners Lance and Stacey Yamada prior to the raid.
Miller still faces similar charges in connection with the gambling raid, as well as unrelated felony charges in connection with the alleged theft of cocaine from a police evidence locker in May 2016.
A court document indicates then-Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura ruled prior to retiring on Dec. 1 that phone records obtained by way of an administrative subpoena issued to AT&T Wireless Subpoena Compliance Center which reflect telephone numbers of calls made to and from Fukui’s cellphone are inadmissible as evidence because “the constitutional requirement of obtaining a warrant for telephone records applied.”
Fukui’s attorney, Douglas Halsted, cited the state Supreme Court in the 1989 Hawaii v. Rothman ruling that telephone users in Hawaii “have a reasonable expectation of privacy, with respect to the numbers that they call on their private lines, and with respect to the telephone numbers of calls made to them on their private lines. That is, they have a reasonable expectation that the government will not tap their private telephones to obtain such information, or require the telephone company to supply such information to it, unless the government has obtained a proper and legal warrant … .”
According to the document, evidence of cellphone communication between Miller and Fukui is suppressed under the ruling, and without that, “there is insufficient evidence to support a determination of probable cause that … Fukui committed the offenses as charged in the indictment.”
The Yamada brothers and co-defendant Ivar Kaluhikaua, all of whom face misdemeanor gambling-related charges, have a court hearing at 8:30 a.m. Monday. Another co-defendant, David Colon, is scheduled to return to court at 8 a.m. Feb. 7.
Miller’s next court date is at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 10.
None of the remaining defendants, at this point, are scheduled for trial.
Email John Burnett
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald