‘DPS probe documents missing’
Tag: DPS, Internal Affairs, OAG, Superior Court
Documents related to the police’s investigation into the case of a police officer who crashed his car while drunk, seriously injuring his girlfriend, are allegedly missing.
This came to light in lawyer Charity Hodson’s declaration that she submitted to the Superior Court last week. Hodson is the lawyer of the police officer, Dixon Kwon.
Hodson said that the Office of the Attorney General called her last May 31 and advised her that the Department of Public Safety has not remitted the Internal Affairs’ documents in Kwon’s case that she had asked for.
Instead, the OAG informed Hodson that DPS now “cannot find” the document and that it may have been “lost in the move.”
The lawyer filed her declaration before the Superior Court last week in support of Kwon’s motion for the court to compel the government to disclose all documents within its possession or control that she had asked for.
Hodson said the OAG agreed to stipulate to extend the deadline for motions to Wednesday, June 18.
She said the OAG also agreed that a motion to compel may be necessary in order to mandate DPS to produce the document.
The lawyer submitted a discovery request to the CNMI government last Dec. 27.
Hodson followed up on the request last March 22, specifically requesting all documents of DPS Internal Affairs’ investigation with regard to an official complaint of police misconduct regarding the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Kwon on July 22, 2017.
She said that last April 11, the government (OAG), provided a one-page case summary consisting of six sentences essentially acknowledging that Kwon had been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and had been interviewed by DPS Internal Affairs.
Hodson said the OAG advised that a follow-up request had been submitted to DPS.
The lawyer said that last April 17, she provided the OAG a copy of the complaint that triggered the Internal Affairs investigation as a reference to the discovery she was seeking.
Last April 18, the OAG subpoenaed DPS Commissioner Robert Guerrero, to ask for a copy of the complaint of police misconduct, Internal Affairs investigations, reports, outcomes, and any related documents of that investigation, by April 20, 2018.
Hodson said that last May 31, she emailed the OAG to request a stipulated motion to extend the deadline for motions, as she had not received the Internal Affairs document and was unable to determine what motions would be necessary in preparation for Kwon’s trial.
Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho had set the bench trial of Kwon for July 30, 2018 at 9am.
Hodson said that on that same day, May 31, OAG informed her that DPS “cannot find” the documentation.
In the motion to compel, Hodson said the discovery that she requested is relevant to the issue of Kwon’s demeanor at or about the time of his arrest.
She said it is relevant to the issue of Kwon’s demeanor and ability to undergo field sobriety tests, whether he had been apprised of his Miranda rights.
“This discovery is also critical in order to cross-examine, and likely impeach, the testimony of the officers expected to testify at trial regarding the circumstances of Mr. Kwon’s arrest,” she added.
The 2nd amended information charged Kwon with seven traffic charges—driving while under the influence of alcohol with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.08 percent or more, driving while under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving causing bodily injury, two counts of fleeing the scene of an accident, failure to have motor vehicle liability insurance while operating a vehicle on a public highway, and failure to have motor vehicle liability insurance in possession while operating a vehicle on a public highway.
According to the OAG, on July 22, 2017, Kwon, while under the influence of alcohol, drove his vehicle into a tree, injuring Deedra Santos.
Kwon allegedly failed to stop at the scene of the accident and failed to provide medical assistance to the injured Santos.
Police said Kwon was driving his Nissan car when the vehicle ran off the road on As Gonno Highway and hit a tree near the Coral Ocean Point Golf Resort.
When officers arrived, Kwon was not at the scene, but the injured passenger Santos was there.
Kwon was an off-duty DUI officer for DPS at the time of the accident. He is currently assigned with DPS Criminal Investigation Bureau, Saipan Tribune learned.