ON MISSING DPS INTERNAL AFFAIRS DOCUMENTS

Kwon’s brother files complaint about handling of case

Police Sgt. Norris Kwon has filed a complaint before the Department of Public Safety’s Internal Affairs Investigation Division, about the handling of the case of his brother, Police Officer 1 Dixon Kwon, who is facing several traffic charges, according to a government prosecutor.

Assistant attorney general Jonathan Robert Glass Jr. made the disclosure about Sgt. Norris Kwon’s complaint in the government’s opposition to defendant Dixon Kwon’s motion to compel the government to disclose all documents within its possession or controlled that he had asked for in preparation for his trial.

In the government’s opposition filed last Friday, Glass said that, on March 22, 2018 defendant Dixon Kwon, through counsel, requested DPS Internal Affairs Investigation documentation regarding his case.

Glass said the Office of the Attorney General made a request to DPS and was provided a case summary regarding the outcome of the investigation of Dixon Kwon.

Glass said the case summary was supplied to Dixon Kwon on April 11, 2018.

Additionally, the prosecutor said, on April 17, 2018 defendant Dixon Kwon clarified that he was seeking information regarding his brother Norris Kwon’s complaint of the handling of his (Dixon) case.

Glass said the complaint was then supplied to the government by defendant Dixon Kwon.

Glass said the government then made another request for any documents related to Norris Kwon’s complaint.

The prosecutor said it is this Internal Affairs investigation that forms the basis for defendant Dixon Kwon’s current motion to compel.

He said the government issued a subpoena to DPS for the requested documents, but DPS failed to produce.

On May 31, 2018, Glass said, the government was informed that the requested documents were lost.

On June 19, 2018, DPS issued a press release detailing the Internal Affairs’ investigation into Dixon Kwon was misplaced in the October 2017 move from Capitol Hill to Susupe.

Glass said the requested documents have been misplaced, and have not been located by DPS.

Further, he said, the documents were misplaced in October 2017, before the defendant’s first request for discovery in Dec. 2017.

Additionally, the prosecutor said, it is not entirely clear that the potential documents being requested are even discoverable under NMI Rules of Criminal Procedure.

Here, Glass said, the documents being requested are internal government documents related to the discipline of an officer for his connection with allegations of criminal activity.

Glass said DPS was given a complaint by Norris Kwon regarding the alleged deficiencies of the handling of his brother’s case.

Glass said DPS did an Internal Affairs investigation, but lost the file during its move from Capitol Hill to Susupe.

“This all occurred before the institution of criminal procedures for the present case. Since DPS cannot locate the file, it is no longer in the care, custody, and control of the Commonwealth,” he said.

Glass said even if the court should agree with Dixon Kwon and order their production, the government would not be able to comply because there are no documents in its possession to produce in relation to defendant’s request as the requested documents are lost.

Glass contended that the reports contained no obvious exculpatory value before they were lost because Dixon Kwon was sanctioned with administrative action for his involvement in the July 22, 2017 car crash incident.

Exculpatory evidence refers to evidence favorable to the defendant in a criminal case that tends to exonerate him/her of guilt.

Glass said by sanctioning Dixon Kwon, it shows that Internal Affairs thought he had done something against DPS policy as it relates to the July 22 auto run-off situation.

Because of this, he said, the government contends that nature of these documents would have shown culpability on the part of Dixon Kwon.

Glass said Norris Kwon can supply all of the alleged deficiencies as to what he observed in his complaint to DPS.

Dixon Kwon, Glass said, can interview his brother Norris and get such information.

Dixon Kwon, he said, can also cross examine those involved in the July 22 investigation with the information supplied by Norris Kwon.

Dixon Kwon, Glass said, can interview those listed in the police reports in order to gain information about defendant’s demeanor that night and Miranda warnings given, among other things.

Glass said this would be the same information that would have been available to Internal Affairs when they conducted their investigation.

Glass said as defendant cannot show that there was obvious exculpatory value to the documents before they were lost, and as defendant can attain the information from other reasonable means, defendant’s motion should be denied.

Glass said in order for defendant to succeed in their motion, he must show that the police acted in bad faith, that material had exculpatory value that was obvious before its destruction, and that there is no other reasonable means available to defendant to get such information.

Glass said because defendant has made no such showing, the government requests the court to deny their motion in regards to the Internal Affairs reports it seeks produced.

The files regarding DPS’ internal investigation into the case of Dixon Kwon was among several files that were misplaced when the DPS Internal Affairs Investigation Division relocated to its new office last year, according to DPS information officer Jacqueline Rae.

Rae said the files, including Dixon Kwon’s, were lost when the Internal Affairs Investigation Division moved from Capitol Hill to the DPS main office in Susupe last October.

She said the Internal Affairs Investigation Division is working to gather as much information as possible regarding all missing files.

Police said Dixon Kwon was driving his Nissan car on July 22, 2017, when the vehicle ran off the road on As Gonno Highway and hit a tree, causing serious injuries to his passenger, Deedra Santos.

When the officers responded to the area, Dixon Kwon was not at the scene, but Santos was there. Dixon Kwon was an off-duty DUI officer at the time of the accident.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.