KOSRAE STATE COURT TRIAL DIVISION
Cite as Kosrae v. Anton
12 FSM Intrm. 217 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 2003)

[12 FSM Intrm. 217]

STATE OF KOSRAE,
Plaintiff,
 
vs.
 
JEFFNER A. ANTON,
Defendant.
 
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 67-03
 
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISMISS
 
Yosiwo P. George
Chief Justice
 
Hearing: October 30, 2003
Decided: November 5, 2003

APPEARANCES:

For the Plaintiff:                         Paliknoa Welly
                                                   State Prosecutor
                                                   Office of the Kosrae Attorney General
                                                   P.O. Box 870
                                                   Lelu, Kosrae FM 96944
 
For the Defendant:                   Lyndon L. Cornelius, trial counselor
                                                   Micronesian Legal Services Corporation
                                                   P.O. Box 38
                                                   Lelu, Kosrae FM 96944

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HEADNOTES

Criminal Law and Procedure ) Arrest and Custody
     The Kosrae Constitution, Article II, Section 1(e) provides that the defendant in a criminal case has a right to be informed of the nature of the accusation against him, and Kosrae State Code, Section 17.1102 further requires that at or before making an arrest, a person makes a reasonable attempt to inform the arrested person of the cause and authority of the arrest. Kosrae v. Anton, 12 FSM Intrm. 217, 219 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 2003).
 
Criminal Law and Procedure ) Arrest and Custody
     An arrest is illegal if, at or before the time of arrest, the police make no reasonable effort to advise the person arrested as to the cause and authority of the arrest. Kosrae v. Anton, 12 FSM Intrm. 217, 219 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 2003).
 
[12 FSM Intrm. 218]
 
Criminal Law and Procedure ) Arrest and Custody
     When an arrest was executed in violation of law, the remedy is to suppress the defendantís statement to the police. Kosrae v. Anton, 12 FSM Intrm. 217, 219 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 2003).
 
Criminal Law and Procedure ) Arrest and Custody
     When a defendant understood through the statements made by the officer that he was being arrested for the incident which took place on the previous day, the defendant was given adequate information regarding the cause and authority for his arrest, and therefore there was no statutory or constitutional violation of the defendantís right to be informed of the reason for his arrest. Kosrae v. Anton, 12 FSM Intrm. 217, 219 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 2003).
 
Criminal Law and Procedure ) Arrest and Custody; Criminal Law and Procedure ) Dismissal
     Even assuming that there was an illegal arrest, a defendant is still not entitled to dismissal of the information. The remedy for an illegal arrest, for failure to provide cause and authority of the arrest, is suppression of any statements made by the defendant. When he did not make any statements to the police, there are no statements to suppress. Kosrae v. Anton, 12 FSM Intrm. 217, 219-20 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 2003).

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COURTíS OPINION

YOSIWO P. GEORGE, Chief Justice:

     The Defendant filed a Motion for Dismissal on October 8, 2003, on the basis that when the Defendant was arrested, he was not advised of the cause and authority of the arrest. Plaintiff filed an Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss on October 16, 2003. A hearing on Defendantís Motion was held on October 30, 2003. Paliknoa Welly, State Prosecutor, appeared for the Plaintiff. Defendant was represented by Lyndon L. Cornelius, MLSC. The following persons testified at the hearing: Police Officers Sam OíSteen, Tarren Mongkeya and Rinson Phillip, Abraham Anton and Defendant himself, Jeffner A. Anton.

     After the hearing, I took the Motion under advisement. This Order sets forth my ruling and reasoning on the Defendantís Motion for Dismissal.

I. Findings of Fact.

     Based upon the evidence presented at the hearing, I find the following facts. The arrest warrant was issued on August 26, 2003. Officer Sam OíSteen executed the arrest warrant on August 26, 2003 at 12:30 pm, while accompanied by Officer Tarren Mongkeya. Following issuance of the arrest warrant, Officers OíSteen and Mongkeya were dispatched to the College of Micronesia, where Defendant is a student, to execute the warrant. At the College, the Officers saw the Defendantís brother, and instructed him to get the Defendant. When the Defendant appeared, he was placed under arrest by Officer OíSteen.

     The Defendant testified that he was not informed of the charges that he was arrested for. Defendant did suspect that the arrest was related to his conduct in Malem from the day before. Officer OíSteen stated that he informed the Defendant that he was there to execute the arrest warrant issued for "his conduct yesterday in Malem." Officer OíSteen did not list the specific criminal offenses which formed the basis for the arrest warrant. Officer Mongkeya, who was present at the arrest, did not hear what statements were made by Officer OíSteen to the Defendant.

[12 FSM Intrm. 219]

      Following the arrest, Defendant was taken to the Police Station for several hours. A bail hearing was held later on the same day. After bail was granted, the Defendant was returned to the Police Station to collect his belongings. It was at that time that he was read his Miranda rights and signed the booking sheet. Officer Rinson Phillip completed the booking of the Defendant.

II. Analysis.

     Defendant argues that the arresting police officer is required to read the Defendant each of the specific criminal offenses which are the cause and authority for the arrest, at the time of the arrest. Here, the arrest warrant listed four charges: attempted aggravated assault, disturbing the peace, assault, and offensive behavior in a public place. Plaintiff argues that the information provided by Officer OíSteen at the time of arrest was adequate. Defendant was informed that he was being arrested for the incident the day before.

     The Kosrae State Constitution, Article II, Section 1(e) provides that the defendant in a criminal case has a right to be informed of the nature of the accusation against him. Kosrae State Code, Section 17.1102 further requires that "at or before making an arrest a person makes a reasonable attempt to inform the arrested person of the cause and authority of the arrest." An arrest is illegal if, at or before the time of arrest, the police make no reasonable effort to advise the person arrested as to the cause and authority of the arrest. FSM v. George, 6 FSM Intrm. 626 (Kos. 1994). In the George case, the defendant was arrested, without a warrant, and was not given any reason for the arrest either before, during or after the arrest. In the George case, the defendant was not told why he was under arrest even after he was transported to the police station. Finally, the Court in George held that where the arrest was executed in violation of law, the remedy was to suppress the defendantís statement to the police.

     In the case of Loch v. FSM, 1 FSM Intrm. 566 (App. 1984), a police officer attempted to arrest a person for drinking alcoholic beverages by telling the accused that "he was going to take him Ďto a placeí because he was drinking." 1 FSM Intrm. at 569. The Court found that this statement by the police officer was in compliance with the statutory requirement to advise the arrested person of the cause and authority of the arrest. The Court considered that the arrested person understood that the police officer was trying to arrest him.

     In this case, the Defendant understood that he was being arrested by Officer OíSteen. Defendant understood that he was being arrested for the incident which took place on the previous day. Unlike the facts in George, the Defendant here was given a reason for his arrest: the incident which took place the day before. Therefore, the amount of information given to the Defendant here was more than the amount of information given to the defendant in George.

     Applying the guidance of George and Loch to this case, I conclude that in this case, the Defendant was given adequate information regarding the cause and authority for his arrest, through the statements made by Officer OíSteen. I also conclude that the Defendant understood that Officer OíSteen was trying to arrest him. Therefore, the Plaintiff has complied with Kosrae State Code, Section 17.1102, and there has been no statutory or constitutional violation of the Defendantís right to be informed of the reason for his arrest. Defendantís arguments must be rejected.

     Even assuming that there was a violation of Kosrae State Code, Section 17.1102 and therefore an illegal arrest, the Defendant is still not entitled to dismissal of the Information. The remedy for an illegal arrest, for failure to provide cause and authority of the arrest, is suppression of any statements made by the defendant. FSM v. George , 6 FSM Intrm. 626 (Kos. 1994). Here, the Defendant did not make any statements to the police. Defendant did not make any statement while in custody, awaiting

[12 FSM Intrm. 220]

the bail hearing. Defendant was then released the same day that he was arrested, after bail was granted by this Court. Therefore, there are no statements to suppress.

     Accordingly, based upon the information provided to the Court, arguments of counsel, the evidence and record provided at the hearing, applicable law and in the interests of justice, Defendantís Motion for Dismissal is denied. The Clerk shall set this matter for trial on the first available calendar.

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