Man says he fears for family’s safety after false tickets
Judge inclined to reconsider deferral to keep charges off former cop’s record
The Maui News
WAILUKU — After last month giving a former Maui Police Department officer a chance to keep convictions off his record for issuing false parking and speeding tickets, a judge said Friday she was inclined to grant a prosecution request to set aside the deferral.
A continued hearing for Wailuku District Judge Adrianne Heely’s ruling was set for April 26 so defendant David Weis could appear.
Weis, 44, of Kihei was placed on one year’s probation March 8 and was ordered to pay $1,500 in fines after he pleaded no contest as charged to three counts each of false reporting to law enforcement authorities, false swearing in official matters, unsworn falsification to authorities and tampering with a government record.
The charges were brought for issuing false parking and speeding tickets to two people in three incidents in April 2013, July 2013 and February 2014 when Weis was working as a Kihei patrol officer.
As part of his sentence, a 60-day jail term was suspended for Weis, who was fired from his police job in 2015.
In a motion asking the judge to reconsider the order granting Weis’ request for a deferral, Deputy Prosecutor Brandon Segal said, “This type of conduct does directly affect society. It affects society’s trust in law enforcement.”
His motion included the declaration of one victim, who reported knowing Weis. After going to the Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing in October 2013 to ask about obtaining a taxi permit, the victim was told he had outstanding traffic tickets issued by Weis.
“I was shocked to hear this because I knew I had never been pulled over by the police,” the man’s declaration said. One ticket was for excessive speeding, and an arrest warrant had been issued for the victim when he didn’t appear in court.
The man said he was afraid he would be fired from his job and wouldn’t be able to support his family.
On Oct. 8, 2013, he turned himself in at the police station and posted $750 bail. He was given a court date to appear for the warrant and citation and hired an attorney.
“Initially, I felt like no one believed me,” the man’s declaration said. “I was asked to take a polygraph test. When they asked me, I did not hesitate to take the test because I knew I did not get the citation. This situation was very stressful and upsetting for me.”
The man said he continues to “fear for the safety of myself and my family.”
“I am originally from the Philippines, where police corruption is widespread,” his declaration said. “This is not something I would ever expect to happen to me in the United States.”
In April 2015, after filing a claim against Maui County alleging he was falsely issued citations by Weis, the man received money in a settlement, according to a declaration by Deputy Corporation Counsel Moana Lutey.
In court Friday, Weis’ attorney David Sereno argued that taking away Weis’ deferral would be increasing the penalty imposed on him. Sereno said that Weis’ deferral should remain to give him a chance to have the charges kept off his record if he succeeds on probation.
“There’s nothing new for the court to consider that couldn’t have been presented at the sentencing,” Sereno said.
Heely said she hadn’t known a claim was filed against the county and money was paid to settle the claim until reviewing the declaration in the prosecution’s motion filed March 15.
Although the prosecution reported there were two victims in the case, “there’s actually three victims — the County of Maui, society, taxpayers that may have contributed to settlement paid out,” Heely said.
Heely agreed with the prosecution that “public trust was violated.”
“It’s very important to have confidence by the public in the integrity of government and government operations,” she said.
Heely also noted that after talking with Weis at his sentencing hearing, Sereno said his client would give up the deferral if it would keep him out of jail.
The judge said she was inclined to grant the prosecution’s motion to reconsider and to set aside the deferral.