WAILUKU - Saying there was a "glimmer of hope" for a man who had been planning to enter drug treatment when he was arrested with drugs last year, a judge sentenced him Feb. 7 to a one-year jail term.
Kainoa Duarte, 39, of Pukalani could be released after he has served six months if he enters a residential drug treatment program. He also was placed on five years' probation.
Duarte was arrested after a traffic stop at 12:35 a.m. Sept. 17.
He was stopped at a red light when he was seen "burning rubber for about two seconds," drawing the attention of a police officer, said Deputy Prosecutor Jeffery Temas. Then Duarte turned right without signaling and was pulled over by the officer, Temas said.
The officer saw a small crinkled baggie next to Duarte's left foot and a digital scale in the back seat, he said. After Duarte agreed to a search, police recovered a plastic packet containing 0.14 gram of methamphetamine, as well as two amphetamine pills, Temas said.
"To his credit, this defendant did admit he smoked methamphetamine a few hours earlier," Temas said.
He said Duarte told the officers: "I don't need to waste your guys' time anymore. Just take me in for DUI."
"He puts everybody in the community in danger when he's driving a vehicle under the influence of methamphetamine," Temas said. "He's not a bad person, but what he does is make very bad choices."
Speaking in court Friday, Duarte apologized for the choices he made.
He said his ice addiction started at age 17 when he was "just having fun and trying for fit in with the rest of my friends."
"Now I'm 39, I'm out of place and my drug addiction is the biggest burden I've had to carry," Duarte said.
A 2012 graduate of the Maui Drug Court program of treatment and supervision, Duarte said he didn't enter the program to be sober but to avoid the two 10-year prison terms he was facing.
"What I learned was amazing," Duarte said, describing how he got a job and sense of self-worth.
When he was arrested last year, Duarte had relapsed, which is a common problem, said Deputy Public Defender Jared Brickey. Taking issue with a probation report prepared for Duarte's sentencing, Brickey outlined eight factors supporting probation for Duarte.
Duarte had pleaded no contest as charged to two counts each of third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia, as well as operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant.
Noting that Duarte had completed two treatment programs in addition to the Drug Court, 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo said she at first thought the plea agreement "was too easy."
But she followed the plea agreement after hearing from attorneys and Duarte.
"I think you are pointed in the right direction," Loo told Duarte. "There is a glimmer of hope you will beat this addiction."
As part of his probation, Duarte was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service and pay $1,007 in fees. He also was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and to write a general letter of apology.