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Judge sentences man to house arrest, credits life changes

Defendant turning his life around after 2017 arrest for drugs

WAILUKU — Crediting a defendant for his change in direction since he was arrested with methamphetamine four years ago, a judge sentenced the man to three months of house arrest as part of 10 years’ probation.

Daniel Costa, 36, of Wailuku also was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.

“I don’t know that I have seen someone do as well as you with a lot of help, a lot of determination,” 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen said in imposing the sentence Thursday. “It sure seems like you took a hard left and went in another direction.

“I’m focusing, I think rightly, on the Daniel Costa 2021 version, not the 2017 version.”

Costa had pleaded no contest to first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug for his arrest Oct. 30, 2017, when police executed a search warrant in Kahului and seized nearly 4 ounces of methamphetamine from him.

A plea agreement between the defense and prosecution recommended probation with up to six months of jail for Costa.

Bissen said Nardi “has done a masterful job” in representing Costa and negotiating the plea agreement recommending probation instead of a 20-year prison term.

“The delay in this case has pretty much allowed you to be on probation for three years,” Bissen told Costa. “That was a very good strategy. You didn’t get arrested, you don’t have any new crimes.”

Letters to the court reported that Costa was successful in his job, which he started in 2018, Bissen said.

“I don’t think you did all of this to impress me,” the judge said. “I think you genuinely figured it out.

“You’ve got a great family, a supportive family. There’s no shame in asking for help. There’s shame in committing crimes. In your family, they don’t say no. They say, ‘What else can I do for you?’ Not everybody has that.”

Family members and his employer were in the courtroom gallery to support Costa at his sentencing.

“This experience has caused him to learn to celebrate and cherish the family support he has, and he’s also been extremely fortunate to find a job that also gives him that kind of family support,” Nardi said. “Now he takes pride in trying to be a reflection of how he wants people to think of his family as a whole.”

Costa will have to pay for installation of a GPS ankle monitor at a cost of about $4 a day during his house arrest. He can leave home only to go to and from work and to medical appointments, the judge said.

Costa also was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.

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