State v. Baker

Citation465 P.3d 860
Decision Date18 June 2020
Docket NumberSCWC-16-0000115
Parties STATE of Hawai‘i, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Mustafa BAKER, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.
CourtSupreme Court of Hawai'i

465 P.3d 860

STATE of Hawai‘i, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee,
Mustafa BAKER, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.


Supreme Court of Hawai‘i.

JUNE 18, 2020

Dwight C.H. Lum, Honolulu, for petitioner

Sonja P. McCullen, Honolulu, for respondent



In this case, we are called upon to determine whether one of our most critical procedural safeguards, the constitutional right against compelled self-incrimination, was upheld.

465 P.3d 863

The appeal involves the admission at trial of a confession, given by the defendant during the course of a custodial interrogation. Because we find that the tactics used by the interrogating police officer were so coercive that they rendered the defendant's statement involuntary, we hold that it should not have been admitted against him at trial.


Mustafa Baker was arrested on January 8, 2013, based upon allegations that on December 31, 2012, he committed assault in the first degree in violation of Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (HRS) § 707-710.1 Baker was subsequently indicted in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit (circuit court) on two counts of sexual assault in the first degree in violation of HRS § 707-730(1)(a)2 and one count of sexual assault in the third degree pursuant to HRS § 707-732(1)(f).3

A. Motion to Determine Voluntariness

The State filed a Motion to Determine Voluntariness of Defendant's Statement to Law Enforcement (motion to determine voluntariness) in accordance with HRS § 621-26.4 In its motion, the State argued that a statement Baker gave to Honolulu Police Department (HPD) Detective (Det.) Brian Tokita during the course of a custodial interrogation on January 8, 2013, was voluntarily given and should be freely admissible at trial. A hearing on the motion was held at which Det. Tokita testified about the circumstances of Baker's custodial interrogation, which occurred on the day Baker was arrested.5 Det. Tokita testified that before commencing the interrogation he read a standardized form to Baker that informed him of his constitutional rights. Baker said that he understood his rights, Det. Tokita stated, and then signed the form indicating that he waived his rights. Det. Tokita testified that the HPD was in possession of an audio recording and a written transcript of the interrogation, which were introduced into evidence. The court took the State's motion under advisement pending its review of the audio recording and transcript.

The audio recording of the interrogation discloses that the interrogation proceeded as follows. Det. Tokita began the interrogation by asking Baker several introductory questions, such as his date of birth, level of educational attainment, age, and place of employment. Baker stated that he was 23 years old and was currently employed at a bakery, but he had only completed the eighth grade. Baker did not know his home address, but he indicated that he was living in Waimanalo and knew the name of the street on which he lived.

Det. Tokita then informed Baker that he had "been working on this case from the time it started," that Baker "clearly" did not "know what [Tokita] kn[e]w about this case," and that Baker should "trust [him]" when he tells Baker that he "know[s] a lot about what happened." Det. Tokita informed Baker that he knew Baker met the complaining witness (CW) on New Year's Eve in the Kailua District Park. The detective next told Baker "now here's your chance, tell me what happen[ed] from there in detail." Baker responded that he was drinking liquor in the park with his sister KK6 and the CW, and GK

465 P.3d 864

arrived there and "did something" with the CW.7 Baker explained that "[GK] told [him] he had sex with her, that's all. That's all I know ... I was not involved in this at all." This had occurred, Baker said, when he went with his friends LKG and JKG to get cigarettes. When he returned, "[GK]’s getting ready to fight with this boy. This boy was that girl's boyfriend."

Det. Tokita interrupted and told Baker "Okay, no, I know that's not true.... I know that didn't happen. Like I said I've been investigating this case for a long time.... And I know what happened.... I'm just giving you a chance to see if you going tell me what happened." Baker then admitted that he was trying to protect GK, and explained that GK was bloody when he arrived back at the park. Det. Tokita interrupted Baker again, stating "I know that's ... not how it went." Baker responded that he would not have sexually assaulted someone because he was "raped as a kid."

Det. Tokita expressed that Baker was a "straight up guy" because, while Baker had a record as a juvenile, he did not have a record as an adult. Continuing with a friendly tone, Det. Tokita stated, "I don't know if you was doing any other drugs, but I know you was drinking. I know you was smoking weed.... Everyone gets blasted on New Year's Eve and that's where I think everything went wrong because you just made an error in judgment." Without pausing, Det. Tokita then accused Baker and GK of beating the CW and further accused Baker of "put[ting] [his] penis in her vagina, and [GK] did after [Baker] and [Baker] came back and [ ]did it again." Baker responded "Woah" to this accusation.

Det. Tokita then offered another mitigating narrative to Baker, saying "I don't think you did it or meant to do it. You were just not in the right frame of mind.... That's where people go wrong, when they're in the wrong frame of mind." Then, Det. Tokita stated "Alcohol is.... where people get themselves into trouble, cause they lose their inhibitions[.]" The detective continued, "Women are a lot more promiscuous, you know. They flirt more, you know when they're on alcohol ... cause they lose their inhibitions." After again discussing Baker's juvenile record, Det. Tokita assured Baker that, compared to other offenders, he was not a "bad dude." "I know. I just want to show that I not like that," Baker replied. "So I'm giving you a chance now, Mustafa. This is how you're going to be remembered," the detective said. Baker again denied committing a crime, repeating his assertion that he was "not like that." Returning to the mitigating narrative, Det. Tokita stated "Everybody fucks up in life, okay.... [O]ur brains are programmed a certain way, you know.... Guys are programmed to procreate." "Yeah," Baker responded. Det. Tokita continued, "Even movie stars right? We all get busted. This is how our brains are wired. You know what I mean? Now you put that brain on alcohol and drugs, now you're all fucked up and your thinking is all screwed up at that point." Before Baker could respond, Det. Tokita warned, "So I know what happened.... [H]ow [do] you want to be remembered, dude?"

Continuing the interrogation, Det. Tokita changed tactics again, warning Baker about what it "sounds like on the outside." "The girl's a minor," Det. Tokita stated. "She's not an adult.... [I]f this hits the media, it would be ... twenty-three year old boy rapes a fucking juvenile and how does that sound?" Baker answered "That's not me[,]" and Det. Tokita replied, "Exactly. Cause when people hear that, what they going think that juvenile, [ ] how that juvenile is, you think?" Baker again said, "I'm not like that," prompting Det. Tokita to tell him, "I know you're not like that. I'm being straight with you cause you haven't had a record.... You just drank too much, dude. You drank too much. You smoked too much. Bad error in judgment. But it's time to come clean."

Det. Tokita then asked Baker, "When you go to court, you think people want to hear somebody that's going to fucking deny, deny when the evidence is like insurmountable against them, but they're just going to deny, deny to the bitter end." "No," Baker responded,

465 P.3d 865

and Det. Tokita continued, "they want to hear somebody that's you know what, ... I made a mistake, ... that's not me, but I made a fucking mistake, I did and I'm sorry. What do you think they want to hear?" Baker said that people would want to hear the truth, and then Det. Tokita warned, "I don't want to be jerked around."

At this juncture Baker had not admitted to any criminal activity, and the detective changed course. Det. Tokita told Baker, "we g[o]t physical evidence, so you cannot deny that you didn't have sex with her.... We have physical evidence and nobody can deny physical evidence."

Baker repeated his statement that he did not beat the CW, which prompted Det. Tokita to respond, "Mustafa come on. Now you're jerking me around again." Baker again repeated that he did not beat the CW. Det. Tokita returned to the sexual assault allegation, telling Baker, "Did she want to fuck? No.... So why'd you fuck her then?" Then, for the first time, Baker admitted to having sex with the CW, explaining, "[c]ause I was all fucked up." "You wasn't thinking straight," Det. Tokita offered, to which Baker said, "We had four bottles of Jack Daniels.... I was smoking weed off the chain. I was all fucked up." After this Baker again denied beating the CW, stating that...

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    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
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    ...come to the same conclusion about the dangers of false statements inducing false confessions. See, e.g., State v. Baker, 147 Hawai'i 413, 465 P.3d 860, 878-79 (2020) (recognizing "that false claims of physical evidence result in an unsettling number of false or involuntary confessions" and ......
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