State v. Tanaka

Decision Date14 June 1985
Docket Number9752 and 9845,Nos. 9461,s. 9461
Citation67 Haw. 658,701 P.2d 1274
PartiesSTATE of Hawaii, Plaintiff-Appellee v. John TANAKA, Defendant-Appellant. STATE of Hawaii, Plaintiff-Appellee v. Eloise BAL, Defendant-Appellant. STATE of Hawaii, Plaintiff-Appellee v. Sunao TAKAMIYA, Defendant-Appellant. STATE of Hawaii, Plaintiff-Appellee v. Francis KAHOOHALAHALA, Defendant-Appellant. STATE of Hawaii, Plaintiff-Appellee v. Sandra KAHOOHALAHALA, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtHawaii Supreme Court

Syllabus by the Court

1. A warrantless police search is not unconstitutional if it involves property in which the defendant has no legitimate expectation of privacy.

2. A defendant has a reasonable expectation of privacy when: 1) he or she has an actual expectation of privacy; and 2) the expectation is one that society is prepared to recognize.

3. The Hawaii Supreme Court has final unreviewable authority to extend the protections of the Hawaii Bill of Rights beyond those of textually parallel provisions in the Federal Bill of Rights when logic and a sound regard for the purposes of those protections so warrant.

4. Society is prepared to recognize a reasonable expectation of privacy in trash bags. People reasonably believe that police will not enter private property and indiscriminately rummage through their trash bags to discover their personal effects.

Philip H. Lowenthal, Wailuku, (Anthony L. Ranken, Wailuku, on briefs; Lowenthal & August, Wailuku, of counsel), for defendants-appellants Tanaka, Bal, Francis and Sandra Kahoohalahala.

Davelynn M. Tengan, Wailuku (Meyer M. Ueoka, Wailuku, on brief, and with her on opening brief; Ueoka & Luna, Wailuku, of counsel), for defendant-appellant Sunao Takamiya.

Artemio C. Baxa, Wailuku (Lawrence A. Goya, Wailuku, on brief in Nos. 9461 and 9752), Deputy Pros. Attys. for plaintiff-appellee.

Before LUM, C.J., and NAKAMURA, PADGETT, HAYASHI and WAKATSUKI, JJ.

HAYASHI, Justice.

Article I, section 7 of the Hawaii Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. In these three consolidated cases, we consider whether the warrantless searches of trash bags are prohibited by the Hawaii Constitution.

I.

State v. Tanaka. A confidential informant told Officer Takitani about being approached by defendants, John Tanaka and his secretary, Eloise Bal regarding the placing of bets on football games. The informant placed numerous bets with Tanaka and Bal. Each of the contacts with Tanaka and Bal occurred at their work place, Granger Pacific. Thereafter, a police officer trespassed onto private property and recovered betting slips in opaque, closed trash bags in the Granger Pacific trash bin. This was done without a search warrant.

Subsequently, a search warrant was secured based on the above facts. The search revealed gambling documents and materials in Tanaka and Bal's desks. Tanaka and Bal were indicted for several counts of Possession of Gambling Records in the First Degree. Both defendants moved to suppress the evidence. The motion was denied and an interlocutory appeal was granted. Tanaka and Bal filed a timely appeal.

State v. Takamiya. Steven Sakamoto, a person believed to be a gambling runner, 1 was seen going into Maui Beverage by Officer Hirata. Later, a confidential informant told Officer Takitani that he received a betting slip from an unidentified person at Maui Beverage. On several occasions, a police officer trespassed onto private property and searched the trash bin used by Maui Beverage and two other companies. The police did not have a warrant to search the trash bin. The search of the trash bin produced evidence of gambling in opaque, closed trash bags. 2 Thereafter, the informant told Officer Takitani that he received a second betting slip from another unidentified person at Maui Beverage.

Based on an affidavit describing the above, search warrants for Takamiya's business and home were obtained. The searches revealed additional gambling records. Takamiya was indicted on several counts of Possession of Gambling Records in the First and Second Degree. Takamiya moved to suppress the evidence. The motion was denied. Takamiya filed a timely interlocutory appeal.

State v. Kahoohalahala. An anonymous informant told Officer Takitani that defendant, Francis Kahoohalahala was a bookmaking runner. The police department conducted a surveillance of Kahoohalahala. On trash day, a police officer saw defendant, Sandra Kahoohalahala take their trash to the curbside portion of their property. The police officer entered defendants' property and seized the trash without a warrant. The police found evidence of gambling in the trash.

On the basis of these facts, a search warrant for defendants' home was issued. The search resulted in the seizure of gambling records. Francis and Sandra Kahoohalahala were indicted for Possession of Gambling Records in the First Degree. Defendants moved for suppression of the evidence. The trial court denied the motion. Francis and Sandra Kahoohalahala filed an interlocutory appeal.

II.

A threshold issue raised by the State is whether the police officer made a "search" within the purview of article I, § 7 of the Hawaii Constitution when he entered the defendants' property and examined their trash bags. This court has held that a warrantless police search is not unconstitutional if it involves property in which the defendant has no legitimate expectation of privacy. State v. Ching, 67 Haw. 107, ---, 678 P.2d 1088, 1091 (1984).

A defendant has a reasonable expectation of privacy when: 1) he or she has an actual expectation of privacy; and 2) the expectation is one that society is prepared to recognize. Id. at ---, 678 P.2d at 1091-92. In Ching, this court held that an actual expectation of privacy was shown by the placing of the item in an opaque, closed container. In each of the consolidated cases, the evidence in question was in opaque, closed trash bags. Further, in Tanaka and Takamiya, the defendants testified that they had an expectation of privacy in their trash bags. In each of the three cases, the first part of the test has been met.

The main issue is whether society is prepared to recognize defendants' expectations of privacy as reasonable. There are federal appellate court cases which have held that under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, society is not prepared to recognize expectations of privacy in garbage. E.g., United States v. Vahalik, 606 F.2d 99, 101 (5th Cir.1979), cert. denied 444 U.S. 1081, 100 S.Ct. 1034, 62 L.Ed.2d 765 (1980); United States v. Crowell, 586 F.2d 1020, 1025 (4th Cir.1978), cert. denied 440 U.S. 959, 99 S.Ct. 1500, 59 L.Ed.2d 772 (1979); United States v. Shelby, 573 F.2d 971, 973-74 (7th Cir.1978), cert. denied 439 U.S. 841, 99 S.Ct. 132, 58 L.Ed.2d 139 (1978). However, we are not bound by these...

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58 cases
  • State v. Phillips
    • United States
    • Hawaii Supreme Court
    • 30 Septiembre 2016
    ...Frank's discovery of the clothing in the garbage bin violated article 1, section 7 of the Hawai'i Constitution. SeeState v. Tanaka, 67 Haw. 658, 661, 701 P.2d 1274, 1276 (1985) (concluding that a reasonable expectation of privacy exists in a closed garbage bag).25 The dissent claims that it......
  • State v. Schwartz
    • United States
    • South Dakota Supreme Court
    • 10 Noviembre 2004
    ...to search any person's garbage bags without cause and "thereby learn of their activities, associations and beliefs." State v. Tanaka, 67 Haw. 658, 701 P.2d 1274, 1277 (1985). This is precisely the wrong that Art. VI, § 11 was created to protect Permitting the police to pick and poke their w......
  • State v. Wright
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • 18 Junio 2021
    ...have a reasonable expectation of privacy in garbage left for collection in a publicly accessible area); see also State v. Tanaka , 67 Haw. 658, 701 P.2d 1274, 1276–77 (1985) ; State v. Goss , 150 N.H. 46, 834 A.2d 316, 319 (2003) ; State v. Hempele , 120 N.J. 182, 576 A.2d 793, 804–07 (1990......
  • Maxfield, Matter of
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • 16 Octubre 1997
    ...rummage through their trash bags to discover personal effects. Boland, 115 Wash.2d at 578, 800 P.2d 1112 (citing State v. Tanaka, 67 Haw. 658, 701 P.2d 1274, 1276-77 (1985)). A statement that power consumption at a particular address appears to be high discloses no discrete information abou......
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6 books & journal articles
  • Survey of Washington Search and Seizure Law: 1988 Update
    • United States
    • Seattle University School of Law Seattle University Law Review No. 11-03, March 1988
    • Invalid date
    ...At least one state has held on state constitutional grounds, however, that police inspection of trash is a search. State v. Tanaka, 67 Haw. 658, 662, 701 P.2d 1274, 1276-1277 (1985):People reasonably believe that police will not indiscriminately rummage through their trash bags to discover ......
  • Washington Constitution Article 1, Section 7: the Argument for Broader Protection Against Employer Drug Testing
    • United States
    • Seattle University School of Law Seattle University Law Review No. 16-03, March 1993
    • Invalid date
    ...notes 115-22. 143. 115 Wash. 2d 571, 800 P.2d 1112 (1990). 144. Id. at 578, 800 P.2d at 1116. 145. Id. (citing State v. Tanaka, 701 P.2d 1274, 1276-77 (Haw. 146. Skinner v. Railway Labor Executives' Ass'n, 489 U.S. 602, 649 (1989) (Marshall, J., dissenting). 147. Jones v. McKenzie, 833 F.2d......
  • § 6.08 Inspection of Garbage
    • United States
    • Carolina Academic Press Understanding Criminal Procedure, Volume One: Investigation (CAP) (2021) Title Chapter 6 Fourth Amendment Terminology: "Search"
    • Invalid date
    ...See generally 1 LaFave, Note 92, supra, at § 2.6(c).[118] 486 U.S. 35 (1988); contra under the state constitution, State v. Tanaka, 701 P.2d 1274 (Haw. 1985) (a person maintains a reasonable expectation of privacy in opaque, closed trash bags left at curbside for garbage collection); State ......
  • § 6.08 INSPECTION OF GARBAGE
    • United States
    • Carolina Academic Press Understanding Criminal Procedure, Volume One: Investigation (CAP) (2017) Title Chapter 6 Fourth Amendment Terminology: "Search"
    • Invalid date
    ...See generally 1 LaFave, Note 98, supra, at § 2.6(c).[124] 486 U.S. 35 (1988); contra under the state constitution, State v. Tanaka, 701 P.2d 1274 (Haw. 1985) (a person maintains a reasonable expectation of privacy in opaque, closed trash bags left at curbside for garbage collection); State ......
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