Rustin I. Smith, Plaintiff-Appellant,
City and County of Honolulu, Defendant-Appellee.
and Submitted February 15, 2018 Honolulu, Hawaii
from the United States District Court No.
1:11-cv-00498-LEK-RLP for the District of Hawaii Leslie E.
Kobayashi, District Judge, Presiding
A. Seitz (argued), Della Au Belatti, and Sarah R. Devine,
Honolulu, Hawaii, for Plaintiff-Appellant.
E. Sherwood (argued), Deputy Corporation Counsel; Donna Y.L.
Leong, Corporation Counsel; Department of the Corporation
Counsel, Honolulu, Hawaii; for Defendant-Appellee.
Before: Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, Richard R. Clifton, and
Sandra S. Ikuta, Circuit Judges.
panel affirmed the district court's judgment, entered
following a jury trial, and affirmed the denial of
plaintiff's post-trial motions in a 42 U.S.C. § 1983
action alleging that plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights
were violated by Honolulu police officers, when following his
arrest on drug charges that were subsequently dropped, he was
improperly detained for approximately 47 hours.
panel held that plaintiff waived any argument that the
district court erred in denying his motion for judgment as a
matter of law and his motion for a new trial brought pursuant
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(b) and 60. The panel held that the
district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the
motion for a new trial brought pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59.
The panel held that because police obtained a probable cause
determination within 48 hours following his arrest, plaintiff
bore the burden at trial to prove that his detention was
unreasonable. The panel agreed with the district court that
the jury's verdict that plaintiff was not unreasonably
detained was not against the clear weight of the evidence.
panel held that the district court did not err by rejecting
three of plaintiff's proposed jury instructions. The
panel determined that the instruction pertaining to a claim
for an unreasonable seizure of property was properly rejected
because the claim was not presented in plaintiff's
second instruction pertaining to defendants' failure to
admit plaintiff to bail was also properly rejected because,
among other things, the panel was not persuaded that a jury
could have found that bail was unnecessarily delayed after
finding that the determination of probable cause was not
unreasonably delayed. Finally, the panel held that the
district court properly rejected plaintiff's proposed
instruction regarding whether plaintiff knew that the drug in
his possession was illegal.
panel held that plaintiff had not established plain error
arising from purported attorney and witness misconduct
because any improper references made by the attorney and
witness were harmless. Finally, the panel held that it was
not error for the court to dismiss, with plaintiff's
agreement, a juror who had threatened another juror.
CLIFTON, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
Rustin Smith brought an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
alleging that his rights under the Fourth Amendment were
violated by police officers employed by Defendant-Appellee
City and County of Honolulu. Specifically, he alleged that
following his arrest on drug charges that were subsequently
dropped, he was improperly detained by the Honolulu police
for approximately 47 hours. The case went to trial, and the
jury returned a verdict in favor of the City and against
Smith. The district court denied Smith's post-trial
motion for judgment as a matter of law or a new trial. Smith
challenges the denial of his post-trial motion and the
rejection of three proposed jury instructions. He also
alleges purported misconduct by defense counsel, defense
witnesses, and the jury. We affirm.
April 6, 2011, Honolulu police obtained a search warrant to
open a suspicious package that had been intercepted at the
UPS Honolulu facility. The package contained 500 packets of
substances labeled "bath salts" and "Spike
Max." Initial testing indicated, but did not confirm,
that the packets contained a drug called
methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), which was illegal in
Hawaii at that time.
days later, on Tuesday, April 12, the police made a
controlled delivery to Smith's home. At 1:40 p.m., after
taking delivery of the package, Smith was arrested without a
warrant for knowing possession of a dangerous drug. A few
hours after Smith's arrest, the police effected
controlled buys of MDPV at two stores owned by Smith. The
police seized evidence from the house and the stores under
Hawaii's forfeiture statute, Haw. Rev. Stat. § 712A.
that day, a police officer completed a sworn application for
a judicial determination of probable cause. A Hawaii state
judge later signed a Judicial Determination of Probable Cause
for the Extended Restraint of Warrantless Arrestee pertaining
to Smith, based on the application. As the determination
itself stated, however, that document was not signed until
8:07 a.m. on Thursday, April 14, the second day following the
arrest. Ordinarily those documents are submitted to the court
and reviewed by a judge by the next morning. The police
officer who testified on this subject at trial did not know
why the probable cause determination for Smith was delayed an
that morning, the police received a lab report that confirmed
that the substances were MDPV and conducted interviews with
two of Smith's employees. At 12:25 p.m., the police
informed Smith of his rights. Smith invoked his right to an
attorney and did not provide a statement. Smith was released
at 12:45 ...