Deputy Prosecutor Lucas Burns

So many of you have expressed how much you’ve enjoyed Carrie’s recorded meeting with Deputy Prosecutor Lucas Burns, but, you ask, who is he? Here’s what we know.

Lucas Burns worked as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney with the Kaua`i Office of the Prosecuting Attorney (OPA) from Oct. 1, 2009, to March 31, 2011. He resigned from Kaua`i OPA to join Hawai`i County OPA. Now that seems like a normal, benign enough professional transition. Well, not really.

Apparently, Lucas was uncomfortable at Kaua`i OPA and the events leading to Lucas’ departure read like a Telenovela Satire. Ironically, Lucas’ discomfort stems from his then superior, First Deputy Prosecutor Jake Delaplane, asking Lucas to ILLEGALLY record a crime victim in order to get potential criminal information on a third party, Councilman Tim Bynum. Eventually, Lucas had to testify against his superiors. As Joan Conrow, blogger at kauaieclectic.blogspot.com reported,

Lucas Burns testified he was working as a deputy prosecutor when Jake asked him to contact Victory Yokotake, who had been assaulted by another woman while living at Tim’s house. He said Jake coached him to use the assault case as a guise for asking questions about the layout of Tim’s house and the location of various appliances, which could be evidence of a zoning violation. And all the while, Lucas would be surreptitiously tape recording the conversation.

The plot was foiled when Lucas refused to play along. “I thought it was inappropriate to secretly tape record and try to come up with reasons why these questions were being asked when it was really to investigate Mr. Bynum,” he told the court. “I thought doing this with a hidden tape recorder and without the full knowledge of the victim was inappropriate and not something the first deputy should be doing.” (link Here)

So, Lucas “thought it was inappropriate to secretly tape record”, but apparently did not realize that it’s illegal! He’s been through law school and he doesn’t realize it’s illegal? He’s working as a Prosecutor, putting citizens in prison for violating the law, and yet seems to be unknowledgeable of this little thing called a Warrant? What about Probable Cause, do you know what that is Prosecutor Burns?

Just a few short months after the Kaua`i farce Lucas is once again faced with, in his meeting with Carrie, who does and does not have the right to record. Once again he gets it wrong and displays his complete lack of knowledge (or is it disregard) of Law 101.

OK Lucas, for a kindergarten primer on recording, read the first sentence of Haw. Rev. Stat. § 803-42(b)(3)(A) It shall not be unlawful under this part for a person not acting under color of law… , do you understand what it says? I added the bolding to help you out. When it’s not unlawful for someone to do something, that’s the same as saying it is perfectly legal to do it. Now, an example of when someone is acting under the color of law would be a Prosecutor is investigating and gathering evidence of a crime that may have been committed. That Prosecutor would need a Warrant to secretly record. To get a Warrant the Prosecutor would need to show probable cause to a Judge. See how that works? If you’re having trouble understanding this, just ask the first 10 year old you pass on the street, I’m sure they’ll be able to explain it to you.

Please take the time to learn the laws on recording and wiretapping because if your plan on continuing at Hawai`i OPA, trust me, you will run into this issue again. I also suggest you learn about citizen’s right to record public officials, you can start with Glick.

4 responses to “Deputy Prosecutor Lucas Burns

  1. What Lucas Burns was asked to do is not illegal. See HRS Section 803-42(b)(4), which states, “It shall not be unlawful under this part for a person acting under color of law to intercept a wire, oral, or electronic communication, when the person is a party to the communication or one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to the interception.” A law enforcement officer, acting under his authority, may secretly record a conversation with another as long as the law enforcement officer is a party to the conversation. This website should be more thorough in its legal research, and more responsible with its posts.

  2. Hawaii is a one-party consent state for it’s CITIZENS, not anyone acting under color of law. What Lucas Burns was asked to do was illegal as he clearly would have been acting under color of law (i.e., investigating a “potential crime”). The law is clear in stating a person NOT ACTING UNDER COLOR OF LAW. A prosecutor IS unquestionably, without a doubt, ACTING UNDER COLOR OF LAW under the circumstances borne out by the testimony of DPA Lucas Burns.

    • What Lucas Burns was asked to do is not illegal. See HRS Section 803-42(b)(4), which states, “It shall not be unlawful under this part for a person acting under color of law to intercept a wire, oral, or electronic communication, when the person is a party to the communication or one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to the interception.” A law enforcement officer, acting under his authority, may secretly record a conversation with another as long as the law enforcement officer is a party to the conversation. This website should be more thorough in its legal research, and more responsible with its posts.

  3. In Hawaii only one person who is part of a conversation need assent to that conversation being recorded, and you don’t have to tell the other participants that it is being recorded. Therefore, it wasn’t illegal. But it is definitely a scary thing for a prosecutor to be suggesting, and outrageously unethical.

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