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Showing posts from December, 2010

HSC Distinguishes Wheeler for the dogs

State v. Mita (HSC December 21, 2010)Background.Wanda Mita was charged with animal nuisance (Revised Ordinances of Honolulu § 7-2.3.She was first issued a citation stating that Mita "did own, harbor or keep" two brown boxers, Roxy and Obie, at her home "and did commit the offense of . . . animal nuisance-Sec.: 7-2.3 Barking Dog[.]"The citation also indicated that this was Mita's third nuisance citation.When Mita appeared in court, the prosecutor gave this oral charge:On or about June 3rd, 2008, in the city and county of Honolulu, state of Hawaii, you as the owner of an animal, farm animal, or poultry engaged in animal nuisance as defined in section 7-2.2, thereby violating section 7-2.3 of the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu.Mita objected on the grounds that the charge was insufficient.The district court overruled the objection, and Mita pleaded not guilty.At trial, Mita renewed her objection in a motion for acquittal.The district court denied the motion and fou…

Prior Convictions: Essential Element, not Sentencing Factors

State v. Bryan (ICA November 30, 2010)Background.The State brought two cases against Bryan.In one case, Bryan was charged, among other things, with operating a vehicle while her license was suspended pursuant to a prior OUI offense (HRS § 291E-62) and open container.The license charge went like this:On or about the 3rd day of September, 2004, in the City and County of Honolulu, State of Hawaii, ERIN E. BRYAN, . . . , a person hose license and privilege to operate a vehicle has been revoked, suspended, or otherwise restricted pursuant to [the OUI statutory scheme], did operate or assume actual physical control of any vehicle while her license or privilege to operate a vehicle remained suspended or revoked.In the second case, Bryan was charged with a single count of operating a vehicle after license and privilege have been suspended for operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant.It essentially tracked the same language.It did not include any language about prior conv…