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Showing posts from May, 2013

HPA has to Disclose Adverse Info. and Notify Inmate Before Min. Term Hearing

De la Garza v. State (HSC May 10, 2013) Background. Cheyne de la Garza pleaded no contest to a single count of assault in the first degree (HRS § 707-710(1)) and kidnapping as a class B felony (HRS § 707-720(3)). The complainant was a person with whom De la Garza had a romantic relationship. The circuit court sentenced De la Garza to ten years prison with both counts running concurrently.
The Hawaii Paroling Authority held a hearing to determine De la Garza’s minimum term of imprisonment before he would be eligible for parole. Before the hearing, the HPA obtained the pre-sentence investigation report and a letter from the prosecutor’s office that recommended a minimum term. No one—not the prosecutor, the defense counsel, or even De la Garza—attended the hearing. Afterwards, the HPA ordered a minimum term of 18 months for each count. The level of punishment, according to the HPA guidelines (click here for the guidelines), was set at Level II.
One month later, the HPA received a letter fro…

HSC Equates "Completion" with Probation with "Compliance"

State v. Pali (HSC May 21, 2013) Background. Lisa Ann Pali was sentenced to five years of probation for promoting a detrimental drug in the third degree and paraphernalia. She was sentenced as a first-time drug offender pursuant to HRS § 706-622.5. After she finished the period of her probation, she received a certificate of discharge stating that she has been “relieved of any obligations imposed by the order of the court and . . . satisfied the disposition of the court[.]” About a week later, she moved to expunge her arrest pursuant to HRS § 706-622.5. The prosecution opposed on the grounds that while she was on probation, she was convicted of theft in the fourth degree, operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant, contempt of court, and driving without a license. The circuit court denied the motion on the grounds that she did not comply with the terms of her probation because she had been convicted of the misdemeanor offenses. Pali appealed. On appeal, the prosecut…

Putting Teeth in the Right to (Retained) Counsel

State v. Cramer (HSC April 29, 2013) Background. Stephen Cramer was charged with up to seven drug-related offenses and entered the Maui Drug Court Program. He participated in the program for about 18 months before the prosecution filed a motion to terminate him. The circuit court granted the motion and terminated Cramer from the program. At a “stipulated-facts” trial, the prosecution presented an admission to the offenses from Cramer’s petition into the program. Cramer was found guilty.
At the sentencing hearing, Hayden Aluli appeared for Cramer on the condition that he be “given the opportunity to effectively prepare.” Aluli asked for a three-week continuance. The prosecutor was ready for sentencing. The motion for continuance was denied because the requests were untimely. Aluli did not enter his appearance and Cramer remained with the public defender. The public defender asked the circuit court if it had received a substance abuse assessment. The court had not and wanted to review it …