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Showing posts from June, 2013

Youthful Offender Statute Trumps Sentencing Under Meth Trafficking

State v. Casugay-Badiang (HSC June 19, 2013) Background. Rubin Ikoa Casugay-Badiang pleaded guilty to two counts of methamphetamine trafficking in the second degree, class B felonies. HRS § 712-1240.8. Each count carried a penalty of an indeterminate term of ten years prison, a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of one to four years, and a fine up to $10,000. At sentencing, the parties agreed that because he had no prior arrests or convictions and because he was a young adult defendant pursuant to HRS § 706-667, Casugay-Badiang should face only the one-year mandatory minimum term. The circuit court disagreed and raised the issue as to whether it had the discretion to sentence without a mandatory minimum based on language in the young-adult-defendant statute. Under the young-adult defender statute, the circuit court reduced the ten years to five and imposed the one year of a mandatory minimum. The prosecution filed a motion to correct the illegal sentence on the grounds that the cir…

Nothing Criminal in Breaching a Contract

State v. Atwood (HSC June 3, 2013) Background. Terrance Atwood was indicted with one count of theft in the first degree. HRS § 708-830.5. The prosecution presented an indictment before the grand jury. Witnesses testified that Atwood entered into a contract to remodel a bathroom in a Kihei home in exchange for $89,394. Atwood went to work. In the middle of the job, the homeowner learned that Atwood was not a licensed contractor, but nonetheless kept him on the job because he had already paid him. However, due to a dispute over the purchasing of certain materials, the homeowner fired Atwood before the job was finished and another contractor finished the job. The grand jury returned a true bill alleging theft in the first degree and an unlicensed activity charge (a misdemeanor). HRS § 436B-27.
Atwood moved to dismiss the indictment on the grounds that there was no probable cause to sustain the charge. He argued that the prosecution failed to prove that there was no evidence showing that At…

HSC Resolves Medical Marijuana Loophole in Favor of Defendant

State v. Woodhall (HSC May 31, 2013) Background. Geoffrey Woodhall was charged with a single count of knowingly possessing marijuana in violation of promoting a detrimental drug in the third degree. HRS § 712-1249(1). Apparently, Woodhall was arrested after marijuana was found in a plastic baggie at the airport in Kona even though Woodhall had a medical marijuana registry card. Woodhall filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the medical marijuana laws protected him from transporting the marijuana. According to Woodhall, the only prohibited use was ingesting the drug in public. The prosecution objected and urged the court to strictly construe the statutes.
Just before trial, the parties stipulated a number of facts: Woodhall knowingly possessed 2.12 grams of marijuana at the Kona airport in a clear, plastic baggie. The airport is a public place. Woodhall had a valid medical marijuana certificate. The marijuana was discovered at the TSA checkpoint. Woodhall was not ingesting the ma…