Posts

Showing posts from April, 2019

Laches Can't Stop a Rule 40 Petition

Akau v. State (HSC March 5, 2019) Background. Timmy Hyun Kyu Akau was convicted for driving while under the influence of an intoxicant in 1987. Twenty five years later, in 2013, he petitioned the district court pursuant to HRPP Rule 40 to set aside the conviction. The district court held an evidentiary hearing to determine the merits of the petition.
At the end of the hearing, the district court issued its findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order denying the petition. The district court found that Akau was arrested and charged with DUI on July 26, 1987. Two days later he appeared in the district court, Ewa Division, and pleaded not guilty. He was referred to the Office of the Public Defender and trial was set on December 23, 1987. On the day of trial he appeared without counsel and asked for a continuance so he could get an attorney. The continuance as denied. He was found guilty and convicted. He was sentenced to pay a fine, take a class, and his license was suspended for 90 day…

The Flip Side of the Tachibana Coin

State v. Torres (HSC April 10, 2019) Background. Rinaldo Torres was indicted with robbery in the first degree and terroristic threatening in the first degree. Five days before trial, Torres submitted a form titled “Waiver of Indictment/Trial by Jury.” The form was signed by Torres and indicated a desire to waive his right to a jury trial and consent to a trial by the court without a jury. Prior to trial, the circuit court announced that Torres indicated that he wished to waive his right to a jury trial.
The circuit court questioned Torres in open court about this waiver. The judge asked if Torres signed the waiver form. Torres said he did. He asked if he went over the form with his lawyer. Yes, said Torres. He also asked if he understood the form. “I believe I did. Yeah.” The judge questioned Torres if he understood his right to a jury trial, the right to select a jury, the right to a unanimous verdict, and the right to question potential jurors. Torres said he understood. He also asked…

Gotti, Manson, and what not to do when Prosecuting

State v. Pasene (HSC April 22, 2019) Background. During the early morning hours of March 28, 2009, Iosefa Pasene, Cedro Muna, and Antonius Paul Toloai were released from custody. Pasene and Muna were dressed alike and had similar physical characteristics. At around 4:00 a.m., Joseph Peneuete and several others gathered outside of the Pauahi Recreational Center in Chinatown. A blue Buick sedan drove up to the group and stopped in front of them. Two men with guns moved to Peneuete and shot him several times. He died. Two hours later a blue Buick sedan was reported on fire just outside of Wahiawa. Pasene was indicted for murder in the 2d degree and carrying or using a firearm in the commission of a separate felony. He went to trial twice, but they resulted in hung juries and mistrials.
The prosecution’s theory was that Pasene was the killer and not Muna because Muna was in a taxi cab heading to the Plaza Hotel at the time of the shooting. Detectives also ruled out Muna after watching some …