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HSC Vacates Conviction that Might be Based on the Imaginary Offense of Attempted Manslaughter

  Stanley v. State (HSC January 5, 2021) Background. In 1988, Edward Stanley was involved with the police in a shootout with the police and others. He was indicted with four counts of attempted murder in the first degree and one count of attempted murder in the second degree. At trial, the judge acquitted Stanley of one of the attempted murder in the first degree counts and allowed the rest to go to the jury for consideration.   In the trial court’s instructions to the jury, the court explained that if they could not find that attempted murder in the first or second degree was proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the jurors had to consider the included offense of attempted manslaughter. The court instructed that attempted manslaughter is the attempt to “recklessly cause the death of another person.” The court in the same jury instruction also explained that is a defense to murder of either degree that “reduces the offense to attempted manslaughter” when the defendant was “under the

Insanity Defense Includes Meth Psychosis and Other Permanent Disorders Caused by Drug Abuse

  State v. Abion (HSC December 29, 2020) Background. Ramoncito Abion was charged with assault in the 2d degree. Prior to trial, Abion moved for an examination to determine his fitness to stand trial and his penal responsibility. One of the examiners, Dr. Martin Blinder , concluded that at the time of the assault, Mr. Abion was suffering from a disorder that precluded penal responsibility. Dr. Blinder believed that the disorder was caused by prolonged methamphetamine use. The prosecution moved to preclude Dr. Blinder from testifying at trial on the grounds that his testimony was irrelevant.   The prosecution argued that self-induced intoxication is excluded from the lack-of-penal-responsibility defense and that Dr. Blinder’s testimony would be irrelevant. At the hearing, Dr. Blinder expanded on his opinion. He diagnosed Abion with methamphetamine psychosis. Dr. Blinder explained that methamphetamine can cause “structural changes in the brain” that will render someone “periodicall

Assault in the Second Degree with a Dangerous Instrument and the Included Offense of Reckless Endangering in the Second Degree

  State v. Manuel (HSC December 23, 2020) Background. Welden Manuel was charged with assault in the second degree by knowingly or intentionally causing bodily injury with a dangerous instrument. At trial, Lianel Dison, the complainant, testified that one night he was at Pier 38 in Honolulu getting ready to set out on a fishing trip. He saw Manuel pass by on a bike. Manuel then called out to Dison toward a dark bathroom area on the pier. He testified that he could see Manuel had bloodshot eyes, slurred his words, and smelled of alcohol. Dison walked over and Manuel asked him “why I do that.” Dison responded, “did what?” Dison tried to walk away when Manuel hit him on the head. Dison turned around saw Manuel open a folding knife with a three-inch blade and click into place. Dison testified that Manuel stabbed him in the chest and said, “That’s what you get.” He tried to ride off on his bike, but Dison grabbed it and pulled it way. They struggled for control of the bike when Manuel sli

Presenting a Baffling Traffic Abstract Without an Explanation Violates Due Process

  Wolcott v. Administrative Director of the Courts, State of Hawai'i (HSC December 21, 2020) Background. Justin Wolcott was arrested for operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant. Wolcott refused to submit his blood or breath for chemical testing to determine his blood-alcohol concentration. Because he refused, the police informed of the following:   If you refuse to take any tests and your record to operate a vehicle shows three or more prior alcohol or drug enforcement contacts during the ten years preceding the date the notice of administrative revocation was issued, your license and privilege to operate a vehicle will be revoked for ten years.   Wolcott was informed that an “alcohol enforcement contact” meant any revocation order, a conviction for OUI in Hawai'i or any other jurisdiction. Wolcott signed the acknowledgement.   Weeks later the Administrative Driver’s License Revocation Office conducted a review of the case and revoked Wolco

Regulatory Takings Claims Controlled by Six-Year Statute of Limitations

  DW Aina Le‘a Development, LLC v. Land Use Commission (HSC December 17, 2020) Background. The Hawai'i Land Use Commission reclassified 1,060 acres of land in South Kohala on the Big Island from agricultural to urban. In exchange for the reclassification allowing development, the LUC required that some of the development be deemed “affordable” and imposed other conditions. In 2008, the LUC issued a show-cause order to the landowner to show why certain conditions were not met. The landowner sold the property to DW Aina Le‘a Development, LLC, which invested more than $28 million in development. The LUC then reclassified the land back to agricultural. The HSC vacated the reclassification order on other grounds. In 2011, DW filed a lawsuit against the LUC on the grounds that its reclassification was an unconstitutional taking in violation of the federal and Hawai'i constitutions. The LUC moved proceedings to federal court and moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that th

When the Lower Court Can Order the ICA to Vacate a Judgment

  Villados v. State (HSC December 9, 2020) Background. Albert Villados was convicted of promoting a dangerous drug in the second degree. The circuit court—Hon. Judge Shackley Raffetto—used the conviction in a combination of other cases and sentenced him to a total of 35 years in prison. Villados appealed to the ICA. The ICA affirmed with a summary disposition order. After the issuance of the order, but before the ICA issued its judgment on appeal, Villados wrote to his appellate counsel expressing his desire to seek review by the HSC. Counsel wrote back that she would not because she found no basis to apply for review. She did write that she would have another look at the ICA’s decision. Counsel wrote another letter indicating that she changed her mind and would write up a writ of certiorari. About a month later she wrote a third letter indicating that she had not filed an application for writ of certiorari and that the deadline had passed. She decided after reviewing the ICA’s deci

Court Fees at Sentencing Limited to Defendant who can pay at Sentencing

  State v. Pulgados (ICA October 30, 2020) Background. Desmond Pulgados was prosecuted for property and drug offenses in six separate cases. He and the prosecution reached a plea agreement in which Pulagdos would plead no contest to sixteen offenses and the parties agreed to recommend probation. The circuit court—the Hon. Judge Rhonda I. L. Loo presiding—sentenced Pulgados to prison for ten years instead, imposed restitution in the amount of $906.99, fined him $500, and two imposed fees: the crime victim compensation fee in the total amount of $1,575 and the internet crimes against children at $1,500.   Pulgados moved to waive the fees on the grounds that he could not afford to pay them. Pulgados argued there was a “presumption of indigency” based on his qualification for representation by the Office of the Public Defender and that presumption had not been rebutted at sentencing. At the hearing on the motion, Pulgados testified that he had no income, savings, checking account, r