Posts

When the Pleading must Descend into Particulars

State v. Jardine (HSC April 29, 2022) Background. John Keoni Jardine got into a fight with his neighbor and hit him in the head with a baseball bat. The hit caused a “left occipital skull fracture” and “epidural hematoma, pneumocephale.” The prosecution filed a felony information. Here’s how it pleaded assault in the second degree:   On or about August 25, 2019, in the City and County of Honolulu, State of Hawaii, JOHN KEONI JARDINE . . . did intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause substantial bodily injury to Paul Costa, and/or did intentionally or knowingly cause bodily injury to Paul Costa with a dangerous instrument, thereby committing the offense of Assault in the Second Degree, in violation of Section 707-711(1)(a) and/or Section 707-711(1)(d) of the Hawai'i Revised Statutes.   Jardine moved to dismiss the charge on the grounds that the prosecution failed to include the statutory definition of the term “substantial bodily injury.” The circuit court—with the Hon

Executing search warrants on unsheltered people living in tents (and those with double-door entrances) got a little easier

  State v. Keanaaina (HSC March 22, 2022).  Background. Police get a warrant to search Michelle Wright’s tent at an encampment inside the Old Kona Airport Park on the Big Island. The warrant authorized the police to search her campsite and “all rooms, boxes, toolboxes, suitcase, handbags, safes, backpacks, fanny packs, bags, storage containers” and other enclosed things in the camp. The officers get to the camp sight and announce their presence asking everyone to get out of their tents. There were seven separate sites at the time. There was no obvious entrance or exit for Wright’s camp sight, but officers were able to get into the tent without moving materials that formed its walls.   Detective Michael Hardie looked into the tent and saw Wright and Samson Keanaaina asleep on a mattress. He again announced his presence. Wright woke up and got out through an opening on one end of the structure. Keanaaina slept through the police shouting at him. Wright explained he was hard of hearing

Court Cannot base Sentence on Uncharged, Dismissed, or Unadjudicated Conduct

  State  v. Satoafaiga (HSC February 7, 2022) Background. Victoria Satoafaiga was indicted with sexual assault in the third degree, sexual assault in the first degree by way of penetration, attempted sexual assault in the 3d degree, and custodial interference. She reached a plea agreement. Satoafaiga pleaded no contest to the amended charge of sexual assault in the fourth degree and custodial interference as charged. All other counts were dismissed. The circuit court—the Hon. Judge Rhonda I. L. Loo presiding—ordered a presentence investigation and report. Satoafaiga moved to defer her no contest plea.   At the hearing, the circuit court denied the motion. The circuit court reviewed the PSI report and made several comments about the case on the record. The circuit court noted that Satoafaiga was in a position of trust when she committed the offenses. She was a counselor at the Boys and Girls Club and was twice the age of the complainant. The circuit court commented, “I think ever

HSC Weighs in on Difference Between "Public" and "the Public"

  State v. Kaeo (HSC December 29, 2021) Background. Samuel Kaeo went to a base yard in central Maui with other protestors. He linked arms with the protestors and lied down on the road blocking a convoy of trucks bound for the summit of Haleakala. It was a demonstration to protest and temporarily halt construction of a telescope there. About twenty convoy workers were inconvenienced. Police arrested Kaeo and he was charged with disorderly conduct. The district court—the Hon. Judge Blaine Kobayashi—convicted him and sentenced him to pay a fine of $200 and $30 in court fees. Kaeo appealed. The ICAaffirmed, but Judge Karen Nakasone dissented. The HSC accepted the application for certiorari.   The Real Victims of the Disorderly Conduct Offense. A person commits the offense of disorderly conduct when the person, “with the intent to cause physical inconvenience or alarm by a member or members of the public . . ., creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which i

HSC Enforces Deadlines in Forfeiture Proceedings

  Alm v. Eleven (11) Products Direct Sweepstakes Machines, et al. (HSC December 20, 2021) Background. On September 26, 2012, Honolulu Police Department officers got a warrant to search a business called Winner’z Zone to look for gambling-related machines. They find 77 Product Direct Sweepstakes (PDS) machines (which look like this ), cash, and other evidence believed to be related to unlawful gambling. For two years the property was held in police custody before HPD initiated forfeiture proceedings. The criminal investigation was abandoned, but the police held onto the machines. On September 12, 2014, the police generated a new report and report number stating the machines were re-seized for forfeiture purposes.   A week later, the police requested the prosecutor to initiate proceedings to forfeit the machines. On September 22, 2014, the prosecution filed a petition for administrative forfeiture with the Department of Attorney General. A business known as PJY Enterprises, LLC ch

Without a Sworn Statement from the Complainant, the Complaint is Defective

  State v. Thompson (HSC December 10, 2021) Background. Corey Thompson was charged by way of complaint with abuse of a family or household member. HRS § 709-906. The complaint was signed by a prosecutor and had no other signatures on it. The prosecution did not attach a declaration or any affidavit to the complaint. The family court clerk issued a penal summons demanding Thompson’s presence in Kona district court.   Thompson moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that there was no affidavit establishing probable cause that he committed the offense and there was no declaration or sworn affidavit pursuant to HRS § 805-1. Without an affidavit or declaration, the prosecution could not arraign him pursuant to Hawai'i Rules of Penal Procedure (HRPP) Rule 5(b)(1). The family court (Hon. Judge Ronald Ibarra) granted the motion and dismissed the case without prejudice. The prosecution appealed. The ICA, in a published opinion, vacated the dismissal order. Thompson petitioned f

Domestic Violence Intervention Classes can only be Ordered as Condition of Probation

  State v. Agdinaoay (HSC November 30, 2021) Background. Artemio Agdinaoay pleaded no contest to the offense of violating a temporary restraining order. The sentencing court—with the Hon. Judge Matthew Viola presiding—ordered Agdinaoay to serve 181 days jail and complete the domestic violence intervention classes (DVI). He appealed the sentence. The ICA affirmed and the HSC accepted his petition for writ of certiorari.   Four Types of Sentencing Dispositions (and DVI isn’t one). The HSC agreed with Agdinaoay that the sentence was unlawful. Criminal sentencing is governed by Hawai'i Revised Statutes (HRS) Chapter 706. “No sentence shall be imposed otherwise in accordance with this chapter.” HRS § 706-600. There are only four types of sentencing dispositions: probation, fines, imprisonment, and community service. HRS § 706-605.   The HSC pointed out that DVI classes are not among the four dispositions; it may be imposed as a condition of probation. HRS § 706-624(2). The HS