Showing posts from January, 2012

Extensive Testimony on Speedometer Tests Holds (Fitz)water

State v. Eid (HSC January 26, 2012) Background. Hatem Eid was charged with excessive speeding. HRS § 291C-105(a)(1). At trial, the prosecution called Roy and Duane Ozaki as expert witnesses. The Ozakis owned and operated Roy's Automotive. They are licensed automotive mechanics and certified automobile technicians. Roy Ozaki testified that only he and Duane perform speed checks cars for HPD. At trial, Roy explained that to check the accuracy of the speed of a car, with a method called the speedometer dynamometer. He places the car on a bed of rollers. A cable connects the rollers to a master head with a speedometer. The car is started and rolls on the rollers, which causes the cable to give a reading to the master head. No computer software is involved. During this test, the speedometer in the vehicle is compared with the reading on the master head. Roy compares the reading at 10-mile-per-hour increments from 25 mph to 95 mph. Roy further testified that in 2007, he noticed th

Prosecution must Disclose Name, Address of Witness to Rebut Alibi Defense (even if he was Initially an Alibi Witness)

State v. Valeros (HSC January 27, 2012) Background. Brandon Valeros was charged with assault in the 2d degree. HRS § 707-711(1)(d). Valeros allegedly beat Kenneth Ring with a collapsible metal baton outside Exotic Nights, a stripclub near Ward Avenue and Halekauwila Street on November 6, 2006. Before trial, Valeros filed a notice of alibi pursuant to Hawai'i Rules of Penal Procedure Rule 12.1. The prosecution, pursuant to the rule, responded that it would rely on Ring and his friend, who was with Ring when he was assault at 2:20 a.m. Valeros further responded that at that date and time, he was in the Club Electro parking lot in Pearl City with Jamison Benavides and Timothy Santiago. Valeros provided their contact information. During pretrial, Valeros reported having a hard time getting in contact with Santiago. In the meantime, the prosecution's investigator found Santiago in Kalihi and Santiago told the investigator a statement that rebutted the alibi defense. The inves

Resurrecting a Property-Based Fourth Amendment Analysis

United States v. Jones (SCOTUS January 23, 2012) Background. Antoine Jones owned and operated a nightclub in the District of Columbia. He was suspected by the FBI and the DC police of trafficking narcotics. The police used a bevy of investigative techniques like visual surveillance of the nightclub, cameras at the door of the club, a pen register and a wire tap of Mr. Jones' phone. The government applied for a warrant to install on Jones' Jeep Grand Cherokee an electronic tracking device or Global Positioning System (GPS). The warrant authorized installation of the device in DC and was limited to 10 days. Eleven days after the warrant was issued the government installed the device in the State of Maryland. For the next 28 days, the government tracked the vehicle. During that time, the government replaced the battery of the GPS in a public parking lot in Maryland. The government ultimately brought charges of cocaine trafficking. Jones filed a motion to suppress the eviden

Allegations of Constitutional Violations STILL have to go Through the HLRB

HSTA v. Abercrombie (HSC January 17, 2012) Background. During her last term, Governor Lingle issued a unilateral executive order that furloughed all state employees, restricted spending by the Department of Education, and the University of Hawai'i. The Hawai'i State Teachers Association and the United Public Workers union filed a complaint alleging that the executive order violated the right of public employees to organize under Hawai'i Constitution Art. XIII, Sec. 2, the right to accrued retirement benefits under Haw. Const. Art. XVI, sec. 2, and a violation of the separation of powers. The unions moved for a temporary restraining order, which the circuit court granted in part. Lingle filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the Hawai'i Labor Relations Board (HLRB) had exclusive jurisdiction over these matters pursuant to HRS chapter 89. The circuit court rejected the argument, and concluded that the management rights pursuant to HRS § 89-9(d) did not allow L

Defendants can Argue that the Settled Tortfeasor is Solely Responsible

Adams v. Yokooji (ICA January 13, 2012) Background. One night in Kailua Stephen Adams got out of a taxi cab and was crossing Kalanianaole Highway in a crosswalk in order to catch the bus when he was hit by a car driven by Robynn Yokooji. Adams' estate sued Yokooji, the Department of Transportation, and Luteru Manu, the taxi driver. Adams claimed that the DOT owed a duty to properly design and maintain the crosswalk and roadway and breached that duty. Adams settled with Yokooji and Manu, and prepared for trial against the DOT. Adams filed a motion in limine; the motion sought an order precluding the DOT from introducing evidence to establish or infer liability or negligence of the settled defendants. The circuit court granted the motion and prohibited the DOT from using any evidence or arguing that the accident was entirely caused by the settled defendants. During the opening statements, Adams said that the DOT's maintenance of lighting, traffic signs, and crosswalk signa

A Known or Obvious Danger is not a Defense in Premises Liability Action (Anymore)

Steigman v. Outrigger Enterprises (HSC December 15, 2011) Background. Michele Steigman and her family were guests at the Ohana Surf hotel in Honolulu. One rainy afternoon, Steigman went onto the lanai of their hotel room to get a chair. She slipped on the surface of the lanai and injured her foot when it got stuck under the railing. She brought a negligence claim against the hotel under a theory of premises liability. At trial, Steigman presented expert testimony that the lanai's surface had substandard "friction coefficiency." Her daughter testified that the lanai was glossy and hard to tell if it was wet or dry. An Outrigger employee testified about a similar slip and fall on a lanai at the hotel. Outrigger argued to the jury that the injury was caused entirely by Steigman's own negligence. According to Outrigger, the wet lanai was a known or obvious danger. Over Steigman's objection, Outrigger proposed that the circuit court instruct the jury that a &quo