Showing posts from July, 2019

Confront Away, Counsel

State v. Brown (HSC July 25, 2019) Background. Walter Brown was charged with assault in the second degree. The charges stemmed from a fight with his adult daughter. The complainant was also charged with assaulting Brown’s wife (her stepmother). Before trial Brown filed an intent to present evidence that his daughter had been violent, disruptive, and dangerous in the past. The evidence included the fact that she was charged with harassment, terroristic threatening in the second degree—which was later amended to harassment pursuant to a plea agreement, abuse of a family or household member—which was later amended to assault in the third degree, and that she was on probation. Brown also wanted to present evidence that she was charged with assaulting Brown’s wife. The prosecution objected by filing a motion in limine. The Hon. Judge Edward Kubo granted the motion in part. The circuit court would not admit evidence that the complainant was facing assault charges against Brown’s wi

Maintaining Innocence can Never Justify a Sentence

State v. Barnes (HSC June 6, 2019) Background. A jury convicted Ronald Barnes of four counts of sexual assault in the first degree with regard to one minor and one count of sexual assault in the first degree with regard to a different minor. These offenses carry a 20 year prison term per count. The prosecution moved to seek consecutive terms and conditions of imprisonment. At the sentencing hearing, the prosecution argued that consecutive terms were justified due to the seriousness of the crimes and the fact that there were two minors. Barnes objected and argued that nothing in his personal history showed that he was a sexual predator. Barnes also informed the sentencing court he would not be making any statement as he intended to appeal the case. The court—in which the Hon. Judge Karen Ahn presided—demanded that she “just need[s] it from your mouth. You have every right to say what you wish before sentencing. Do you wish to say anything?” Barnes’s response was brief: “Not in t