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Showing posts from May, 2020

HSC Extends Right to Counsel (and a Deadline) in Proceedings Before the HSC

State v. Uchima (HSC May 19, 2020) Background. Jason Uchima was charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant. He moved to suppress evidence seized by the police after he was arrested, including all of his statements to the police. he argued that while in custody he was ordered to get out of his vehicle and participate in field sobriety tests. This constituted a custodial interrogation and he should have been apprised of his Miranda warnings. The motion was denied and he was found guilty. Uchima appealed and the ICA affirmed. The ICA’s judgment on appeal as issued on March 19, 2018. After requesting an extension, the deadline to file the application for petition of a writ of certiorari became May 18, 2018. Uchima filed his application six days after the deadline along with a motion to accept the untimely application. In the motion Uchima explained that he failed to correctly calendar to the deadline. It was either a “computer system error or his c

"Restraint" for Kidnapping must be more than Incidental to Committing Another Crime

State v. Sheffield (HSC January 2, 2020) Background. David Sheffield was charged with kidnapping in violation of HRS § 707-720(1)(d) and assault in the third degree. Before trial, the prosecution dropped the assault count. At trial, the complainant testified that she was a student at the University of Hawai'i Maui College. One night in November she left the campus and thought she missed her bus that would take her upcountry. She walked toward the highway to hitchhike. As she walked down Alamaha Street she heard a voice yelling at her to “come hang out.” She ignored it. She went to a store to get a cigarette lighter and when she came out, she heard the voice again asking her to stop and wait. Sheffield approached her and asked for a cigarette. She refused. He followed her and asked her to come over to his house. She did not feel threatened by him, but noticed he was getting more aggressive. She kept walking and he kept trying to stop her. He then ran in front of her and sai

A Meditation on Rule 403 and Rejecting the "Impact Testimony" Theory

State v. Gallagher (HSC May 15, 2020) Background. John Gallagher went to trial on a single count of criminal property damage in the 2d degree. He was accused of damaging a vehicle parked in the drive way of the complainant's home. The theory at trial was that he did not intent or know that the damage he caused to the vehicle was in excess of $1,500. Before trial, Gallagher filed a motion in limine seeking the exclusion of evidence that prior to the day of the alleged damage, the complainants had been stalked, harassed, and terrorized by Gallagher. They filed restraining orders, installed cameras, and a security surveillance system around the house. The prosecution maintained that the evidence was admissible pursuant to HRE Rule 404(b) and were not used to show Gallagher’s propensity to commit the crime. The motion in limine was denied. In her opening statement, the prosecutor said the complainants called the police on Gallagher several times in the months leading up to the

Medical Rule-Out Questions Arise to a Custodial Interrogation

State v. Tiana Sagapolutele-Silva (ICA April 8, 2020) Background. Tiana Sagapolutele-Silva was charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant. She filed a motion to suppress evidence flowing from the traffic stop. The evidence presented at the hearing showed that she was stopped by the police for speeding. Officer Franchot Termeteet used his laser device to clock her going 77 mph in a 45 mph zone. She also drifted between lanes and changed lanes without a signaling. Officer Termeteet pulled her over. When he approached the vehicle he noticed the smell of liquor coming from Sagapolutele-Silva’s breath. He also saw she had red, watery, and glassy eyes. He asked her if she would be willing to participate in the standardized field sobriety test. She agreed. She was not free to leave while a second officer arrived. Officer Bobby Ilae took over the investigation. He asked Sagapolutele-Silva eight, standardized and preliminary questions, known as the “med

Gratuitous References to CPS in the Opening Statement Amount to Prosecutorial Misconduct

State v. Willams (HSC January 3, 2020) Background. Patrick Williams was charged with assault in the second degree. The complainant was Williams’s son, who had broken his leg. Williams filed a motion in limine seeking the exclusion of any references to the investigation and case by the Child Welfare Services and the Department of Human Services. The family court granted the motion. At trial, the prosecutor presented an opening statement: [Y]ou will find out that [the complainant, a minor] is subsequently transferred to another family and reunited with his mother.           You’ll meet Detective Melvin Raquedan, who assists with the transfer of custody. You’ll also meet social worker Robert Asato, who aids in the transfer from Tripler Army Medical Center after [the boy] is treated and released and how he is ultimately reunited down the road with his mother. Williams did not object. During the presentation of evidence, however, Williams objected to evidence about the “transf