Showing posts from July, 2020

The Constitutional Dimension of the Insanity Defense Requires Colloquy and Waiver of Defense Before Trial

State v. Glenn (HSC June 30, 2020) Background. Michael Glenn was charged with terroristic threatening in the first degree. Glenn filed a motion to determine fitness to proceed and penal responsibility. The motion was granted and three examiners were appointed to determine his mental capacity and opine on whether he had penal responsibility at the time of the offense. Two of the three examiners found that he was unfit to proceed and that he lacked penal responsibility. Dr. Marvin Acklin, Ph.D. disagreed. He determined that Glenn “appeared” fit and that he was not mentally ill at the time of the offense. At the first hearing, the parties stipulated to the findings in all three reports. Counsel did state on the record that Glenn did not agree with the majority findings that he was unfit to proceed. The circuit court with the Hon. Judge Richard Perkins presiding committed Glenn to the Director of the Department of Health for detention, care, and treatment. Glenn was placed at the Hawai&

Cumulative Effect of Eight Improper Statements by Prosecutor Result in New Trial

State v. Conroy (HSC July 1, 2020) Background. Sean Conroy was on trial for assault in the first degree. The prosecution presented evidence at trial that back in 2011 Conroy and his wife got into an argument at their apartment parking lot in Kihei, Maui. The argument resulted in them struggling over the car keys to her Camaro. The complainant testified that Conroy punched her in the face with both fists and she lost consciousness. She could not remember the number of times she was actually hit. She denied hitting Conroy first and denied kicking Conroy. A picture of the complainant taken six months before the fight and a photograph after the fight were admitted into evidence. The complainant testified that in the pre-fight picture she could smile without a problem but afterwards she could “only smile with half” of her face. She also testified about having nightmares about the incident and it affected her memory. Conroy presented evidence in his defense. He even testified that his wif

Police Officers Can't Testify if the Driver was "Intoxicated" in Drunk Driving Trials

State v. Jones (HSC June 30, 2020) Background. Maxwell Jones was arrested and charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant. The prosecution’s sole witness at trial was HPD Joshua Officer Wong. Officer Wong testified that one a summer night at around 3:15 a.m. he was on patrol waiting at a red light on Keeaumoku Street when he heard the roaring of a car engine and saw a sedan running a red light. He followed the vehicle and pulled over the driver. When he approached the window he could smell the “strong odor of alcohol” from the driver’s breath. It was Jones. According to Officer Wong, Jones had slurred speech and red, bloodshot eyes. Officer Wong asked for Jones’s license, registration, and insurance. Jones fumbled with his wallet and his license fell onto his lap. Officer Wong asked Jones if he would participate in the standardized field sobriety tests. Jones said he was not drinking that night, but he would participate. Officer Wong testified he had admi

Competent Counsel, Hearsay Exceptions, and the Cutoff for New Rules in Cases

State v. Means (HSC June 29, 2020) Background. Mark Means was prosecuted for shoplifting from Sears at the Queen Kaahumanu Shopping Center in Kahului, Maui. The prosecution filed the charging document on September 8, 2015 for an incident that occurred on September 2, 2015. At trial, the prosecution called Arthur Wake, an “asset protection manager” at Sears. Wake testified that he saw Means through security cameras carrying items like a tent and tools throughout the store. He watched him walk out of the store. Wake stopped him in the parking lot. He identified himself and asked him to put the items back. Means put them on the ground and walked away. Wake called the police and reported the incident. Wake testified he took the recovered items back into the store and took pictures of the items. His pictures were admitted as evidence at trial. The pictures do not show any tags or labels indicating the sales price or value. He did testify that there was “spider wrap” on one of the items

A New Way to Read Rule 48 and Introducing Spoliation Remedy to Brady Violations

State v. Alkire (HSC June 25, 2020) Background. Lisa Alkire was driving her red jeep during the early morning hours in October on the Likelike Highway when she was pulled over the police and arrested for driving under the influence of an intoxicant. She was taken to the Kalihi police station. Five days later, her lawyer faxed a request to preserve various materials to the HPD Central Receiving Division. The letter requested video and audio recordings that may contain evidence of the case. It listed Alkire’s information, date of arrest, citation number, and State ID booking number. The request was also cc’d to the prosecutor’s office. The next day, counsel faxed Central Receiving an addendum that specifically requested to preserve video from the Kalihi police station. That too was cc’d to the prosecutor’s office. Hard copies were mailed to the prosecutor’s office, Central Receiving, and the main HPD Headquarters. Alkire was charged on November 1, 2016. Alkire filed a motion to comp

Refusing to Reenact Something is the Equivalent to Invoking the Right to Remain Silent

State v. Beaudet-Close (HSC June 24, 2020) Background. One night in Kailua-Kona, Anthony Beaudet-Close got into an altercation with Luke Ault. Ault was severely injured with life-threatening injuries. Beaudet-Close turned himself into the police and while he was held in police custody, he met with Detective Walter Ah Mow. Det. Ah Mow advised Beaudet-Close of his right to remain silent, his right to counsel, and his right to refuse answering any questions. Beaudet-Close said he was willing to talk to him. He told Det. Ah Mow he was on foot when Ault approached him with a knife. Ault said “there you are, we got some shit to settle.” He lunged at him with the knife. Beaudet-Close kicked and punched Ault and got the knife out of his hand. He admitted to kicking Ault seven to eight times, including two or three kicks to the head. He said he never met Ault before, but he heard Ault was on the lookout for him because of Beaudet-Close’s ex-girlfriend. Det. Ah Mow asked Beaudet-Close if he

Good Morning. It's the Police. Open Up, Please.

State v. Naeole (HSC June 22, 2020) Background. Dawn Naeole lived on Oahu. One morning at around 6:00 a.m., sixteen police officers surrounded her home wearing militaristic uniforms, shields, body armor, and helmets. They were armed with an M4 rifle and a sidearm, a Glock 21. They had a warrant to search Naeole’s house. Officer Stephen Roe later testified at a motion to suppress hearing that he approached the front door and initiated the “knock and announce” procedure—knock three times and make an announcement. Officer Roe testified that it went like this: (Knocks) Police. We have a search warrant. Open the door now. (Knocks.). Police We have a search warrant. Open the door now. (Knocks.) Police. We have a search warrant. Open the door now. There was no response after the first two knock-and-announce procedures. After the third, he heard a woman’s voice from inside the house that seemed to be directed at them, but he could not make out what was being said. He did the fourth and