Showing posts from 2021

Trial Court’s Refusal to Instruct Jury on Negligence was not Erroneous in Assault Trial

  State v. Valoroso (ICA February 26, 2021) Background. Randal Valoroso was charged with assault in the first degree; that is, intentionally or knowingly causing serious bodily injury. At trial, the prosecution called Christopher Gray, who testified that Valoroso parked his parked his pickup truck and trailer about ten feet away from his the door to his house in Makawao on Maui. Gray was staying with his mother, Tracy Taylor, at the time. He told Valoroso he needed to move the truck. Valoroso challenged him. Gray started arguing with Valoroso and Taylor tried to intervene. Gray testified that Valoroso shoved Taylor, who slid down to the ground, and Valoroso jabbed a metal object into Taylor’s leg. Taylor also testified about the altercation with Gray and Valoroso and Valoroso pushing her back into the house, falling down, and getting injured.   The defense called the one of the officers who came to the scene and testified about inconsistent statements with Gray and Taylor. The d

When Warrantless Blood Draws Still Require a Warrant

  State v. Hewitt (ICA February 16, 2021) Background. Cyrina Hewitt was charged with driving under the influence and driving without a license. Hawai'i County Police Department Officer Chandler Nacino went to the Kona Community Hospital emergency room at around 1:00 a.m. on July 3, 2014 to investigate a possible assault. Hospital staff informed him that Hewitt was dropped off there by an unknown male. Officer Nacino went to see Hewitt at her bedside. Hewitt was lying in a hospital bed and awake. She was disoriented. The officer saw she had contusions on her face and her eyes were swollen shut. She also had a cut on her ear. She provided Officer Nacino with her name and date of birth, but she did not know where she was or why she was in the hospital. The officers tried to question her. They asked if she was assaulted and she provided incoherent answers. According to Officer Nacino, she “appeared to be out of it and had slurred speech.” She told the officer that her eyes were swol

No "Disposition," No Order for Protection

  JD v. PD (ICA February 10, 2021) Background. Mother filed a petition for order for protection against Father and alleged domestic abuse of Mother and child. The allegations went back to 2015. The family court, the Hon. Judge Natasha R. Shaw presiding, granted the petition and issued a temporary restraining order. The family court also ordered the Department of Human Services to investigate, submit a report, and appear at the hearing on the petition for an order of protection.   At the hearing, the family court accepted two reports prepared by a social worker at DHS. At the hearing both parties, the child’s former teacher, and the DHS social worker testified. The family court granted the petition and issued an order for protection for five years. The family court found that Mother proved the allegations in the petition. The family court prohibited Father from contacting Mother and child except under fully supervised visitation and as needed for court.   Father moved to amen

Exclusionary Rule at Odds with Police Acting as Care Providers

  State v. Lee (HSC February 9, 2021) Background. Honolulu Police Department officers responded to a “suicidal male call” at an ‘Aiea residence. The family let the officers into the home and directed them to a closed bedroom door. Family members said that Joshua Lee was in his room and he had samurai swords in there. They made contact with Lee through the closed door. The did not allow the officers to open the door, but told them he was okay and asked them to leave. The Sgt. Michael Cobb who responded to the call started talking to Lee. He told him that he “needed to grow up” and “be a man.” Lee asked if the officers had a warrant. Sgt. Cobb told him “we don’t need a warrant, dumbass.” Despite Lee’s request that they leave him alone, the officers needed to check if there was a risk that he would harm himself. The officers picked the lock and opened it to at the very least see Lee.   When they did, the door was obstructed. At some point, Lee’s family members asked the police to l

Counsel Can’t Downplay the Severity of an Aggravated Felony Conviction

  Araiza v. State (HSC January 26, 2021) Background. Edelmira Salayes Araiza, a citizen of Mexico and lawful permanent resident in the United States, was charged with theft by deception in the first degree after living in Hawai'i for decades. At her arraignment, the circuit court—the Hon. Judge Rhonda I. L. Loo presided—warned Araiza pursuant to HRS § 802E-4 that the case could have “severe and irreversible consequences, including immediate detention, deportation or exclusion from admission or denial [of] naturalization to the United States. Your attorney must advise you regarding the possible consequences this case may have on your immigration status.”   Months later she pleaded no contest and moved for a deferred acceptance of her plea. In her change-of-plea form, Araiza and her attorney certified that the document had be read to her and explained or interpreted to her. The form also included an advisement that pleading no contest may result in deportation, detention, and

ICA Upholds Authorization of Maui and HNL Officers Deployed to Big Island TMT Protest

  Flores v. Ballard (ICA January 27, 2021) Background. In 2017, the Board of Land and Natural Resources approved of the building of a thirty-meter telescope near the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island. Construction was delayed for several years due to protests and objections. In 2019, protestors assembled at the road near the summit. They blocked access to physically prevent construction of the telescope. The size of the protest strained resources for the Hawai'i County Police Department. The chief of police on the Big Island asked the Honolulu police chief Susan Ballard and Maui Police Department chief Tivoli Faaumu to support operations in dealing with the protestors.   Officers from Maui County and the City and County of Honolulu went to the Big Island. The next day, Kalani Flores filed a complaint seeking declaratory relief challenging the authority to use police officers from other counties. Chief Ballard and Chief Faaumu filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. The

HSC Vacates Conviction that Might be Based on the Imaginary Offense of Attempted Manslaughter

  Stanley v. State (HSC January 5, 2021) Background. In 1988, Edward Stanley was involved with the police in a shootout with the police and others. He was indicted with four counts of attempted murder in the first degree and one count of attempted murder in the second degree. At trial, the judge acquitted Stanley of one of the attempted murder in the first degree counts and allowed the rest to go to the jury for consideration.   In the trial court’s instructions to the jury, the court explained that if they could not find that attempted murder in the first or second degree was proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the jurors had to consider the included offense of attempted manslaughter. The court instructed that attempted manslaughter is the attempt to “recklessly cause the death of another person.” The court in the same jury instruction also explained that is a defense to murder of either degree that “reduces the offense to attempted manslaughter” when the defendant was “under the