Showing posts from March, 2021

HRE Governs Motions in Limine about Evidence, No Explanation Required

  State v. Marroquin (HSC March 17, 2021) Background. Benito Marroquin III was charged with assault. He claimed self-defense and filed motions in limine seeking admission of statements made by eyewitnesses to the police. These statements were evidence that Marroquin punched the complainant because the complainant was choking him. Marroquin argued that the statement to the police was a statement of recent perception and, therefore, an exception to the hearsay rule pursuant to HRE Rule 804(b)(8). Marroquin also proffered in another motion in limine evidence from a defense investigator who interviewed another co-worker. This co-worker told the investigator that the complainant announced he “wasn’t going to take that from a punk like [Marroquin].” Marroquin also argued this statement was admissible pursuant to HRE Rule 804(b)(8). The circuit court, with the Hon. Judge Ronald Ibarra presiding, denied both motions. On the proffered evidence from the police officer, the circuit court state

Judges Cannot Resort to Coercion to Settle the Case

  W.W. v. D.S. (HSC March 12, 2021) Background. In a bench trial before the family court, with the Hon. Judge Douglas Sameshima presiding, between Mother and Father, a heavily contest issue centered around custody and visitation rights for the parents. Father wanted overnight visits with his son. At trial, Father called the court-appointed custody evaluator as an expert witness. Court was adjourned for the lunch recess. When the parties returned in the afternoon, they told the family court they reached an agreement. Mother’s counsel recited the terms of the agreement with Father’s counsel and evaluator chiming in on certain points. The family court agreed and asked to reduce the terms to writing. Mother submitted written terms and Father filed a written objection. The family court adopted the agreement without acknowledging the objection. Counsel for the parties did not sign it.   Father filed a motion for reconsideration and argued that the terms did not reflect what was on the

Parent's Right to Counsel Triggered when DHS Files for Family Supervision

  In re: L.I. & H.D.K. (HSC March 11, 2021) Background. The Department of Human Service intervened between Mother and her child after Mother admitted to having a substance abuse problem during an interview with DHS. On June 13, 2014, DHS filed a petition for “Family Supervision.” Mother consented to the plan and agreed to a service plan requiring her to participate in a substance abuse assessment and recommended treatment, receive counseling, be responsible for her child, and cooperate with DHS. At a status hearing, the family court, with the Hon. Judge Keith E. Tanaka presiding, reviewed a DHS report detailing Mother’s inability to “manage her life” and care for her child. The family court revoked supervision and placed Mother’s child in foster care. The family court also ordered another service plan in which Mother agreed to participate in a psychological evaluation, substance abuse assessment and recommended treatment including submitting to random urine analysis, and monthly

Judicial Notice of Math and Other "Generally Known Facts"

  State v. Kwong (HSC March 4, 2021) Background. Maggie Kwong was charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant. At her trial, Honolulu Police Department Officer Josh Wong testified that at around 3:30 a.m. he was traveling on Kapiolani Boulevard about 30 feet from the intersection with Isenberg street when Kwong abruptly cut him off by moving her vehicle from the right lane to the middle land and then into the far-left lane all without using her signal. According to Officer Wong, Kwong moved between his vehicle and a pick up truck that was turning left onto Isenberg Street. Officer Wong testified that he slammed on his breaks to avoid colliding into the back of Kwong’s vehicle and that “whatever was on my seat that wasn’t fastened, all the stuff went onto the floorboard.” He pulled Kwong over, got her out of the car, subjected her to field sobriety maneuvers, and determined that she failed those maneuvers.   On cross-examination, Officer Wong committed h