Showing posts from April, 2021

Credit for Time Served Includes the Time Spent with DOH in an Institution

  State v. Torres (ICA April 8, 2021) Background. Richard Torres was charged by way of a felony information with promoting a dangerous drug in the third degree and a park violation. The warrant was served on him and bail was set at $11,000. He could not afford to bail out and remained in custody at the Oahu Community Correctional Center. Torres’s counsel moved for an examination to determine his fitness to proceed in the case pursuant to HRS Chapter 704. The circuit court—with the Hon. Judge Paul B. K. Wong presiding—granted the motion. More than three months the circuit court entered an order suspending proceedings and declared Torres unfit to proceed. The order committed Torres to the custody of the Director of Health and placed him at the Hawai'i State Hospital or other appropriate institution. Torres was also expressly ordered that he “shall not be authorized to leave the institution” without a prior court order. Nearly a year went by before he was found fit to proceed to tr

Trial Court must Instruct Jury on Statutory Definitions of Offense

  State v. Lajala (ICA March 30, 2021) Background. Malia Lajala was indicted with, among other things, the offense of hindering prosecution in the first degree. HRS § 710-1029(1). Her trial lasted more than a month. At the end of the trial, the prosecution proposed instructions on the elements of the offense, but did not define the words “rendered assistance,” one of the statutory terms in offense. One of Lajala’s co-defendants provided instructions that included the statutory definition of the term. Lajala joined in the request to have the instruction, but over the defense’s objection, the circuit court, with the Hon. Judge Robert Kim presiding, refused to provide it to the jury. Lajala was found guilty. Her motion for new trial raising the issue was denied. She was later convicted and sentenced. She appealed to the ICA. The record on appeal did not include the trial transcripts.   Getting the Right Instructions is on the Court, not the Parties. “In a jury trial, it is the cour