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The Supreme Court vacated the intermediate court of appeal’s (ICA) order dismissing Appellant’s appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction and remanded this case to the ICA for further proceedings because the record did not establish that Appellant’s court-appointed counsel consulted with Appellant to determine whether he wished to appeal the judgment of conviction and probation sentence adjudging Appellant guilty of one count of theft in the second degree. The ICA determined that Appellant’s appeal, which was filed outside of the required statutory thirty-day period, did not fall within an exception to the requirement that the notice of appeal be timely filed. The Supreme Court held (1) pursuant to Maddox v. State, 407 P.3d 152, 161 (2017), Appellant was entitled, on his first appeal, to court-appointed counsel who “may not deprive him of his appeal by electing to forego compliance with procedural rules”; and (2) therefore, under Haw. R. App. P. 4(b), the ICA had jurisdiction to consider Appellant’s untimely appeal. View "State v. McDaniel " on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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In this criminal case in which Defendant pleaded no contest to one count of custodial interference in the first degree, the family court erred in ordering Defendant to reimburse the State for the costs of her extradition, and the intermediate court of appeals (ICA) gravely erred in affirming the family court’s imposition of extradition costs. In addition, the ICA erred by essentially imposing, on its own initiative and in an appeal, extradition costs as a discretionary condition of probation. The Supreme Court held that, in taking such action to resolve Defendant’s appeal, the ICA improperly intruded upon the family court’s discretionary authority to impose extradition costs and to determine the conditions of a defendant’s probation. View "State v. Anzalone" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The circuit court erred by engaging in a comprehensive inquiry into the amount the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) actually needed for its administrative and operating expenses. In the first appeal in this case, the Supreme Court held that the political question doctrine did not bar a judicial interpretation of the meaning of “sufficient sums” for the DHHL administrative and operating expense, pursuant to Haw. Const. art. XII, 1. On remand, the circuit court concluded that DHHL’s actual need for its administrative and operating expenses was more than $28 million and that the legislature was constitutionally obligated to make such an appropriation to DHHL for fiscal year 2015-16. The court also enjoined the State and its director of finance from violating the constitution or breaching their fiduciary duties to Hawaiian Homelands trust beneficiaries. The Supreme Court vacated the circuit court’s final judgment and underlying orders, holding that the circuit court exceeded this court’s mandate in Nelson I when it determined the amount DHHL actually needed for its administrative and operating expenses. View "Nelson v. Hawaiian Homes Commission" on Justia Law

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In this negligence case, the circuit court abused its discretion in entering default against Defendant and in refusing to set aside the entry of default. In addition, the circuit court erred in sua sponte dismissing Petitioners’ claims with prejudice and entering final judgment against them. After the circuit court entered the default against Defendant and denied Defendant’s motion to set aside the entry of default, it denied Petitioners’ motion for entry of default judgment. In its order denying Petitioners’ motion, the circuit court also sua sponte dismissed Petitioners’ claims against Defendant with prejudice. The court then entered final judgment against Petitioners. The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) affirmed the circuit court’s decision denying entry of default judgment based on the merits of Petitioners’ negligence case. The Supreme Court vacated and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that the circuit court (1) erred in entering the default and erred in refusing to set aside the entry of default; and (2) erred in dismissing Petitioners’ claims with prejudice and in entering judgment against them. View "Dela Cruz v. Quemado" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court vacated Defendant’s conviction for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, holding that the record did not support a conclusion that Defendant’s waiver of the right to testify was voluntarily, intelligently, and knowingly made. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court was required to engage him in a colloquy prior to accepting his waiver of the right to testify and that the colloquy was incomplete and defective because the court did not advise him that if he wanted to testify no one could prevent him from doing so. The intermediate court of appeals affirmed the district court’s judgment. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the colloquy was inadequate because the district court did not advise Defendant that no one could prevent him from testifying, and the error was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. View "State v. Eduwensuyi" on Justia Law

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The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) gravely erred in holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by allowing the State to present testimony in rebuttal that went beyond the limited scope permitted by the trial court and introduced evidence of defendant's uncooperative behavior with the police. The Hawaii Supreme Court held that the State's rebuttal testimony was improper because it exceeded the limited scope of testimony permitted by the court, and the introduction of the improper rebuttal testimony was not harmless error. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for a new trial. View "State v. David" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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At issue was whether Sierra Club’s concern regarding the “public health and visibility impacts of burning coal” rose to the level of property within the meaning of the due process clause and whether the protections of the due process clause apply to the right to a clean and healthful environment. This case involved a power purchase agreement between Maui Electric Co., an electric utility company, and Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (HC&S), a producer of electricity. Maui Electric filed an application with the Public Utilities Commission seeking approval of the agreement, under which Maui Electric would continue to purchase energy generated at HC&S’s facility located in Pu’unene, Maui. Sierra Club filed a motion to intervene, arguing that the Pu’unene plant relied too heavily on coal to meet its power obligations. The Commission denied the motion to intervene and then granted the application to approve the agreement. Sierra Club appealed. The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) dismissed the appeal, concluding that no appellate jurisdiction existed over the appeal. The Supreme Court vacated the ICA’s judgment, holding that a due process hearing was required to protect the asserted property right to a clean and healthful environment guaranteed by the article XI, section 9 of the Hawai’i Constitution and defined by Haw. Rev. Stat. 269. View "In re Application of Maui Electric Co., Limited" on Justia Law

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There is a constitutional right of the public to film the official activities of police officers in a public place. Defendant was arrested for interfering with government operations and other offenses while filming with his cell phone police officers conducting a traffic enforcement operation. Defendant was charged with failing to comply with a lawful order of a police officer, an offense for which he had not been arrested. The district court dismissed both charges for lack of probable cause. The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) vacated the district court’s order of dismissal and remanded the case, concluding that the district court erred in dismissing the charge of failure to comply with a lawful order of a police officer because probable cause existed to support the charge. The Supreme Court vacated the ICA’s judgment and affirmed the district court’s judgment, holding (1) the record did not support a finding of probable cause that Defendant failed to comply with a police officer’s order; and (2) this court need not address whether Defendant’s constitutional right to access and film the traffic stop was infringed in this case. View "State v. Russo" on Justia Law

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In this interlocutory appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed the orders of the circuit court denying Defendant’s motions to dismiss with prejudice the charges against him. Defendant was charged with murder in the second degree. The first trial ended in a mistrial. The jury at the second trial acquitted Defendant of second-degree murder but deadlocked on all of the included offenses. The circuit court concluded that Defendant could be retried on the included offenses. Defendant then filed these motions to dismiss seeking to preclude a third trial based on federal and state constitutional grounds, state statutory provisions, and the inherent power of the trial court. The circuit court denied the motions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant’s arguments in favor of dismissal were ultimately without merit. View "State v. Deedy" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The post-conviction petition filed in this case raised colorable claims for relief where Petitioner alleged that his stated desire to appeal the order dismissing his case without prejudice was not effectuated by his trial counsel and that his counsel wholly abandoned him following the court’s oral ruling of dismissal. This case involved the circuit court’s denial of Petitioner’s petition for post-conviction relief filed pursuant to Haw. R. Penal P. 40 without a hearing. The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) affirmed. The Supreme Court vacated the ICA’s judgment on appeal and the circuit court’s order denying the petition and remanded the case for a Rule 40 evidentiary hearing, holding that Petitioner presented colorable claims for post-conviction relief based on grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel and abandonment of representation by defense counsel. View "Maddox v. State" on Justia Law