Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court

(Amended 10/30/13)

No. SCWC-10-0000123, Thursday, December 5, 2013, 11:15 a.m.


STATE OF HAWAI`I, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. KAWA SALAS, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.

The above-captioned case has been set for argument on the merits at:

Supreme Court Courtroom
Ali`iolani Hale, 2nd Floor
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813


Attorney for Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant:

Joy A. San Buenaventura


Attorney for Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee:

Darien W.L.C. Nagata, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney


NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 10/17/13.

COURT: MER, CJ; PAN, SRA, SSM, & RWP, JJ.

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

Petitioner Kawa Salas has applied for a writ of certiorari from the Intermediate Court of Appeals’s July 3, 2013 Judgment on Appeal filed pursuant to its June 4, 2013 Summary Disposition Order. The ICA affirmed the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit’s judgment of conviction and sentence.

This case arises from an altercation between two groups of campers over a scenic campsite on Kaloli Point. The complaining witnesses identified Defendant Salas as one of the two primary instigators of the altercation. However, Salas claims that he passed out drunk prior to the commission of the crime. After a jury trial, Salas was convicted of second degree robbery, and the circuit court sentenced him to an indeterminate term of five years in prison as a youthful offender. Salas appealed to the ICA and the ICA affirmed the circuit court’s conviction and judgment.

On application for writ of certiorari to this court Salas raises four issues:

First, he argues that the ICA erred when it held that Salas had waived his right to challenge the validity of his warrantless arrest without conducting a plain error analysis.

Second, he argues that the ICA erred when it concluded that a pretrial identification must be the result of suggestive procedures or actions by the police before the circuit court is required to assess the reliability of the identification under the totality of the circumstances. He further argues that the admission of his pretrial identification at trial constituted plain error

Third, Salas argues that the ICA erred because it refused to conduct a plain error analysis to determine whether the circuit court should have instructed the jury sua sponte on the defenses of abandonment and renunciation

Finally, Salas argues that his substantial due process rights were violated and that the circuit court committed plain error because he was not informed that he was being charged as an accomplice until closing arguments.

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