Oral Arguments Schedule

Argument DetailCourt

CAAP-13-0000097, Wednesday, February 10, 2016, 8:45 a.m.

THOMAS GRANDE, Appellant-Appellee, vs. HENRY ENG, DIRECTOR, CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU DEPARTMENT OF PERMITTING AND PLANNING, CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU, DEPARTMENT OF PERMITTING AND PLANNING, Appellees-Appellees, and MIGUEL RAMIREZ AND VALERIE RAMIREZ, STATE OF HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES, Appellees-Appellants, and JOHN DOES 1-10, JANE DOES 1-10, DOE CORPORATIONS 1-10, DOE PARTNERSHIPS 1-10 AND DOE GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES 1-10, Appellees.

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 Appellees-Appellants MIGUEL RAMIREZ AND VALERIE RAMIREZ, STATE OF HAWAII, DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES:

Allan F. Suematsu

Attorney for Appellant-Appellee THOMAS GRANDE:

Thomas R. Grande of Grande Law Offices

COURT: Fujise, Leonard and Reifurth, JJ.

Brief Description:

        Appellees-Appellants State of Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and Miguel and Valerie Ramirez (Ramirezes) (collectively, Appellants) appeal from an Amended Judgment filed in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit (Circuit Court) in favor of Appellant-Appellee Thomas Grande (Grande).  

        In a related action, Grande submitted a complaint demanding that the City and County of Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) assume jurisdiction over the grading of Appellants' property,¹ which DPP denied in a letter decision.  After DPP agreed that Grande could seek relief from that decision via a contested case hearing, the appointed hearings officer dismissed the hearing for lacking subject matter jurisdiction.  Grande appealed the dismissal to the Circuit Court, which reversed the dismissal order and remanded the case with directions to hold a contested case hearing.  Appellants now challenge the Circuit Court's judgment on various grounds.

 

   ¹ DLNR is the owner of the subject agriculturally-zoned property and the Ramirezes are the lessees.  Grande, a makai neighbor, contends that unpermitted grading on the subject property poses a danger to his home.

Intermediate
Court of Appeals

(Amended)

Nos. CAAP-13-0000314 and CAAP-12-0001065, Wednesday, February 10, 2016, 10 a.m.

LANAIANS FOR SENSIBLE GROWTH, Appellant-Appellee, vs. LANAI RESORTS, LLC, Appellee-Appellant, and LAND USE COMMISSION, RANSOM A.K. PILTZ, in his official capacity as Chairperson of the STATE OF HAWAII LAND USE COMMISSION, VLADIMIR P. DEVENS, REUBEN S.F. WONG, KYLE CHOCK, THOMAS CONTRADES, LISA M. JUDGE, DUANE KANUHA, NORMAND R. LEZY, and NICHOLAS W. TEVES, JR., in their official capacities as members of the LAND USE COMMISSION, COUNTY OF MAUI PLANNING DEPARTMENT, STATE OFFICE OF PLANNING, Appellees-Appellees.

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(s) for Appellee-Appellant Lanai Resorts, LLC:

Lindalee K. Farm and Brett R. Tobin of Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel

Attorney(s) for Appellant-Appellee Lanaians for Sensible Growth:

David Kauila Kopper and Li`ula Nakama of Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation

COURT: Foley, Fujise and Leonard, JJ.

Brief Description:

Appellee-Appellant Lanai Resorts, LLC¹ (Lanai Resorts) appeals from the Final Judgment entered on March 19, 2013 in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit (circuit court).

On appeal, Lanai Resorts contends the circuit court erred in:

(1) upholding the decision of the Land Use Commission (LUC) finding there was insufficient evidence to support its 1996 Cease and Desist Order;

(2) invalidating the LUC's grant of Motion for Modification of Condition No. 10; and

(3) denying Lanai Resort's Motion to Dismiss the Appeal.

 


¹ The Petitioner-Appellee-Appellant's name has changed throughout the proceedings, from Castle & Cooke Resorts, LLC; Lanai Company, Inc.; Lana`i Resort Partners; to the current Lanai Resorts, LLC. For clarity, we refer to it by the current successor in interest, Lanai Resorts.

Intermediate
Court of Appeals

No. SCWC-12-0000794, Thursday, February 18, 2016, 10 a.m.

STATE OF HAWAI`I, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. ZALDY SUBIA, 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:
    William H. Jameson, Jr., Deputy Public Defender

Attorney for Respondent:
    Brandon H. Ito, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

NOTE:  Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 01/05/16.

COURT:  MER, CJ; PAN, SSM, RWP, and MDW, JJ.

Brief Description:

        Zaldy Subia (Subia) filed an application for writ of certiorari to review the September 23, 2015 judgment of the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA), entered pursuant to its August 17, 2015 memorandum opinion affirming the Circuit Court of the First Circuit’s (circuit court) August 22, 2012 judgment.

        Subia was arrested after engaging in a conversation with an undercover police officer who sought to purchase methamphetamine, and then providing a white crystalline-like substance, allegedly methamphetamine, to the officer.  At trial, a criminalist with the Honolulu Police Department conducted tests of the substance to determine its identity.  Of the tests conducted, at issue is the Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR) test, which identifies a particular substance, such as methamphetamine, to the exclusion of all others within a reasonable degree of scientific certainty.  To introduce the results of the FTIR test, a foundation must be laid to show that the testing instrument was in proper working order.  The circuit court permitted the criminalist to testify as to her conclusion that the FTIR test results demonstrated that the substance contained methamphetamine.  The jury convicted Subia of Methamphetamine Trafficking in the Second Degree.

        The ICA’s judgment affirmed the circuit court’s judgment, and held that a sufficient foundation was laid to admit the FTIR test results based on State v. Manewa, 115 Hawai`i 343, 167 P.3d 336 (2007).  

In his application, Subia raises two questions:
 
        1.    Whether the ICA gravely erred in failing to find that the circuit court abused its discretion in permitting the criminalist to testify that the results of the FTIR test conclusively established that the substances the police recovered from Subia contained methamphetamine.

        2.    Whether the ICA gravely erred in failing to vacate the circuit court’s judgment convicting Subia of Methamphetamine Trafficking in the Second Degree based on insufficient evidence that the substances recovered from Subia by the police contained methamphetamine.

 

Supreme
Court

(Amended)

No. SCAP-14-0001205, Thursday, February 18, 2016, 11:15 a.m.

STATE OF HAWAI`I, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellant/Cross-Appellee, vs. CHESTER PACQUING, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellee/Cross-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:

Kirsha K.M. Durante, Deputy Public Defender

Attorney for Respondent:

Brian R. Vincent, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

NOTE: Certificate of Recusal, by Associate Justice Michael D. Wilson, filed 05/22/15.

NOTE: Order assigning Circuit Court Judge Rhonda A. Nishimura, in place of Wilson, J., recused, filed 05/27/15.

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Transfer, filed 05/28/15.

COURT: MER, CJ; PAN, SSM and RWP, JJ., and Circuit Court Judge Nishimura, in place of Wilson, J., recused.

Brief Description:

Chester Pacquing was charged in a criminal Complaint with the offense of Unauthorized Possession of Confidential Personal Information (UPCPI) in violation of Hawai`i Revised Statutes (HRS) § 708-839.55. Pacquing filed a Motion to Dismiss for Unconstitutionally Broad, Vague, and Punitive Statute (Motion to Dismiss for Overbreadth) and a Motion to Dismiss Complaint for failing to provide him with fair notice of the nature and cause of the accusation (Motion to Dismiss Complaint). After a hearing on the motions, the Circuit Court for the First Circuit (circuit court) granted the Motion to Dismiss Complaint, reasoning that the phrase “confidential personal information” in the Complaint is not unmistakable or readily comprehensible to persons of common understanding and that the State’s failure to define that phrase infringed upon Pacquing’s right to be fully informed of the nature and of the accusation against him. In addition, the circuit court granted in part and denied in part the Motion to Dismiss for Overbreadth. The circuit court concluded that the statute is unconstitutionally overbroad because while the State has a significant public interest in preventing identity theft and the misuse of confidential personal information, the UPCPI statute places a potentially sweeping restriction on the constitutionally protected exercise of the freedoms of speech and of the press. However, the circuit court found the statute not to be unconstitutionally vague because the statutory definition of the phrase “confidential personal information” is sufficiently specific to give a person of ordinary intelligence a reasonable opportunity to know what conduct is prohibited and provides explicit standards to avoid arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement of the law.

The State appealed, and Pacquing cross-appealed, to the Intermediate Court of Appeals. The State argued that (1) the Complaint was not defective for failing to define the phrase “confidential personal information” because that phrase is readily comprehensible to persons of common understanding; (2) the failure to define “confidential personal information” does not deprive the circuit court of subject-matter jurisdiction; and (3) the UPCPI statute is not unconstitutionally overbroad because its legitimate applications substantially outweighs any possible impermissible applications and because any situation in which the statute impermissibly impinges upon constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of the press is curable on a case-by-case basis. In his cross appeal, Pacquing asserted that (1) the UPCPI statute is unconstitutionally vague because it is internally inconsistent and incomprehensible to a person of ordinary intelligence and because it delegates resolution of basic policy matters to police on an ad hoc and subjective basis; and (2) the UPCPI statute violates constitutional due process, under Article I, Section 5 of the Hawai?i Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, because it improperly shifts the burden of persuasion on a defendant to disprove an essential element of the crime--that the defendant knew or intended that his or her possessions of the complainant’s personal information was not authorized. As part of its response, the State contends that the appellate court lacks jurisdiction to consider the cross appeal as Pacquing did not seek permission from the circuit court for an interlocutory appeal and there is no final judgment in this case.

An Application for Transfer of the case to the supreme court was filed on April 24, 2015, which was granted on May 28, 2015.

Supreme
Court

(Amended)

No. SCWC-14-0000427, Tuesday, February 23, 2016, 5:15 p.m.

STATE OF HAWAI`I, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. EUGENE PARIS, JR., also known as EUGENE J.E. RIVERA, JR., Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.
 
The above-captioned case has been set for argument on the merits at:

University of Hawaii at Manoa
William S. Richardson School of Law
2515 Dole Street
Honolulu, HI 96822

Attorney for Petitioner:

Marcus Landsberg, IV

Attorney for Respondent:   

Brian R. Vincent, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 12/24/15.

COURT: MER, CJ; PAN, SSM, RWP, and MDW, JJ.

Brief Description:

        Petitioner/Defendant/Appellant Eugene Paris, Jr. (“Paris”) was charged with, and later convicted of, Escape in the Second Degree in violation of Hawai`i Revised Statutes (“HRS”) § 710-1021 (2014).  The charge stemmed from a three-week period of time during which Paris did not report to his case manager at the Laumaka Work Furlough Center (“LWFC”) as required under his Furlough Agreement and Extended Furlough Contract.  HRS § 710-1021 provides, “A person commits the offense of escape in the second degree if the person intentionally escapes from a correctional or detention facility or from custody.”
 
        HRS § 710-1000 (2014) does not define “correctional facility.”  HRS § 710-1000 defines “[d]etention facility” as “any place used for the confinement of a person:  (a)  Arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a criminal offense; (b) Confined pursuant to chapter 571; © Held for extradition; or (d) Otherwise confined pursuant to an order of a court.”  HRS § 710-100 defines “[c]ustody” as “restraint by a public servant pursuant to an arrest, detention, or order of a court.”  The State’s Amended Felony Information did not include the statutory definitions of “detention facility” or “custody.”
 
        The defense filed a pre-trial motion to dismiss the information, arguing that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction over the case because “the information [was] defective in failing to take into account the thirty day grace period provided by the State of Hawaii, Department of Public Safety, Corrections Administration Policy and Procedures, § 493-14-01.”  The State counter-argued that the regulations did not provide for a thirty-day grace period.  At a pre-trial hearing on the motion, the State also argued that the furlough agreements executed by Paris were not contracts.  The circuit court denied the motion.

        The defense later filed another motion to dismiss the information for failure to state an offense, arguing that the information failed to define “custody,” and, thus, failed to allege an essential element of the offense.  The circuit court denied the motion, concluding that the term “custody” as defined in HRS § 710-1021 was “an unmistakable term readily comprehensible to a person of common understanding,” and that the “statutory definition of ‘custody’ [did] not create any additional essential elements” to the offense of Escape in the First Degree that needed to be alleged in the information.  In other words, the circuit court concluded that the information provided fair notice to Paris of the offense he was alleged to have committed.

        Immediately prior to trial, defense counsel orally requested that the State be judicially estopped from referring to Paris’s furlough agreements as contracts at trial due to the State’s pre-trial argument that the furlough agreements were not contracts.  The circuit court denied the request.
 
        At trial, Paris’s case manager and a LWFC sergeant both testified that Paris was supposed to report to LWFC at a certain date and time but did not show up, even when the time to report was extended an additional 12 hours.  A Honolulu Police Department police officer testified that, three weeks later, he apprehended Paris during a traffic stop.  According to the police officer, Paris provided him with a false name.

        The trial court instructed the jury on “custody” for the purposes of Escape in the Second Degree as follows:

        An escape can be perpetrated by a person even though he is not in actual physical custody or under immediate control and supervision of a guard.  A person may be deemed to be in custody when released from a correctional or detention facility on furlough and legally bound by restrictions.

        During closing argument, the State argued that Paris acted intentionally when he “blew off supervision and decided on his own accord that he was done with his sentence,” and that he “was going to do whatever he wanted in the community with no supervision.”  The State argued that Paris “absolutely understood,” “knew crystal clear,” “understood and agreed” that he had to check in weekly at LWFC.  Instead, the State argued, Paris “blew off” his meeting with his case manager and “decided he wasn’t going to show up,” “decided he wasn’t going to do it,” and “refused to do that.”  The State pointed to the police officer’s testimony that Paris lied about his identity to show that Paris “intended to violate, the terms of his extended furlough agreement, and he intentionally escaped from custody.  He tried to lie his way out.”

        The ICA affirmed Paris’s judgment of conviction and sentence.  On certiorari, Paris presents the following questions:

        I.    Whether the ICA gravely erred in concluding that the charging language for Escape in the Second Degree was sufficient.

        II.    Whether the ICA gravely erred in concluding there was sufficient evidence to uphold Paris’ conviction for Escape in the Second Degree.

        III.    Whether the ICA gravely erred by determining the Prosecutor did not commit misconduct or misstate the necessary state of mind.

        IV.    Whether the ICA gravely erred by concurring that the Court’s jury instruction was a correct statement of the law and not an obvious inconsistency with the holding presented by Question 1.

        V.    Whether the ICA gravely erred by holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by failing to apply the doctrine of judicial estoppel.

Supreme
Court

(Amended)

CAAP-13-0002125, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 9 a.m.

RENE UMBERGER, MIKE NAKACHI, KA`IMI KAUPIKO, WILLIE KAUPIKO, CONSERVATION COUNCIL FOR HAWAI`I, HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES, AND CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY, Plaintiffs-Appellants, vs. DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES, STATE OF HAWAI`I, Defendant-Appellee.  

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(s) for Plaintiffs-Appellants:
    Paul H. Achitoff and Summer Kupau-Odo of EarthJustice
 
Attorney(s) for Defendant-Appellee:
    William J. Wynhoff, Deputy Attorney General

COURT:    Fujise, Leonard, and Reifurth, JJ.
                    
Brief Description:

        Plaintiffs-Appellants Rene Umberger, Mike Nakachi, Ka`imi Kaupiko, Willie Kaupiko, Conservation Council for Hawai`i, Humane Society of the United States and Center for Biological Diversity (Appellants) appeal from the Circuit Court of the First Circuit's (Circuit Court's) Final Judgment in favor of Defendant-Appellee Department of Land and Natural Resources, State of Hawaii (DLNR), and against Appellants, and challenge the Circuit Court's order granting DLNR's motion for summary judgment and denying Appellants' motion for summary judgment.

        The threshold issue in this case is whether DLNR must require applicants to prepare an environmental assessment pursuant to Hawai`i Revised Statutes (HRS) chapter 343, the Hawai`i Environmental Policy Act (HEPA), before issuing permits pursuant to HRS § 188-31(a) (2011).  

        HRS § 188-31(a) provides that, upon receipt of a written application, DLNR is authorized to "issue an aquarium fish permit, not longer than one year in duration, to use fine meshed traps, or fine meshed nets other than throw nets, for the taking of marine or freshwater nongame fish and other aquatic life for aquarium purposes."  Environmental assessments are required for "actions" that "[p]ropose the use of state or county lands[.]"  HRS § 343-5(a)(2010).  Appellants contend that the Circuit Court erred when it concluded that aquarium collection under each DLNR-issued permit is not an applicant "action" that necessitates an environmental assessment under HEPA.  Appellees submit, primarily, that HRS chapter 343 is not applicable.
Intermediate
Court of Appeals

No. SCWC-13-0000030, Thursday, March 17, 2016, 8:45 a.m.

STATE OF HAWAI`I, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. vs. ANTHONY R. VILLENA, 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:
    Phyllis J. Hironaka, Deputy Public Defender

Attorney for Respondent:
    Brian R. Vincent, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

NOTE:    Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 09/30/15.

COURT:    MER, CJ; PAN, SSM, RWP, and MDW, JJ.

Brief Description:

        Petitioner-Appellant Anthony R. Villena applied for writ of certiorari from the judgment of the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA), entered pursuant to its May 19, 2015 summary disposition order.  The ICA judgment affirmed the District Court of the First Circuit’s (district court) December 19, 2012 judgment of conviction.

        Villena was convicted of Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant, in violation of Hawai`i Revised Statutes (HRS) § 291E-61(a)(4).  At trial, the State introduced blood alcohol test results indicating Villena’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of his arrest.  

        Villena argues that an improper foundation was laid to support the admission of Villena’s blood alcohol test results and the district court’s admission of State’s Exhibit 1 violated Villena’s right to confrontation and constituted inadmissible hearsay.  Villena presents the following questions to this court:

        1.    Whether the ICA erred in affirming the district court’s admission of Villena’s blood alcohol test result without first requiring the State to

            a.    introduce its scientific evidence via a duly qualified expert;

            b.    demonstrate compliance with the Montalbo factors to show that the scientific evidence was reliable;

            c.    demonstrate compliance with the Souza foundational requirements to admit test results;

        2.    Whether the ICA erred in affirming the district court’s admission of Villena’s blood alcohol test result without first requiring the State to demonstrate strict compliance with HAR § 11-114-23 requirements regarding the collection procedure of a blood sample.

        3.    Whether the ICA erred in affirming the district court’s admission of the State’s Exhibit 1 when Exhibit 1 was hearsay and its admission violated Villena’s rights under the Confrontation Clause.  Exhibit 1 consisted of a letter from the DUI Coordinator licensing the laboratory where Villena’s blood sample was tested, confirming approval of the testing method and instruments used to test Villena’s blood sample, and stating that the medical technician who tested Villena’s blood sample was qualified.

        4.    Whether the ICA erred in ruling that the district court’s admission of the State’s Exhibit 2 was harmless error.  Exhibit 2 consisted of a sworn statement by the medical technician who tested Villena’s blood sample regarding the testing conditions, testing procedure, and blood alcohol test results.
Supreme
Court
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