Oral Arguments Schedule

Argument DetailCourt

No. SCWC-12-0000838, Thursday, September 3, 2015, 10 a.m.

STATE OF HAWAI`I, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. ELUJINO V. ALVAREZ, III, 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

Attorneys for Petitioner:

Brian J. De Lima and Justin P. Haspe

Attorney for Respondent:

Jason M. Skier, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 07/16/15.

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

Brief Description:

Petitioner-Appellant Elujino V. Alvarez III (Alvarez) applied for writ of certiorari from the judgment of the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA), entered pursuant to its memorandum opinion.

After making a traffic stop, police officers recognized Alvarez and the two other occupants of the car from previous drug-related investigations and called for canine unit to come and conduct a dog sniff of the outside of Alvarez's car. Between ten and thirty minutes after Alvarez was stopped, the canine unit arrived and conducted the dog sniff. The dog alerted the officers to the presence of drugs, and the officers arrested Alvarez and the other two car occupants. A search of the car uncovered illegal narcotics.

Alvarez was charged with various drug and traffic crimes in the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit (circuit court). Alvarez filed a motion to suppress the evidence found in his car, arguing that the dog sniff was an illegal search in violation of his rights under the U.S. and Hawai`i Constitutions. After hearing testimony from the police officers, the circuit court indicated that it would deny Alvarez's motion. Alvarez then moved to reopen the suppression hearing because the two other occupants of the car, who were previously unavailable, were now available to testify in support of his motion. The circuit court granted Alvarez=s request to reopen the hearing to allow the two witnesses to testify. After they had testified, Alvarez stated that he wished to testify. The circuit court denied his request and affirmed its decision to deny Alvarez's motion to suppress. Alvarez then entered a plea of no contest and was convicted.

Alvarez appealed his conviction to the ICA, arguing that the circuit court erred in denying his motion to suppress and request to testify at the reopened suppression hearing. The ICA affirmed Alvarez's conviction.

In his application, Alvarez presents the following questions:

A. Did the [ICA] gravely err in its denial of [Alvarez's] Motion to Suppress on the grounds that (a) the canine screen was not a "search", and (b) that there was no separate seizure of Alvarez?

B. Did the ICA gravely err in its decision that the Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in denying Alvarez's request to testify at the reopened suppression hearing?

Supreme
Court

No. SCWC-13-0004373, Thursday, September 17, 2015, 8:45 a.m.

C.M.T., Petitioner/Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. D.L.T., Respondent/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: Rebecca A. Copeland

Attorney for Respondent: Francis T. O'Brien

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 08/03/15.

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

Brief Description:

Petitioner/Plaintiff-Appellant Mother applied for writ of certiorari from the judgment of the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA), entered pursuant to its memorandum opinion.

This case arises out of the divorce of Mother and Respondent/ Defendant-Appellee Father. Upon their divorce, Mother and Father entered into an agreement which gave Mother sole physical custody of their two children ("Son" and "Daughter"). The agreement was approved in a divorce decree entered by the Family Court of the First Circuit (family court).

Subsequent to the divorce, Child Welfare Services ("CWS") opened a case against Mother after bruising and red marks were observed on Daughter's buttocks and neck. Father was given temporary custody of the children pending the family court deciding Father's post-divorce decree motion to modify custody.

After a two-day trial on Father's post-decree motion, the family court orally denied the motion and ordered that Mother retain sole physical custody of the children. Before the family court entered a written order, Father filed a motion to reconsider, arguing that the family court had failed to apply HRS ' 571-46(a)(9), pursuant to which there is a rebuttable presumption that any individual who has committed "family violence" should not be awarded custody of the children. The family court granted Father's motion to reconsider, finding that Mother had committed "family violence" and had failed to rebut the presumption, and awarded Father sole custody of the children.

Mother appealed and the ICA affirmed the family court's orders.

In her application, Mother presents the following questions:

I. Whether the ICA erred in imposing a new and less stringent standard on motions for reconsideration where the Family Court has not yet reduced its order to writing; and, whether the ICA erred in affirming the Family Court's decision to grant reconsideration of an oral decision even though [Father] failed to meet the settled standards governing motions for reconsideration.

II. Whether the ICA erred in affirming the Family Court's decision to grant [Father]'s motion for post-decree relief and modify child custody.

Supreme
Court

No. SCWC-11-0000812, Thursday, October 1, 2015, 8:45 a.m.

CHARLES P. POUONO, Petitioner/Claimant-Appellee/Appellant, vs. DAIICHIYA-LOVES BAKERY, INC., and TRAVELERS PROPERTY CASUALTY COMPANY OF AMERICA, Respondents/Employer/Insurance Carrier-Appellants/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 Petitioner:

Herbert R. Takahashi, Rebecca L. Covert, and Davina W. Lam

Attorney for Respondents:

Kenneth T. Goya and Steven L. Goto

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 07/30/15.

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

Brief Description:

Charles P. Pouono (Pouono) applies for writ of certiorari from the Intermediate Court of Appeals' (ICA) April 16, 2015 Judgment on Appeal filed pursuant to its February 26, 2015 Summary Disposition Order, which affirmed the October 17, 2011 Decision and Order of the Labor Industrial Relations Appeals Board (LIRAB).

Pouono was injured in a motor vehicle accident in February of 2007, which was unrelated to his employment as a mechanic with Daiichiya-Loves Bakery, Inc. (Loves Bakery).  Pouono's left hip was dislocated and fractured, and required surgery to correct the damage.  Pouono returned to full duty at Loves Bakery on July 1, 2007.  For the next two months following his return, Pouono experienced increased overtime hours.  His job required him to walk, crawl, climb, and carry tools as he fixed various machinery at the Loves Bakery factory.   

In August of 2007, during a scheduled appointment for his hip, Pouono told his doctor that he occasionally felt pain in his hip and groin after a long day's work.  However, radiographs taken at the appointment did not reveal any major changes and instead showed that his hip fractures were healing.  Pouono next saw his doctor on December 4, 2007.  At that appointment, X-rays revealed changes consistent with avascular necrosis. Pouono was then advised to limit his activities.

Following a shift on December 10, 2007, Pouono experienced sharp pain down his left groin and leg that was apparently substantially different from the pain he experienced previously.  His doctor noted diagnoses of avascular necrosis and secondary arthritic changes of the hip.  By the following week, Pouono needed crutches to walk.  On December 18, 2007, more X-rays were taken, and Pouono was referred to doctors who diagnosed him with avascular necrosis and recommended a total hip replacement. On March 18, 2008, Pouono underwent a total hip replacement to allow him to eventually return to work in July 2008.

Pouono submitted a workers' compensation claim, stating that his injury was caused by the December 10, 2007 incident.  By Decision dated January 20, 2009, the Director of the Department of Industrial Relations found the injury compensable, crediting the opinion of Pouono's doctor. The doctor who performed the surgery to correct Pouono's hip fracture opined that the injury would not have happened as soon as it did if Pouono had not returned to work.

Loves Bakery appealed the Director's decision to the LIRAB.  By Decision and Order dated October 17, 2011, LIRAB reversed the Director's decision after weighing conflicting medical opinions, concluding that Pouono "did not sustain a personal injury to the left hip, in the form of avascular necrosis or arthritis or an aggravation of those conditions, on December 10, 2007, arising out of and in the course of employment." The LIRAB determined that Pouono's injury was not work-related, and thus, his total hip replacement surgery was not a compensable consequence.

On appeal, the ICA concluded that Loves Bakery met its burden of substantial evidence to overcome the presumption that Pouono's injury was a compensable work-related injury.  The ICA further concluded that the LIRAB did not err in reconciling the conflicting medical evidence of unequal weight and effect as to the cause of the injury in favor of Loves Bakery.

Pouono raises the following question on certiorari:
Whether the ICA gravely erred by not properly applying the presumption that [Pouono] had a work injury that aggravated or accelerated the collapse of his hip?



  1 Avascular necrosis, also referred to as aseptic necrosis, "is a condition that occurs when there is loss of blood to the bone. Because bone is a living tissue that requires blood, an interruption to the blood supply causes bone to die.  If not stopped, this process eventually causes the bone to collapse."  Avascular Necrosis (Osteonecrosis), WebMD (July 7, 2015), http://www.webmd.com/arthritis/avascular-necrosis-osteonecrosis-symptoms-treatments.

Supreme
Court

(Amended 08/24/15)

No. SCWC-13-0000061, Thursday, October 1, 2015, 10 a.m.

STATE OF HAWAI`I, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. PATRICK DEGUAIR, JR., 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:

Dwight C.H. Lum

Attorney for Respondent:

James M. Anderson, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 08/04/15.

NOTE: Order granting motion to continue oral argument from 09/17/15, 10:00 a.m., to 10/01/15, 10:00 a.m., filed 08/20/15.

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

Brief Description:

In this case, Patrick Deguair, Jr. was charged with one count of robbery in the first degree and four counts of kidnapping. The charges stemmed from the robbery of Aiea Cue, during which Deguair (and two other individuals, David Teo and Ju Young Woo) allegedly restrained four individuals with the intent to terrorize them. Before trial, Deguair sought to suppress evidence connected to the robbery found during a search of his hotel room. The police had obtained a warrant to search the hotel room to seize, among other things, firearms related to a murder in which Deguair was a suspect. The circuit court denied the motion to suppress, concluding that the robbery evidence was seized under the plain view doctrine.

Also before trial, Deguair sought to introduce evidence that Teo and Woo were violent enforcers for criminal organizations. The circuit court granted in part and denied in part the State's motion in limine, which sought to preclude this evidence.

During trial, the State asked Deguair if he and Teo shot guns at Koko Head range before the Aiea Cue robbery. Deguair's counsel raised an objection, which was sustained. Deguair=s counsel then made an oral motion for a mistrial, which the circuit court denied, finding a mistrial to be too drastic a remedy for what it considered to be an irrelevant and prejudicial question.

Also at trial, Deguair testified that Woo used a blowtorch to cut open a change machine at Aiea Cue. According to Deguair, Woo opened up a bottom panel and removed an envelope containing cash. On rebuttal, Woo testified that he did not open up the bottom panel of the change machine. Deguair moved for a new trial alleging that Woo perjured himself on rebuttal. The circuit court denied the motion.

The jury found Deguair guilty of one count of robbery in the second degree (a class B felony), one count of kidnapping as a class A felony, and three counts of kidnapping as class B felonies. The jury also found that the robbery and kidnappings were committed as a continuous course of conduct and with no separate and distinct intent. Pursuant to HRS ' 701-109(e), which prohibits conviction of more than one offense if the offense is "defined as a continuing course of conduct," the Circuit Court of the First Circuit ("circuit court") dismissed the robbery conviction.

On appeal, the ICA vacated the kidnapping conviction as a class A felony and remanded Deguair's case to the circuit court to enter a judgment of conviction on that count as a class B felony and to re-sentence Deguair on four class B kidnapping convictions.

On certiorari, Deguair argues that the ICA gravely erred in affirming the circuit court's (1) order denying his motion to suppress; (2) order granting in part and denying in part the State's motion in limine concerning Woo's and Teo's prior bad acts; (3) denial of his oral motion for mistrial; and (4) denial of his motion for a new trial. Deguair also argues that the ICA gravely erred in concluding that the four class B kidnapping convictions should not merge together or should not merge into the robbery conviction.

Supreme
Court

No. SCWC-14-0000358, Thursday, October 1, 2015 , 11:15 a.m.

STATE OF HAWAI`I, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. ROYCE C. GOUVEIA, 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:

Keith S. Shigetomi

Attorney for Respondent:

Donn Fudo, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 08/10/15.

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

Brief Description:

Petitioner-Appellant Royce C. Gouveia (Gouveia) applied for writ of certiorari from the judgment of the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA), entered pursuant to its memorandum opinion.

Gouveia was tried for manslaughter in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit (circuit court). After the jury retired to deliberate, it sent two communications to the circuit court. The first stated that the jury had reached a verdict. The second stated that during trial the jurors had witnessed a man glaring and whistling at the defendant, and that the jurors were concerned for their safety. Before opening the verdict, the circuit court called in each juror individually to question them regarding whether they had seen the man referred to in the communication, whether it was discussed during the jury's deliberations, and whether the incident or the discussion of the incident had affected the jurors' decisions.

After the court and both parties had questioned the jurors, the State moved for a mistrial. The circuit court granted the State's motion, finding that manifest necessity existed for a mistrial. Gouveia then filed a motion to dismiss the charges for violation of double jeopardy. The circuit court denied Gouveia's motion. The verdict was later opened and found to be not guilty.

Gouveia appealed to the ICA, arguing that the circuit court abused its discretion in denying his motion to dismiss. The ICA affirmed the circuit court's denial of Gouveia's motion to dismiss. In his application for writ of certiorari, Gouveia presents the following three questions:

1. Did a divided Intermediate Court of Appeal erroneously affirm the trial court's declaration of a mistrial, at the request of Respondent, over Petitioner=s objection, before receiving a jury's not guilty verdict, based on "manifest necessity" when each juror indicated that his or her verdict was not influenced by an extra-judicial incident?

2. Did a divided Intermediate Court of Appeals erroneously affirm the trial court's denial of a Motion to Dismiss for Violation of Double Jeopardy based on the trial court's prior declaration of the mistrial?

3. Did a divided Intermediate Court of Appeal erroneously rely on testimony which should not have been permitted pursuant to Rule 606(b) of the Hawaii Rules of Evidence?

 

Supreme
Court

 

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