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Oral Arugments before the Intermediate Court of Appeals

No. 30186 Wednesday, October 12, 2011, 11:00 a.m.

STATE OF HAWAI`I, Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. HERMAN DECOITE, Defendant-Appellee.

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff-Appellant: John Kim, Prosecuting Attorney and Emlyn H. Higa, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for County of Maui.

Attorney(s) for Defendant-Appellee: John Tonaki, Public Defender and Karen Nakasone, Deputy Public Defender.

COURT: Nakamura, CJ; Foley and Ginoza, JJ.

SPECIAL NOTE: The above argument will take place in the Supreme Court courtroom on the Second Floor of Ali`iolani Hale, 417 South King Street, Honolulu, Hawai`i.

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

Plaintiff-Appellant State of Hawai`i (State) appeals from the “Conclusions of Law and Order Granting Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Complaint” (Order Dismissing Complaint) filed by the Family Court of the Second Circuit (Family Court). The State charged Defendant-Appellee Herman Decoite (Decoite) with abuse of a family or household member, in violation of Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) § 709-906. The State charged the offense “as a continuing course of conduct” that was committed “during or about the period between February 1, 2005, through June 1, 2007, inclusive[.]” Decoite filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, in which he argued that the offense of abuse of a family and household member set forth in HRS § 709-906 could not be charged as a continuing course of conduct. In its Order Dismissing Complaint, the Family Court concluded, among other things, that the Hawai`i Legislature “did not intend for . . . HRS § 709-906 to be charged on a continuous conduct theory.”

On appeal, the State contends that the Family Court erred in dismissing the complaint because (1) the Family Court disregarded “the applicable principle of statutory construction” and (2) misconstrued the legislative intent behind HRS § 709-906 in concluding that the Legislature did not intend the HRS § 709-906 offense to be charged as a continuing course of conduct.