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Oral Arguments before the Intermediate Court of Appeals

No. 29287- Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 1:30 p.m.

STATE OF HAWAII, Plaintiff-Appellee/Cross-Appellant, v. KIRK MATTHEW LANKFORD, Defendant-Appellant/Cross-Appellee.

Attorney(s) for Defendant-Appellant/Cross-Appellee
John M. Tonaki, Public Defender and Jon N.Ikenaga, Deputy Public Defender

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff-Appellee/Cross-Appellant
Keith M. Kaneshiro, Prosecuting Attorney and Donn Fudo, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, City & County of Honolulu

Attorney for Cross-Appellee
Donald L. Wilkerson

COURT:    Leonard, Reifurth and Ginoza, JJ.

SPECIAL NOTE:    The above argument will take place in the Supreme Court courtroom on the Second Floor of Aliiolani Hale, 417 South King Street, Honolulu, Hawaii.

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief description:

Defendant-Appellant and Cross-Appellee Kirk Matthew Lankford (Defendant) appeals from the Judgment of Conviction and Sentence issued by the Circuit Court of the First Circuit (circuit court) convicting him of Murder in the 2nd Degree and sentencing him to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

On April 12, 2007, while taking a walk near her home, the victim disappeared.  Witnesses came forward identifying the Defendant as the last person who had been seen with the victim.  Although the Defendant initially denied that he had ever seen the victim, he later testified at trial that she died after jumping out of his truck as he was giving her a ride home.  Although Defendant denied killing the victim, he admitted to disposing of her body.

On appeal, Defendant argues that the circuit court abused its discretion by: (1) precluding the defense from calling its accident reconstructionist on surrebuttal; (2) denying Defendant’s motion to continue so that he could prepare to cross-examine the State’s expert witness; (3) admitting photographs of Defendant’s wife to establish that Defendant had an affinity for small Asian women; and (4) denying Defendant’s motion for a mistrial based on inconsistent verdicts.  Defendant further argues that: (1) his trial counsel was ineffective because he failed to call Defendant’s accident reconstructionist during his case in chief; (2) the prosecutor committed misconduct by appealing to the passions and prejudices of the jurors; (3) the circuit court committed plain error by failing to define “crime” in the jury instructions; (4) the jury instructions were prejudicially erroneous because they did not specify that the state of mind elements applied to all the elements of the murder by omission alternative; and (5) there was no substantial evidence to support the Defendant’s conviction.

Plaintiff-Appellee and Cross-Appellant State of Hawaii (State) cross-appeals from the circuit court’s order taking no further action on the State’s motion for sanctions against Defendant’s trial counsel.  The State argues that the circuit court abused its discretion because defense counsel intentionally and willfully refused to comply with the circuit court’s discovery orders.