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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court

No. SCWC-11-0000064, Thursday, July 11, 2013, 11:15 a.m.

STATE OF HAWAI`I, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. PHILLIP DEJESUS DELEON, 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: 

Phyllis J. Hironaka, Deputy Public Defender

Attorney for Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee: 

Sonja P. McCullen, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 05/22/13.


[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

This case arises from the fatal shooting of Shawn Powell in Honolulu in the early morning of July 31, 2009. The State alleged that Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant Phillip Dejesus DeLeon shot Powell and shot at Powell’s friend, Justin Gamboa, following an altercation at a nightclub. At trial, the defense maintained that DeLeon shot in self-defense. The circuit court ruled that DeLeon could not enter evidence at trial regarding Powell’s blood testing positive for cocaine.

DeLeon was convicted of Murder in the Second Degree, two counts of Reckless Endangering in the First Degree, two counts of Carrying or Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Separate Felony, and Ownership or Possession Prohibited of Any Firearm or Ammunition by a Person Indicted for Certain Crimes. The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) affirmed in part, but vacated one of DeLeon’s convictions for Carrying or Use of a Firearm.

DeLeon raises two questions in his application. Specifically, DeLeon asks whether the ICA gravely erred in rejecting DeLeon’s claims that: (1) defense counsel was ineffective for failing to establish Powell’s cocaine ingestion, and (2) the self-defense instruction failed to completely and properly instruct the jury on the law of self-defense.