Oral Argument before the Hawaii Supreme Court
No. SCWC-13-0000118, Thursday, August 20, 2015, 8:45 a.m.
STATE OF HAWAI`I, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. WILLIAM E. BARRIOS, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.
The above-captioned case was 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:
Benjamin E. Lowenthal
Attorney for Respondent:
Artemio C. Baxa, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 06/19/15.
COURT: MER, CJ; PAN, SSM, RWP, and MDW, JJ.
Petitioner-Appellant William E. Barrios (Barrios) applied for writ of certiorari from the judgment of the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA), entered pursuant to its published opinion.
This case arises out of the alleged sexual assault of two minors — Barrios’s girlfriend’s daughter (MD), and son (MS) — from 2004 to 2009. Respondent-Appellee State of Hawai`i (State) charged Barrios with 200 felonies, which included various counts of sexual assault in the first degree, sexual assault in the third degree, and kidnapping.
After a jury trial on 180 of the counts, the jury returned guilty verdicts on 146 counts, all of which were charges pertaining to MD. The jury acquitted Barrios of all charges pertaining to MS.
At Barrios’s sentencing hearing, the Circuit Court of the Second Circuit (circuit court) allowed MD’s grandmother to make a statement to the court, and allowed a letter written by MS to be read to the court. The circuit court imposed consecutive prison sentences on several of the counts of which Barrios was convicted, which totaled 100 years imprisonment.
Barrios appealed to the ICA and argued his convictions and sentence should be vacated. The ICA affirmed Barrios’s convictions and sentence.
In his application, Barrios presents the following three questions:
1. Did the ICA gravely err when it ignored nearly thirty years of precedent and allowed the prosecutor to compare jurors to doctors and priests who care for and comfort children, and ask them to give the child witnesses “justice” by finding Mr. Barrios guilty?
2. Did the ICA gravely err in upholding the [sic] Judge Loo’s use of non-victim statements at the sentencing hearing?
3. Was the imposition of 100 years of imprisonment with the hope that Mr. Barrios dies in prison an abuse of discretion that the ICA should have readily identified and remedied?