Skip to Main Nav Skip to Main Content Skip to Footer Content

Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court–No. SCWC-14-0001090

No. SCWC-14-0001090, Thursday, December 19, 2019, 10 a.m.

STATE OF HAWAII, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. KEAKA MARTIN, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.

The above-captioned case has been set for argument on the merits at:

Supreme Court Courtroom
Aliiolani Hale, 2nd Floor
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Attorney for petitioner:

Lars Robert Isaacson

Attorney for respondent:

Ricky R. Damerville and Kimberly Angay, Deputy Prosecuting Attorneys

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 09/18/19.

COURT: Recktenwald, C.J., Nakayama, McKenna, Pollack, and Wilson, JJ.

Brief Description:

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

This case arises out of the shooting of two Hawaii County Police Department (“HCPD”) officers on the Big Island. On January 2, 2013, HCPD officers received a report of gunshots fired in the Wailoa State Park area. During their investigation, the officers received information about a man hiding beneath a vehicle at Pono Place. When HCPD officers approached the vehicle, the man shot two officers from beneath the vehicle and then fled the scene.

The next day, HCPD learned the address of a house where the suspect in the shooting, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant Keaka Martin (“Martin”), was staying. An HCPD special response team arrived at the house, and the officers announced themselves as police. The response team then heard a single gunshot from inside the house. HCPD officers entered the house and found Martin lying on the ground with a pistol near his hand. He was bleeding from his stomach. Martin told the officers he had shot himself.

Martin was convicted after a jury trial in the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit (“circuit court”) of Assault in the First Degree of an HCPD police officer, two counts of Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Separate Felony, Attempted Murder in the First Degree of another HCPD police officer, Ownership or Possession Prohibited of Any Firearm or Ammunition by a Person Convicted of Certain Crimes, Carrying or Possessing a Loaded Firearm on a Public Highway, Place to Keep Pistol or Revolver, and Reckless Endangering in the Second Degree.

At trial, the circuit court allowed the State to introduce evidence of Martin’s self-inflicted gunshot wound and “I shot myself” statement as evidence of his consciousness of guilt. The State also introduced evidence of Martin’s outstanding warrant at the time of his arrest and past statements he had made about the police.

Martin unsuccessfully appealed to the Intermediate Court of Appeals (“ICA”). Martin’s application for writ of certiorari argues the ICA gravely erred by holding that: (1) the circuit court’s Tachibana colloquy regarding his right to testify or to not testify was sufficient; (2) the circuit court properly admitted evidence of Martin’s self-inflicted gunshot wound; (3) the circuit court properly admitted evidence of Martin’s statement that he shot himself; (4) the circuit court properly admitted Martin’s prior bad acts; and (5) the circuit court properly instructed the jury on lesser-included offenses.