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Effective Dec. 1, all hearings originally scheduled for South Kohala District Court will be held at the Keahuolu Courthouse (Kona) or Hale Kaulike Courthouse (Hilo). For assistance, call 808-322-8700 (Keahuolu) or 808-961-7470 (Hale Kaulike) or email: skohalafc.3cc@courts.hawaii.gov.

Oral Arguments Schedule

If you need an accommodation for a disability when participating in a court program, service,
or activity, please contact the ADA Coordinator at the Supreme Court at phone number 539-4700
as far in advance as possible to allow time to provide an accommodation. You are also welcome to send an e-mail to adarequest@courts.hawaii.gov or complete the  Disability Accommodation Request Form. The Disability Accommodations Coordinator will try to provide, but cannot guarantee, the requested auxiliary aid, service, or accommodation.  

Wednesday, December 2, 2020, 2 p.m.

No. SCWC-19-0000465, STATE OF HAWAII, Petitioner/Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. MICAH VASCONCELLOS, Respondent/Defendant-Appellee.

No. SCWC-19-0000476, STATE OF HAWAII, Petitioner and Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. LEAH SKAPINOK, Respondent and Petitioner/Defendant-Appellee.

No. SCWC-19-0000491, STATE OF HAWAII, Petitioner and Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. TIANA F.M. SAGAPOLUTELE-SILVA, Respondent and Petitioner/Defendant-Appellee.

No. SCWC-19-0000504, STATE OF HAWAII, Petitioner/Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. JERAMY M. TRONSON, Respondent/Defendant-Appellee.

The above-captioned cases have been set for argument on the merits at:

The oral argument will be held remotely and will be livestreamed for public viewing via the Judiciary’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/hawaiicourts.

Attorney for Petitioner State of Hawaii:

Brian R. Vincent, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

Attorney for Respondents:

Alen M. Kaneshiro

NOTE: Order assigning Circuit Court Judge Paul B.K. Wong due to a vacancy (filed 08/20/20 in SCWC-19-000491; 09/16/20 in SCWC-19-0000465 and SCWC-19-0000476; and 09/24/20 in SCWC-19-0000504).

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari (filed 09/16/20 in SCWC-19-0000491; 10/01/20 in SCWC-19-0000476; 10/02/20 in SCWC-19-0000465; and 11/04/20 SCWC-19-0000504).

COURT: Recktenwald, C.J., Nakayama, McKenna, and Wilson, JJ., and Circuit Court Judge Wong, assigned by reason of vacancy.

Brief Description:
These four cases, which the court has consolidated for purposes of oral argument only, all arise from charges that the defendant operated a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant (OVUII) in violation of Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes § 291E-61. Each of these cases involve a roadside vehicle stop during which the police officer suspected the driver was OVUII. In each case, the officer asked the driver to participate in a standardized field sobriety test (SFST). Prior to the SFST and without administering Miranda warnings, the officer asked a series of questions to determine whether the driver had a medical or physical condition that would affect their ability to perform the SFST, known as the medical rule-out questions. These cases require the court to consider whether, when asked the medical rule-out questions, the drivers were in custody and subjected to interrogation. The District Court of the First Circuit (district court) and the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) both determined that the drivers were subjected to custodial interrogation, that Miranda warnings were required, and that the defendants’ answers to the medical rule-out questions must therefore be suppressed. The State timely filed applications for writ of certiorari in these cases.

In two of these cases, State v. Sagapolutele-Silva and State v. Skapinok, the defendants also ask this court to consider whether other evidence obtained during the traffic stop must also be suppressed as fruit of the poisonous tree.

Supreme
Court

No. SCAP-19-0000450, Tuesday, December 8, 2020, 8:45 a.m.

STATE OF HAWAII ORGANIZATION OF POLICE OFFICERS (SHOPO), exclusive representative for Bargaining Unit 12, Police, Plaintiff-Appellant/Cross-Appellee, vs. CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU, Defendant-Cross-Claim Defendant-Appellee/Cross-Appellee, and HONOLULU CIVIL BEAT, INC., Intervenor-Defendant-Crossclaimant-Appellee/Cross-Appellant.

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

The oral argument will be held remotely and will be livestreamed for public viewing via the Judiciary’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/hawaiicourts.

Attorneys for Plaintiff-Appellant/Cross-Appellee SHOPO:

Vladimir P. Devens and Keani Alapa of the Law Offices of Vladimir P. Devens, LLC

Attorneys for Defendant-Crossclaim Defendant-Appellee/Cross-Appellee City and County of Honolulu:

Molly A. Stebbins and Duane W. H. Pang, Deputies Corporation Counsel

Attorneys for Intervenor-Defendant-Crossclaimant-Appellee/Cross-Appellant Honolulu Civil Beat:

Robert Brian Black and Lisa Emily Engebretsen of the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest

NOTE: Order granting Application for Transfer, filed 10/24/19.

NOTE: Certificate of Recusal, by Associate Justice Richard W. Pollack, filed 05/26/20.

NOTE: Order assigning Circuit Court Judge Karen T. Nakasone, in place of Pollack, J., recused, filed 05/26/20.

NOTE: Certificate of Recusal, by substitute justice Nakasone, filed 11/05/20.

NOTE: Order assigning Circuit Court Judge Peter T. Cahill, in place of substitute justice Nakasone, recused, filed 11/09/20.

COURT: Recktenwald, C.J., Nakayama, McKenna, and Wilson, JJ., and Circuit Court judge Cahill, in place of substitute justice Nakasone, recused.

Brief Description:

Pursuant to the Uniform Information Practices Act (UIPA), Civil Beat requested documents from Defendant City & County of Honolulu (City) related to the reinstatement of a Honolulu Police Department (HPD) officer. The City and HPD agreed to the documents’ disclosure.

Thereafter, the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO) sued the City to prevent the public release of the documents, relying both on statutory and constitutional privacy protections. Civil Beat intervened, arguing that no cause of action existed for SHOPO to sue to prevent the disclosure of public records. The circuit court concluded that there was, but after in camera review of the records, ordered that they be disclosed in redacted form. In making this determination, the circuit court relied on Peer News LLC v. City & County of Honolulu, 138 Hawai i 53, 376 P.3d 1 (2016).

SHOPO and Civil Beat cross-appealed, and the Supreme Court accepted transfer. On appeal, SHOPO asserts that the circuit court failed to address all of its claims for relief and misapplied the Peer News test. Civil Beat argues that there is no cause of action for SHOPO to sue to prevent the disclosure of the documents, and that UIPA does not require an agency to withhold records.

Supreme
Court

No. SCWC-17-0000543, Tuesday, December 8, 2020, 2 p.m.

STATE OF HAWAII, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. ADRIAN-JOHN C. BRINGAS, also known as DRIANJOHN BRINGAS, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.

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

The oral argument will be held remotely and will be livestreamed for public viewing via the Judiciary’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/hawaiicourts.

Attorney for Petitioner:

Phyllis J. Hironaka, Deputy Public Defender

Attorney for Respondent:

Sonja P. McCullen, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 02/20/19.

NOTE: Order assigning Circuit Court Judge Rowena A. Somerville due to a vacancy, filed 07/07/20.

NOTE: Certificate of Recusal by substitute justice Somerville, filed 10/01/20.

NOTE: Order assigning Circuit Court Judge Edwin C. Nacino, in place of substitute justice Somerville, recused, filed 10/05/20.

NOTE: Certificate of Recusal, by substitute justice Nacino, filed 10/15/20.

NOTE: Order assigning Circuit Court Judge Gary W.B. Chang, in place of substitute justice Nacino, recused, filed 10/22/20.

NOTE: Order granting motion to continue oral argument from 12/02/20 to 12/08/20 at 2:00 p.m., filed 11/12/20.

COURT: Recktenwald, C.J., Nakayama, McKenna, and Wilson, JJ., and Circuit Court Judge Chang, in place of substitute justice Nacino, recused.

Brief Description:

Adrian-John C. Bringas was charged in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit with one count of Murder in the Second Degree and one count of Assault in the Second Degree. The State alleged that, during a series of altercations, Bringas stabbed a minor in the chest, resulting in the minor’s death, and stabbed the minor’s older brother in the leg. At trial, Bringas did not dispute the stabbings, but argued that he was not guilty because he had acted in self-defense.

The jury was instructed about the elements of the two charged offenses, the lesser-included offenses of each offense, and possible defenses. It was instructed that Assault in the Third Degree is a lesser-included offense of Murder in the Second Degree, and that mutual consent is a defense to Assault in the Third Degree. The jury was provided with a verdict form for each count, and both verdict forms included the same special interrogatory regarding mutual consent as a defense to Assault in the Third Degree. The jury was instructed that it was to answer this special interrogatory if and only if it found the defendant not guilty of the greater-included offenses, but guilty of Assault in the Third Degree.

On the verdict form for the first count, the jury indicated that it found Bringas guilty of Murder in the Second Degree, and also answered the special interrogatory, indicating that the prosecution had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the fight was not entered into by mutual consent. When the verdict was read out in court, the court clerk read only the guilty verdict, and not the answer to the special interrogatory. After the jury was excused, Bringas moved for a new trial on the basis of the jury improperly answering the special interrogatory and the answer to the special interrogatory not being read out in court. The circuit court denied the motion and convicted Bringas of Murder in the Second Degree.

Bringas appealed to the Intermediate Court of Appeals, which affirmed his conviction, holding that the answer to the special interrogatory did not create an inconsistent verdict, but was merely surplusage that the circuit court was permitted to disregard. Bringas filed an application for a writ of certiorari, arguing that the ICA erred in “(1) affirming the circuit court’s failure to resolve the jury’s inconsistent verdicts prior to having them read in open court; (2) concluding the circuit court did not err in choosing which part of the verdict forms to read and which to omit; and (3) holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in denying Bringas’ motion for a new trial.” The application was granted.

 

Supreme
Court