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No. SCAP-21-0000576 Wednesday, June 8, 2022, 10 a.m. (Courts in the Community)

Courts in the Community

No. SCAP-21-0000576 Wednesday, June 8, 2022, 10 a.m.

STATE OF HAWAIʻI, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. RICHARD OBRERO, Defendant-Appellant.

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

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

The oral argument will also be livestreamed for public viewing via the Judiciary’s YouTube channel at

Attorney for Appellant Richard Obrero:

Thomas M. Otake

Attorney for Appellee State of Hawaiʻi:

Donn Fudo, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

NOTE: Order granting Application for Transfer, filed 02/09/22.

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

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

Defendant-Appellant Richard Obrero challenges the Circuit Court of the First Circuit’s denial of his motion to dismiss the felony charges against him.

The State prosecuted Obrero by complaint. Obrero argues his case should be dismissed because the State’s approach violated Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes (HRS) § 801-1, which provides that “[n]o person shall be subject to be tried and sentenced to be punished in any court, for an alleged offense, unless upon indictment or information, except for offenses within the jurisdiction of a district court or in summary proceedings for contempt.” Obrero argues that under HRS § 801-1, the State cannot subject him to trial and sentencing without a grand jury indictment. The State maintains that because the district court found probable cause after a preliminary hearing it has complied with all applicable laws and that its prosecution of Obrero is lawful under article I, section 10 of the Hawaiʻi Constitution, which provides that “[n]o person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury or upon a finding of probable cause after a preliminary hearing held as provided by law or upon information in writing signed by a legal prosecuting officer under conditions and in accordance with procedures that the legislature may provide.”