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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court–No. SCWC-15-0000156

No. SCWC-15-0000156, Friday, January 11, 2019, 8:45 a.m.

STATE OF HAWAII, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. IOSEFA MEAFUA PASENE, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant, and ZORRO R. RYE, aka Zorro Ramon Rye, Respondent/Defendant.

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

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

Attorney for Petitioner:

Thomas M. Otake

Attorney for Respondent:

Brian R. Vincent, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

NOTE: Certificate of Recusal, by Associate Justice Richard W. Pollack, filed 10/03/18.

NOTE: Order assigning Circuit Court Judge Matthew J. Viola, in place of Pollack, J., recused, filed 10/05/18.

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 11/15/18.

COURT: Recktenwald, C.J., Nakayama, McKenna, and Wilson, JJ., and Circuit Court Judge Viola, in place of Pollack, J., recused.

Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format  ]

Brief Description:

Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant Iosefa Pasene (Pasene) was charged with second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Pasene’s first two trials ended in mistrials due to hung juries. He then brought a motion to dismiss his indictment with prejudice, which was denied by the circuit court.

A third jury trial was held. Prior to the trial, Pasene moved to exclude from evidence cell phone site records and testimony regarding meetings and transactions that he had with an undercover police officer. The circuit court denied both motions. During the trial, Pasene made several motions for a mistrial and moved to excuse a juror that communicated with a witness. All of these motions were denied by the circuit court. The jury found Pasene guilty of both offenses. Pasene filed a motion for mistrial or new trial, alleging that prosecutorial misconduct prejudiced his right to a fair trial. The circuit court denied his motion. Pasene was sentenced to life imprisonment with possibility of parole and twenty years’ imprisonment, to be served concurrently.

Pasene appealed the circuit court’s Amended Judgment of Conviction and Sentence to the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA). The ICA affirmed the circuit court’s Amended Judgment.

On certiorari, Pasene contends the circuit court erred by: (1) denying Pasene’s motion to dismiss filed after the first two trials ended in hung juries; (2) permitting a Honolulu Police Department detective to testify as to his opinion that another suspect in the case was innocent; (3) denying Pasene’s motion to exclude cell phone site records from evidence; (4) admitting evidence of Pasene’s meetings and transactions with an undercover Honolulu Police Department officer; (5) denying Pasene’s request to excuse a juror that had communicated with a witness; and (6) denying Pasene’s motions for mistrial and motion for a new trial based on numerous instances of prosecutorial misconduct.