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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court–No. SCWC-17-0000055

No. SCWC-17-0000055, Thursday, February 21, 2019, 11:15 a.m.

STATE OF HAWAI I, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. STEVEN E. YOUNG, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.

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

Attorney for Petitioner:

Shawn A. Luiz

Attorney for Respondent:

Kevin K. Takata, Supervising Deputy Attorney General

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 11/23/18.

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

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant Steven E. Young (Young) was convicted of sexual assault charges in 2000. Certain sections of Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) Chapter 846E required Young to periodically report in as a sex offender after his 2013 release from prison.

In 2016, after a moped traffic stop, Young was charged with Promotion of a Dangerous Substance in the Third Degree and Prohibited Acts Relating to Drug Paraphernalia.  Young was convicted on these charges after a jury trial. Young was also charged with Failure to Comply with Covered Offender Registration Requirements in violation of HRS §§ 846E-9(a)(2) & (c) (2014), and HRS §§ 846E-9(a)(12) & (c) (2014), and pled no contest to these charges. His plea was not conditioned on his ability to appeal. The court ordered a pre-sentence investigation before sentencing, and sentenced Young to four years of HOPE probation with conditions of one year of confinement with credit for time served and participation in the Hawaii Sex Offender Treatment Program.

Young appealed his sentence to the ICA. The ICA affirmed the circuit court’s sentence, holding that Young’s no contest plea precluded him from challenging the constitutionality of HRS Chapter 846E. The ICA further held that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Young.

In his application for writ of certiorari, Young raises two points. First, he argues the ICA gravely erred in affirming the circuit court’s judgment of guilt, because his conviction under HRS Chapter 846E violates his right to equal protection.  He argues the sex offender registration requirement is not rationally related to a legitimate state interest, because it is alternatively overinclusive (for including offenders like Young, who argues he is not a danger to the public) and underinclusive (for excluding other kinds of offenders, such as robbers, kidnappers, or murderers). Second, he argues the ICA gravely erred in failing to hold that the circuit court abused its discretion in sentencing him. Young asserts that he should have been sentenced only to probation. He also argues that the circuit court abused its discretion in ordering him to complete sex offender treatment as a condition of his probation, because the sentence resulted from his conviction of a non-sex crime.