Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court– No. SCWC-19-0000465, No. SCWC-19-0000476, No. SCWC-19-0000491, and No. SCWC-19-0000504
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.
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 Hawaii 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.