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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court — No. SCWC-19-000563

No. SCWC-19-000563 Tuesday, June 22, 2021, 2 p.m.

STATE OF HAWAII, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. DANIEL IRVING JAMES MANION, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellee.

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

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

Attorney for Petitioner Manion:

Alen M. Kaneshiro

Attorney for Respondent State:

Brian R. Vincent, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 03/30/21.

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

[  Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format  ]

Brief Description:

This case arises from a charge that the defendant, Daniel James Irving Manion (“Manion”), operated a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant (“OVUII”) in violation of Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes § 291E-61. After suspecting Manion of OVUII, the officer asked Manion to participate in a standardized field sobriety test (“SFST”). Prior to the SFST, the officer asked a series of questions—known as the medical rule-out (“MRO”) questions—to determine whether Manion had a medical or physical condition that would affect his ability to perform the SFST. Manion responded “no” to each question. Officer Morgan also gave Manion instructions on how to perform the tests, asked him if he understood the instructions, and asked him if he had any questions before administering the SFST. After observing signs of impairment during the SFST, Officer Morgan offered Manion a preliminary alcohol screening. Throughout these events, Manion was never advised of his Miranda rights.

Manion filed a Motion to Suppress his statements. The circuit court suppressed Manion’s responses (1) to the MRO questions, (2) to questions asking Manion whether he understood the instructions for the SFST, (3) and to whether he had questions regarding the SFST because the questions were reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response. The circuit court also suppressed Manion’s performance on the SFST as fruit of the poisonous tree because the officer would not have administered the SFST without asking for and obtaining Manion’s agreement to participate in the SFST, asking for and obtaining Manion’s responses to the MRO questions, and asking for and obtaining Manion’s assurances that he understood the SFST instructions.

On appeal, the Intermediate Court of Appeals concluded that questions asking Manion whether he was willing to participate in the SFST, whether he understood the instructions to the SFST, and whether he had any questions did not constitute interrogation, and that Manion’s performance on the SFST did not constitute incriminating statements requiring Miranda warnings.

This case requires this court to consider whether all evidence and statements obtained after an officer asks the MRO questions must be suppressed as fruit of the poisonous tree.