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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court–SCWC-12-588

No. SCWC-12-0000588, Thursday, December 15, 2016, 11:15 A.M.

STATE OF HAWAI`I, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. SCOTT YANG, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.

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

Supreme Court Courtroom
Ali`iolani Hale, 2nd Floor
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Attorney for Petitioner:

Phyllis J. Hironaka, Deputy Public Defender

 Attorney for Respondent:

Brian R. Vincent, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

NOTE: Certificate of Recusal, by Associate Justice Michael D. Wilson, filed 09/08/16.

NOTE: Order assigning Circuit Court Judge Christine E. Kuriyama, in place of Wilson, J., recused, filed 09/20/16.

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 10/10/16.

COURT: MER, C.J., PAN, SSM, and RWP, JJ., and Circuit Court Judge Kuriyama in place of Wilson, J., recused.

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

Petitioner-Appellant Scott Yang applied for writ of certiorari from the Intermediate Court of Appeals’ July 1, 2016 judgment, which affirmed the circuit court’s judgment in favor of the State.

This case arises out of multiple incidents in which Yang allegedly abused his wife. Yang was charged with four counts of terroristic threatening and four counts of abuse of family or household members. After a jury trial, Yang was found guilty of two counts of abuse and acquitted of the remaining charges. Yang was sentenced to two years of probation for each count to be served concurrently and 60 days imprisonment.

Yang appealed his conviction and sentence to the ICA. Yang argued that as to one count of abuse, the circuit court’s instructions on self-defense and defense of others were plainly erroneous. Yang argued that as to the other count of abuse, the circuit court erred in denying his request for a time-specific elements instruction, motion for dismissal, and motion for judgment of acquittal.

The ICA affirmed the circuit court’s judgment, reasoning that the circuit court properly instructed the jury on self-defense and defense of others, and that the circuit court did not err in denying Yang’s request time-specific elements instruction, motion for dismissal, and motion for judgment of acquittal.

Yang’s application for writ of certiorari presents the following questions:

A. Whether the ICA gravely erred in concluding, as to Count VI, that the trial court’s self-defense and defense-of-others instructions were not plainly erroneous for failing to explain that those defenses were inapplicable only if the jury found that Scott had recklessly, but not intentionally or knowingly, physically abused Hana.

B. Whether the ICA gravely erred in concluding as to Count VIII, that the trial court [did not err] in refusing Scott’s time-specific elements instruction and in denying his motions to dismiss for variance from the time noticed by the State, as well, as for judgment of acquittal based on insufficient evidence.