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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court – SCWC-13-396

Amended 09/27/16

No. SCWC-13-0000396, Thursday, November 17, 2016, 8:45 a.m.

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

The above-captioned case was 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:

William H. Jameson, Jr. and Elika O. Stimpson, Deputy Public Defenders

Attorney for Respondent:

James M. Anderson, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 08/18/16.

COURT: MER, CJ; PAN, SSM, RWP, and MDW, JJ.

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format

Brief Description:

Petitioner-Appellant Deirdre Ichimura applied for writ of certiorari from the Intermediate Court of Appeals’ (ICA) May 10, 2016 judgment, which affirmed the circuit court’s
judgment in favor of the State.

This case arises out of an incident in which Ichimura kicked a police officer. Ichimura was charged with a single count of Assault against a Law Enforcement Officer in the Second Degree and, after a jury trial, was found guilty as charged. Ichimura was sentenced to probation for a period of one year, with a condition of a six-month term imprisonment.

Ichimura appealed her conviction and sentence to the ICA. Ichimura argued that the trial court abused its discretion when it permitted Officer Santiago to testify that: 1) Ichimura was more likely on drugs than affected by a mental illness; and 2) the court that issued a bench warrant for Ichimura’s arrest would have been made aware if she had a mental illness.

The ICA affirmed, determining that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the police officer’s testimony that Ichimura was more likely on drugs than suffering from a mental illness. The ICA reasoned that the testimony was not for the truth, but was relevant as to the police officer’s perception and reaction to the situation. The ICA further determined that the testimony regarding Ichimura’s bench warrant was harmless error.

Ichimura’s application for writ of certiorari presents the following question:

1. Did the ICA gravely err in holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it permitted a police officer who was present at the scene of the incident to testify that (a) Ichimura appeared to be under the influence of drugs rather than suffering from a mental illness and (b) the judge who issued a bench warrant for Ichimura’s arrest for an unrelated matter would have known whether Ichimura had a mental illness?