Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court — SCWC-15-0000655
No. SCWC-15-0000655, Thursday, June 7, 2018, 11:15 a.m.
STATE OF HAWAII, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. PHILLIP DEJESUS DELEON, 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:
William H. Jameson, Jr., Deputy Public Defender
Attorney for Respondent:
Sonja P. McCullen, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
COURT: MER, C.J.; PAN, SSM, RWP, and MDW, JJ.
Petitioner-Appellant Philip DeLeon (DeLeon) was charged with Murder in the Second Degree for the shooting death of Shawn Powell (Powell), in violation of Hawai i Revised Statutes (HRS) §§ 707-701.5 and 706-656. A jury convicted DeLeon of the lesser included offense of Manslaughter in violation of HRS § 707-702.
As part of his self-defense theory, DeLeon sought to introduce evidence of Powell’s and state witness Jermaine Beaudoin’s (Beaudoin) prior acts to support his position that they, and not DeLeon, were the first aggressors in the confrontation that resulted in Powell’s death. The circuit court denied DeLeon’s request, finding that no factual issue existed as to who was the first aggressor.
DeLeon appealed to the ICA, arguing that the circuit court erred in excluding evidence of the prior acts. The ICA affirmed the circuit court’s judgment.
DeLeon contends the ICA erred in two ways: (1) in concluding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in excluding Powell’s and Beaudoin’s criminal histories and prior acts of violence when the record established a dispute as to who was the initial aggressor; and (2) when the trial court instructed the jury that DeLeon would be precluded from using deadly force if he was the initial aggressor.