Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court–SCWC-16-0000460
No. SCWC-16-0000460, Thursday, September 23, 2021, 2 p.m.
STATE OF HAWAII, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. CYRINA HEWITT, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.
The above-captioned case was for argument on the merits at:
The oral argument was held remotely and live-streamed for public viewing via the Judiciary’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/hawaiicourts.
Attorney for Petitioner:
Taryn R. Tomasa, Deputy Public Defender
Attorney for Respondent:
Charles E. Murray III, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 07/02/21.
COURT: Recktenwald, C.J., Nakayama, McKenna, Wilson, and Eddins, JJ.
At 1:00 a.m. on July 3, 2014, two police officers were dispatched to a hospital to contact a possible assault victim, later identified Cyrina L. Hewitt (“Hewitt”). Hewitt was lying disoriented and injured in a hospital bed. She slurred her speech and did not know where she was. The officers believed she was under the influence of alcohol or an intoxicant. Officer Nacino, who did the majority of the talking, questioned Hewitt about the alleged assault. At that point, paramedics walked by and when Officer Nacino informed them he was investigating whether Hewitt was an assault victim, they informed him they had seen a pickup truck in the bushes on the shoulder of a roadway.
Officer Nacino then called a sergeant to investigate the accident. The pickup truck had front-end damage and both airbags had been deployed. Inside it was a wallet containing Hewitt’s state identification card. The registered owner was a Cyrus Hewitt. The sergeant sent a picture of Hewitt’s state identification card to Officer Nacino via text message.
Officer Nacino then returned to Hewitt in the emergency room. He told Hewitt a pickup truck had been found and asked if she had been driving it. Hewitt responded in the affirmative. Officer Nacino then stopped asking questions and arrested her for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant (“OVUII”).
The District Court of the Third District, Kona Division (“district court”) denied Hewitt’s motion to suppress her statements, made without Miranda warnings, concluding Hewitt was not subjected to “custodial interrogation.” The district court convicted Hewitt of OVUII and of driving without a license.
On appeal, the Intermediate Court of Appeals ruled the district court did not err by denying Hewitt’s motion to suppress statements. On certiorari, Hewitt argues the ICA erred in holding that Hewitt was not in custody while being questioned.