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Oral Argument before the Hawaii Supreme Court — SCWC-19-0000697

No. SCWC-19-0000697, Tuesday, November 29, 2022, 10 a.m.

STATE OF HAWAI`I, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. PAOLA IBARRA, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant, and GUSTAVO FERREIRA, Respondent/Co-Defendant-Appellee.

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

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

The oral argument will also be livestreamed for public viewing via the Judiciary’s YouTube channel at

This oral argument can also be viewed on Olelo Channel 49 via your computer or a television.

Attorney for Petitione Paola Ibarra: 

Myron H. Takemoto

Attorney for Respondent State of Hawaiʻi: 

Brian R. Vincent, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 09/28/22.

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

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

Petitioner Paola Ibarra (“Ibarra”) appeals from the Intermediate Court of Appeals’ (“ICA”) judgment affirming the Circuit Court of the First Circuit’s (“circuit court”) Judgment of Conviction. After a jury trial, Ibarra was convicted of promoting prostitution in violation of HRS § 712-1203.

Ibarra raises three issues. First, Ibarra asks whether the ICA erred in holding that Ibarra’s waiver of her right not to testify was knowing, intelligent and voluntary where the circuit court failed to engage Ibarra in an ultimate Tachibana colloquy prior to her testimony at trial. Ibarra contends that without the ultimate colloquy informing her of her right not to testify, there is no basis in the record to confirm that her decision to waive her right not to testify was knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made.

Second, Ibarra raises a question of statutory interpretation. In order to be convicted of promoting prostitution in violation of HRS § 712-1203, a defendant must either “advance[] prostitution” as defined in HRS § 712-1201(1) or “profit[] from prostitution” as defined in HRS § 712-1201(2). Ibarra argues that the circuit court correctly found that no reasonable jury could find Ibarra guilty under the “advancement alternative.” Ibarra further argues that because testimony at trial makes clear that Ibarra only accepted money from the complaining witness in repayment of costs that Ibarra had fronted for the complaining witness, Ibarra could not have profited from prostitution within the intended meaning of HRS § 712-1201(2). Ibarra points to the legislative history of the statute, contending that the legislature intended to target only pimps and sex traffickers.

Third, Ibarra argues that the State committed prosecutorial misconduct in cross-examining Ibarra.