Oral Argument Before the Hawai‘i Supreme Court – SCWC-21-0000478
(2nd Amended 08/21/23)
No. SCWC-21-0000478, Thursday, September 21, 2023, 10 a.m.
STATE OF HAWAIʻI, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. KUMULIPO IWA COYOTE SYLVA, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.
The above-captioned case was set for argument on the merits.
The oral argument was held *remotely* and also livestreamed for public viewing via the Judiciary’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/hawaiicourts and ‘Ōlelo TV 55.
Attorney for Petitioner Kumulipo Iwa Coyote Sylva:
William H. Jameson, Jr., Deputy Public Defender
Attorney for Respondent State of Hawaiʻi:
Richard B. Rost, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
NOTE: Certificate of Recusal, by Associate Justice Paula A. Nakayama, filed 03/08/23.
NOTE: Certificate of Recusal, by Associate Justice Michael D. Wilson, filed 03/08/23.
NOTE: Order assigning James S. Kawashima, Judge of the Circuit Court of the First Circuit, in place of Nakayama, J., recused, and Henry T. Nakamoto, Judge of the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit, in place of Wilson, J., recused, filed 03/24/23.
NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 04/21/23.
NOTE: Order granting motion to continue oral argument to 8/17/23 at 2:00 p.m., filed 6/15/23.
NOTE: Order granting motion to continue date of oral argument and Order setting new oral argument date to 09/21/23 at 10:00 a.m., filed 08/17/23.
COURT: Recktenwald, C.J., McKenna, and Eddins, JJ., and Circuit Judge Kawashima in place of Nakayama, J., recused, and Circuit Judge Nakamoto, in place of Wilson, J., recused
In 2018, Kumulipo Iwa Coyote Sylva (“Sylva”) was indicted in the Circuit Court of the Second Circuit (“circuit court”) for killing an individual with a machete at the Queen Kaʻahumanu Center in Kahului, Maui. Sylva asserted the affirmative defense of a physical or mental disease, disorder, or defect excluding penal responsibility (“insanity”). In support, at trial, Sylva called as witnesses two medical examiners appointed under chapter 704 of the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, who opined on Sylva’s mental state at the time of the offense. A jury found Sylva guilty of manslaughter based on the mitigating defense of extreme mental or emotional disturbance (“EMED”).
Sylva appealed his conviction, and the Intermediate Court of Appeals affirmed. On certiorari, Sylva argues the circuit court (1) improperly struck portions of a medical examiner’s testimony concerning the basis for his opinion that Sylva was not criminally responsible for killing the decedent because Sylva lacked capacity at the time of the offense, and (2) failed to instruct the jury that if it found Sylva guilty of manslaughter based on EMED, it must consider the insanity defense.