Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court — No. SCWC-15-0000354
No. SCWC-15-0000354, Wednesday, February 7, 2018, 8:45 a.m.
STATE OF HAWAI`I, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. WALTER BROWN, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.
The above-captioned case has been set for argument on the merits at:
Supreme Court Courtroom
Aliiolani 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
NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 10/30/17.
COURT: MER, CJ; PAN, SSM, RWP, and MDW, JJ.
Petitioner Walter Brown (Brown) was charged with assault following an incident involving him, his pregnant wife, and his two estranged adult daughters from a prior relationship. One of the daughters is the complaining witness (CW). CW was also charged with assault in a separate case for the same incident.
Prior to trial, and prior to cross-examining CW, Brown’s counsel sought to introduce evidence of CW’s pending charge and probation status to show bias, interest, or motive to lie or slant her testimony. The circuit court prohibited Brown’s counsel from cross-examining CW on that basis. Brown was convicted of one count of assault in the second degree and sentenced to four years probation.
On appeal, Brown argued that the circuit court violated his constitutional right to confront witnesses by excluding evidence of CW’s pending charge of assault and probation status. The Intermediate Court of Appeals affirmed. On certiorari, Brown challenges the circuit court’s refusal to allow cross-examination of CW’s assault charge and probation status.