Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court–SCWC-16-0000006Posted on Jan 11, 2018 in Uncategorized
No. SCWC-16-0000006, Thursday, January 11, 2018, 8:45 a.m.
STATE OF HAWAI`I, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. Eric N. Yokota, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellee.
The above-captioned case has been set for argument on the merits at:
Supreme Court Courtroom
Ali`iōlani Hale, 2nd Floor
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
Attorney for Petitioner:
William H. Jameson, Jr., Deputy Public Defender
Attorney for Respondent:
Brian R. Vincent, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 11/02/17.
COURT: MER, CJ; PAN, SSM, RWP, and MDW, JJ.
This case requires the Supreme Court to determine under what circumstances the State can charge a defendant with theft as a “continuing course of conduct.”
Petitioner/Defendant-Appellee Eric N. Yokota (Yokota) was charged with theft in the second degree for fraudulently executing five checks over the course of a six-day period. In the Circuit Court of the First Circuit (circuit court), Yokota filed a motion to dismiss the charge because he argued that Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellant State of Hawai`i (the State) was not permitted to aggregate the five incidents of theft into one continuing course of conduct. The circuit court agreed and dismissed the charge.
The State appealed to the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) and argued that the circuit court erred in dismissing the theft charge. The State contended that the determination of whether a defendant engaged in a continuing course of criminal conduct belonged to the trier of fact, and the circuit court should not have dismissed the charge as a matter of law. The ICA reversed the circuit court’s dismissal of the charge, holding that the language of the theft statute illustrated a legislative intent to allow theft crimes to be charged as continuing courses of conduct.
Yokota presents one question for review on certiorari: whether the ICA gravely erred in concluding that the State was not barred from charging Yokota with theft in the second degree as a continuing course of conduct.