In November, the Hawaii Supreme Court issued four published opinions, and the Intermediate Court of Appeals also issued three (although one was in a consolidated case). Below is a brief synopsis of each:
In Flores v. State, SCWC-12-0000359 (November 29, 2013), the HAWSCT held that in a case where the defendant was charged with and convicted of the greater offense of kidnapping, the Circuit Court should have given a jury instruction on the lesser included offense of unlawful imprisonment in the first degree, but that the failure to give the instruction was not harmless error.
In State v. Maharaj, SCWC-29520 (November 18, 2013), the HAWSCT held that a conviction for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant was improper because the state failed to allege the requisite state of mind and because the charge did not allege an “essential fact constituting the offense charged.”
In State v. Getz, SCWC-12-0000009 (November 8, 2013), the HAWSCT held that where the defendant was convicted of robbery, the circuit court erred in failing to give the jury a unanimity instruction.
In US Bank Nat’l Assoc. v. Castro, SCWC-11-0001104 (November 8, 2013), the HAWSCT held that where the bank sought a judgment and writ of possession from the district court, the court properly exercised subject matter jurisdiction over the case because the Castros failed to demonstrate that title to the subject property would come into question.
In State v. Alangcas, 30109 (November 29, 2013), the ICA upheld the constitutionality of Hawaii’s electronic enticement of a child statute, concluding that the statute is not unconstitutionally overbroad and vague, and that it does not violate the dormant commerce clause.
In Christian v. State, CAAP-11-0000147 (November 27, 2013), the ICA held that the ability to attack a conviction for operating a vehicle under the influence for the failure to include the public-road element of the crime does not apply over two years after the conviction on collateral review.
In In re Arbitration between HTSA and State of Haw., DOE, CAAP-11-0000065 (November 26, 2013), the ICA held that the circuit court erred in partially vacating an arbitration award that had been in favor of HTSA on the basis of sovereign immunity and statutory prohibition. The court also held that public policy did not bar the award. According to the ICA, “[a]n arbitrator’s error in construing an agreement or misinterpreting applicable law is not sufficient ground for overturning an arbitration award.”