In October, the Hawaii Supreme Court issued five published opinions, and the Intermediate Court of Appeals also issued four. Below is a brief synopsis of each:
In State v. Gomez-Lobato, SCWC-11-0000338 (October 30, 2013), the HAWSCT held that the Family Court erred in determining that the defendant had voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently waived his right to a jury trial because of a language barrier that existed between the court and the defendant which, according to the court, should have prompted the family court to ask additional questions to verify the waiver.
In State v. Vaimili, SCWC-12-0000034 (October 30, 2013), the HAWSCT held that the circuit court correctly denied the defendant’s motion for relief from forfeiture of bail bond because the relief was not available under HRCP 60(b) since the rules of civil procedure do not apply to bond forfeiture proceedings, a surety may recover its bond only if the surety filed a motion within 30 days of the judgment of forfeiture which demonstrates good cause for setting the judgment aside, the motion was not timely filed within the 30 day time period, and a separate judgment from the denial of the motion to set aside is not required under HRCP 58.
In State v. Scott, SCWC-10-0000037 (October 16, 2013), the HAWSCT held that the circuit court erred in denying the defendant’s request for written transcripts or the DVD video recordings of his co-defendant’s trial since the charges arose from the same incident, involved identical facts, and included the same key witnesses.
In State v. Apollonio, SCWC-30161 (October 10, 2013), the HAWSCT held that the circuit court erred in entering a judgment of conviction for excessive speeding since the state failed to allege the requisite mens rea in its oral charge of the defendant. The court also held that the state failed to lay an adequate foundation for the admission of the laser instrument reading.
In State v. Nakano, SCWC-30161 (October 8, 2013), the HAWSCT held that the ICA correctly vacated the defendant’s conviction for OVUII since the charge was defective for the failure to allege mens rea, but also held that, on remand, the state cannot proceed with its prosecution based on the level of alcohol in his system because the plea of no contest form entered in the case was silent as to method of proof.
In Vinson v. AOAO of Sands of Kahana, 30696 (October 31, 2013), the ICA held that the declaratory judgment related controversies between the parties were moot since the AOAO supplied Vinson with the information he requested in the suit, and based on the enactment during the pending litigation of Act 98 (governing the requirements of an AOAO related to membership list records). The court also overturned an award of nearly thirty thousand dollars in attorneys’ fees and costs because Vinson had not “incurred” the fees since all but $1,700 of the fees had been paid by someone other than Vinson.
In In re Jack Wong Yuen, 29173 (October 30, 2013), the ICA held that a sufficient interest in an estate was raised by the deceased daughter to establish her standing to challenge the validity of a trust and will in probate court. The court concluded that the presumption against intestacy does not govern a situation in which there has been a testamentary instrument that may have been invalidated based on lack of capacity or undue influence, and that the presumption did not strip the daughter of her standing to contest the instrument.
In In re UPW, AFSCME, Local 646, AFL-CIO, Union, 29382 (October 30, 2013), the ICA held that the Hawaii Labor Relations Board had jurisdiction to enter a decision on a petition filed by UPW that sought a declaratory ruling to determine whether certain conduct by public employers constituted a “prohibited practice” under the Hawaii public sector collective bargaining law.
In Safeway, Inc. v. Nordic PLC Constr., Inc., CAAP-10-0000046 (October 30, 2013), the ICA held that the circuit court should have held an evidentiary hearing on the issue of the existence of a contractual arbitration provision before denying an application to compel arbitration.