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State of Hawaii, Plaintiff-Appellee v. Zack Morris

IN THE INTERMEDIATE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF HAWAII


January 13, 2012

STATE OF HAWAII, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
ZACK MORRIS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE SECOND CIRCUIT WAILUKU DIVISION (CASE NO. 2DTC-10-00463)

NOT FOR PUBLICATION IN WEST'S HAWAII REPORTS AND PACIFIC REPORTER

SUMMARY DISPOSITION ORDER

(By: Foley, Presiding J., Leonard and Ginoza, JJ.)

Defendant-Appellant Zack Morris (Morris) appeals from the Judgment *fn1 filed on July 28, 2010 and the Amended Judgment filed on December 8, 2010 in the District Court of the Second Circuit, Wailuku Division (district court).*fn2

The district court found Morris guilty of Inattention to Driving, in violation of Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) § 291- 12 (Supp. 2010).*fn3

On appeal, Morris contends there was insufficient evidence to convict him of Inattention to Driving. Specifically, Morris argues that the State of Hawaii (State) failed to adduce sufficient evidence to prove that he operated his vehicle without due care or in a manner as to cause a collision with another vehicle. Morris also contends the State failed to adduce sufficient evidence to prove that he acted intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly with respect to the result of his conduct.

Upon careful review of the record and the briefs submitted by the parties and having given due consideration to the arguments advanced and the issues raised by the parties, as well as the relevant statutory and case law, we affirm.

The standard of review on appeal for sufficiency of the evidence is substantial evidence. The Hawaii Supreme Court has long held that evidence adduced in the trial court must be considered in the strongest light for the prosecution when the appellate court passes on the legal sufficiency of such evidence to support a conviction; the same standard applies whether the case was before a judge or a jury. The test on appeal is not whether guilt is established beyond a reasonable doubt, but whether there was substantial evidence to support the conclusion of the trier of fact. Indeed, even if it could be said in a bench trial that the conviction is against the weight of the evidence, as long as there is substantial evidence to support the requisite findings for conviction, the trial court will be affirmed.

"Substantial evidence" as to every material element of the offense charged is credible evidence which is of sufficient quality and probative value to enable a person of reasonable caution to support a conclusion. And as trier of fact, the trial judge is free to make all reasonable and rational inferences under the facts in evidence, including circumstantial evidence.

State v. Batson, 73 Haw. 236, 248-49, 831 P.2d 924, 931 (1992).

State v. Matavale, 115 Hawaii 149, 157-58, 166 P.3d 322, 330-31 (2007) (brackets omitted).

There was substantial evidence Morris operated his vehicle without due care and in a manner as to cause a collision with another vehicle (which in fact did occur). Additionally, there was substantial evidence Morris acted recklessly with respect to the result of his conduct.

Therefore,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Judgment filed on July 28, 2010 and the Amended Judgment filed on December 8, 2010 in the District Court of the Second Circuit, Wailuku Division, are affirmed.

Associate Judge

Associate Judge


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