APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE FIRST CIRCUIT (CR. NO. 09-1-0410)
NOT FOR PUBLICATION IN WEST'S HAWAII REPORTS AND PACIFIC REPORTER
(By: Nakamura, C.J., Foley and Fujise, JJ.)
Surety-Appellant Freedom Bail Bonds (Freedom) appeals from the "Findings Of Fact, Conclusions Of Law, And Order Denying Freedom Bail Bonds' Motion For Relief From Judgment Of Forfeiture Of Bail Bond" entered December 13, 2011 in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit *fn1 (circuit court).
On appeal, Freedom contends the circuit court erred when it:
(1) concluded Hawaii Rules of Civil Procedure (HRCP) Rule 60(b) did not apply to bond forfeiture proceedings; and
(2) denied Freedom's HRCP Rule 60(b) motion and violated Freedom's right to due process.
The circuit court set bail at $250,000 for Joseph
Vaimili (Vaimili), who was charged with Kidnapping, Terroristic Threatening in the First Degree, Promoting Prostitution in the First Degree, and Carrying or Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Separate Felony. On July 23, 2009, Freedom posted a bail bond of $250,000 for Vaimili. After numerous continuances, trial was set to commence June 23, 2010. On June 23, 2010, Vaimili failed to appear. The circuit court then issued a bench warrant for Vaimili's arrest, set a "cash only" bail at $250,000, and issued a Bond Forfeiture.
On June 28, 2010, the circuit court entered a Judgment of Forfeiture of Bail Bond and Freedom received notice of the judgment on July 6, 2010. On July 27, 2010, Freedom filed a motion to set aside the bond forfeiture judgment. At the August 9, 2010 hearing, Vaimili had not yet been located and the circuit court denied Freedom's motion and ordered immediate execution of the bond. The circuit court entered the "Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order Denying [Freedom's] Motion to Set Aside Judgment and Order of Forfeiture of Bail Bond" on August 16, 2010. On September 16, 2010, Freedom filed a Notice of Appeal with this court, which was subsequently dismissed for lack of appellate jurisdiction on December 30, 2010.
On June 27, 2011, Freedom filed a "Motion For Relief From Judgment of Forfeiture Of Bail Bond" pursuant to HRCP Rules 7 and 60(b). At the July 5, 2011 hearing, Vaimili had still not been located. The circuit court entered the "Order Denying [Freedom's] Motion for Relief From Judgment Of Forfeiture Of Bail Bond" on July 18, 2011.
In October 2011, federal authorities arrested Vaimili and returned him to Hawaii. Freedom filed a second motion for relief of bond forfeiture judgment pursuant to HRCP Rules 7 and 60(b) on November 2, 2011. The circuit court heard Freedom's motion on November 22, 2011 and entered the "Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order Denying [Freedom's] Motion For Relief From Judgment Of Forfeiture of Bail Bond" (December 2011 Order) on December 13, 2011.
On January 10, 2012, Freedom filed a Notice of Appeal from the December 2011 Order.
Freedom contends the circuit court erred by concluding HRCP Rule 60(b) did not apply to bond forfeiture proceedings due to ...