NOT FOR PUBLICATION IN WEST'S HAWAI'I REPORTS AND PACIFIC REPORTER
APPEAL FROM THE FAMILY COURT OF THE THIRD CIRCUIT (FC-CR NO. 10-1-27K).
Summer M.M. Kupau Deputy Public Defender for Defendant-Appellant.
Linda L. Walton Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, County of Hawai'i for Plaintiff-Appellee.
Foley, Presiding Judge, Leonard and Reifurth, JJ.
SUMMARY DISPOSITION ORDER
Defendant-Appellant Stanley K. Huihui (Huihui) appeals from an August 10, 2011, Family Court of the Third Circuit (Family Court) Judgment Guilty Conviction and Sentence for Abuse of Family or Household Member, Terror Threat in the Second Degree, and Unlawful Imprisonment in the Second Degree.
Huihui raises two points of error on appeal: (1) the Family Court erred in precluding Huihui from testifying about the complaining witness's (CW's) prior attempts to hurt herself; and (2) the Family Court improperly considered Huihui's failure to make a statement to the police in assessing his credibility and thereby adjudging him guilty.
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, we resolve Huihui's points of error as follows:
(1) Huihui maintains that the Family Court abused its discretion when it refused to allow him to testify about CW's alleged suicidal tendencies (i.e., alleged attempts to harm herself) pursuant to Hawaii Rules of Evidence <HRE) Rules 404(a) and (b). Huihui asserts that this failure deprived him of a complete defense and fair trial. HRE 404(a) provides:
(a) Character evidence generally. Evidence of a person's character or a trait of a person's character is not admissible for the purpose of proving action in conformity therewith on a particular occasion, except:
(2) Character of victim. Evidence of a pertinent trait of character of the victim of the crime offered by an accused
HRS § 626-1, HRE Rule 404 (emphasis added).
Huihui contends that CW's suicidal tendencies became a "pertinent trait" with regards to factual disputes over CW's rationale for allegedly jumping out of the truck, as well as in explaining the nature and extent of her injuries and his use of force upon her.
As stated in State v. Maddox, 116 Hawai'i 445, 457-60, 173 P.3d 592, 604-07 (App. 2007), character evidence may be properly excluded where it does not support a factual dispute at the time the defendant seeks to introduce the evidence. In this case, the dispute involved whether CW's attempts to exit the truck constituted purposeful acts to hurt herself or whether they were merely something else, such as an attempt to halt the alleged abuse or simply an act of exiting a stopped vehicle. The Family Court found that Huihui had not introduced sufficient evidence at that point in the trial to support his contention that CW's actions were suicidal, stating "[y]ou need more foundation in order to establish that the acts in this case were suicidal." Requiring more foundation was not an abuse of discretion. At that point, in the trial, there had been no other evidence or assertion by Huihui that CW was specifically and deliberately trying ...