This decision is published in table format in the Pacific and Hawai'i reporter.
APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE FIRST CIRCUIT. CASE NO. 1DTC-11-082314.
Lianne M. Aoki, Deputy Public Defender for Defendant-Appellant.
Brian R. Vincent, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, City and County of Honolulu for Plaintiff-Appellee.
By: Nakamura, Chief Judge, and Reifurth and Ginoza, JJ.
SUMMARY DISPOSITION ORDER
Plaintiff-Appellee State of Hawai'i (State) charged Defendant-Appellant Eddy A. Abordo (Abordo) by complaint with Operating a Vehicle After License and Privilege Have Been Suspended or Revoked for Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant (OVLPSR-OVUII) as a repeat offender, in violation of Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) § 291E-62 (Supp. 2014). The original complaint did not allege a mens rea for the OVLPSR-OVUII offense. Prior to trial, over Abordo's objection, the District Court of the First Circuit (District Court) granted the State's motion to amend the original complaint to allege the required mens rea of " intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly" for the OVLPSR-OVUII offense. The State then filed an amended complaint which alleged the required mens rea.
After a bench trial, Abordo was found guilty of OVLPSR-OVUII as a repeat offender. The District Court sentenced Abordo to thirty days in jail, imposed a $1,000 fine and other fees and assessments, and revoked his driver's license for two years. The District Court entered its Judgment on May 30, 2012, and this appeal followed.
On appeal, Abordo contends that: (1) the original complaint was defective for failing to allege the requisite mens rea and the District Court lacked jurisdiction to grant the State's motion to amend the original complaint to cure this defect; (2) the District Court erred in finding Abordo guilty of OVLPSR-OVUII because its verdict was improperly based on the preponderance of the evidence standard; (3) the District Court violated his right of confrontation in admitting Exhibit 1, a letter signed by Ricky S. Akase, a custodian of government driving and licensing records, regarding Abordo's driver's license status; (4) the District Court erred in admitting Exhibit 3, an Administrative Driver's License Revocation Office " Notice of Administrative Review Decision" (ADLRO Notice), and Exhibit 4, a traffic abstract, because they were irrelevant; and (5) there was insufficient evidence to support Abordo's conviction.
As explained below, we vacate Abordo's OVLPSR-OVUII conviction because the District Court misstated the standard of proof in finding Abordo guilty, and we remand the case for a new trial on the OVLPSR-OVUII charge.
We resolve the arguments Abordo raises on appeal as follows:
The original complaint against Abordo was defective for failing to allege the requisite intentional, knowing, or reckless mens rea. However, the District Court had jurisdiction to permit the State to amend the original complaint to cure this defect, and the District Court properly granted the State's motion to amend the original complaint. State v. Kam,134 Hawai'i 280, 286-87, 339 P.3d 1081, 1087-88 (App. 2014). The ...