APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE FIRST CIRCUIT. CR. NO. 11-1-1675.
On the briefs: Anthony T. Fujii, for Real-Party-In-Interest/Appellant.
Loren J. Thomas, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, City and County of Honolulu, for Plaintiff /Appellee.
FUJISE, PRESIDING JUDGE, LEONARD and GINOZA, JJ.
[135 Hawai'i 526]
Real-Party-in-Interest/Appellant Exodus Bail Bond (Exodus) appeals from an " Order Denying Motion to Set-Aside Bail Forfeiture" (Order Denying Set-Aside) entered by the Circuit Court of the First Circuit (circuit court) on February 14, 2013. Exodus contends that the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney (Prosecuting Attorney) does not have authority to represent the State of Hawai'i (State) in bail forfeiture proceedings, and thus, the " Judgment And Order Of Forfeiture Of Bail Bond" (Bail Forfeiture Judgment) entered by the circuit court pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) § 804-51 (2014), which Exodus sought to set aside, is void. Exodus also contends that the Prosecuting Attorney is not authorized to enforce the Bail Forfeiture Judgment.
We hold that the Prosecuting Attorney has the authority to represent the State in bail forfeiture proceedings conducted pursuant to HRS § 804-51, and therefore, we affirm the circuit court's Order Denying Set-Aside. We do not address Exodus's second issue on appeal, whether the Prosecuting Attorney is authorized to enforce the Bail Forfeiture Judgment. The proceedings in this case did not involve the enforcement of the Bail Forfeiture Judgment, but rather only the issuance of the Bail Forfeiture Judgment and Exodus's efforts to have that judgment set aside under HRS § 804-51.
In this case, Defendant Robert M. Miles, a.k.a. Gino George (Miles), was charged with Unauthorized Entry into a Motor Vehicle in the First Degree in violation of Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) § 708-836.5 (2014). Exodus posted bail on behalf of Miles in the amount of $5,000. Miles pleaded guilty but then failed to appear for sentencing on September 18, 2012.
Due to Miles's failure to appear at sentencing, the circuit court issued the Bail Forfeiture Judgment on October 8, 2012. By way of a letter sent certified mail and delivered on November 21, 2012, the Prosecuting Attorney gave notice to Exodus that Miles had failed to appear for sentencing and that, inter alia, the Bail Forfeiture Judgment had been filed. A copy of the Bail Forfeiture Judgment was enclosed with the letter to Exodus.
On December 20, 2012, Exodus filed a timely Motion to Set-Aside Bail Forfeiture pursuant to HRS § 804-51. A hearing was held on January 22, 2013, but because Exodus failed to provide this court with transcripts from the circuit court proceedings, the specifics of the hearing are not clear. Based on court minutes for this hearing, it appears that Exodus's counsel indicated his understanding that Miles had been surrendered, and the circuit court indicated it would need confirmation of the surrender and would deny the Motion to Set-Aside without prejudice to Exodus re-filing by February 4, 2013. Subsequently, it appears from the record that Miles in fact had not surrendered, [135 Hawai'i 527] the circuit court did not file any order as indicated in the court minutes, and Exodus filed another motion to set aside the Bail Forfeiture Judgment on February 1, 2013. On February 12, 2013, a further hearing was held regarding Exodus's motion to set aside the Bail Forfeiture Judgment and on February 14, 2013, the circuit court filed its Order Denying Set-Aside.
II. Standard of Review
In addressing whether the Prosecuting Attorney is authorized to represent the State in bail forfeiture proceedings, we consider applicable statutory and municipal charter provisions. Statutory interpretation is a question of law that we review de novo. Rees v. Carlisle,113 Hawai'i 446, 452, 153 P.3d 1131, 1137 (2007); see also
State v. Flores,88 Hawai'i 126, 130, 962 P.2d 1008, 1012 (App. 1998) (" The construction of Hawai'i's bail bond ...