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State v. Kalua

Supreme Court of Hawaii

January 15, 2019

STATE OF HAWAI'I, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
MANAIAKALANI N.K. KALUA, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellee.

          CERTIORARI TO THE INTERMEDIATE COURT OF APPEALS (CAAP-12-000057 8; 3DTC-11-04 02 82)

          John M. Tonaki Jon N. Ikenaga for Petitioner

          Mitchell D. Roth E. Britt Bailey for Respondent

          McKENNA, POLLACK, AND WILSON, JJ., WITH RECKTENWALD, C.J., DISSENTING, WITH WHOM NAKAYAMA, J., JOINS

          OPINION

          WILSON, J.

         Petitioner/Defendant-Appellee Manaiakalani N.K. Kalua (Kalua) was concurrently cited for speeding and excessive speeding offenses while driving through two separate speed zones. This case addresses the issue whether the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) erred in holding that the entry of judgment on Kalua's noncriminal speeding infraction failed to bar the Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellant State of Hawai'i (State) from prosecuting him for the crime of excessive speeding. Kalua contends that his prosecution for excessive speeding is barred by Hawai'i Revised Statutes (HRS) §§ 701-109 (1)[1] and (2)[2] (2007) and by the double jeopardy clauses of the United States and Hawai'i Constitutions.[3] We hold that double jeopardy is inapplicable to the civil offense of speeding under its current statutory framework. We also hold Kalua is subject to prosecution for both excessive speeding and speeding; however, if on remand the District Court of the Third Circuit (district court) finds at trial that the excessive speeding charge arises from the same conduct as the speeding infraction, the "lesser included offense" provision of HRS § 701-109(1)(a) will preclude his conviction for excessive speeding. We thus affirm the ICA's judgment vacating the district court's dismissal of the excessive speeding offense, but for the reasons stated herein, and the case is remanded to the district court for further proceedings.

         I. Background

         A. Stipulated Facts

         On September 14, 2011, Kalua was cited for speeding, in violation of HRS § 291C-102, [4] and for excessive speeding, in violation of HRS § 291C-105.[5] On November 28, 2011, Kalua paid the $137 fine for the speeding infraction after a default judgment was entered against him in the district court. On January 5, 2012, in the district court, Kalua pled not guilty to the charge of excessive speeding. Kalua subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the excessive speeding charge pursuant to HRS § 701-109(2) .

         At the April 19, 2012 hearing[6] on the motion to dismiss the excessive speeding charge, the parties agreed to stipulate to the following relevant facts: (1) the citing police officer, Thomas Koyanagi, used radar to measure Kalua's speed at a "steady speed of 73 miles per hour while entering a 45 miles per hour zone"; (2) Officer Koyanagi observed Kalua pass two 40 miles per hour signs; and (3) Officer Koyanagi subsequently stopped Kalua and cited him for driving 71 miles per hour in a 55 miles per hour zone in violation of HRS § 291C-102(a)(1)[7] and for driving 73 miles per hour in a 40 miles per hour zone in violation of HRS § 291C-105(a) (1). Additionally, the parties agreed that "at no time was there a break in the occurrence from the time that . . . Officer Koyanagi saw [Kalua] to the time [Kalua] stopped and was cited. And he was issued both tickets upon that stop."

         The district court granted Kalua's motion to dismiss the excessive speeding charge. The court determined that the speeding infraction was a lesser included offense of excessive speeding. Because Kalua had paid the fine for the speeding infraction, the court reasoned that prosecuting him for the excessive speeding charge would violate HRS § 701-109(1) (a), which prohibits the State from convicting a defendant "of more than one offense" if one offense "is included in the other." The court thus found that HRS § 701-109(1) (a) barred the State from prosecuting Kalua on the excessive speeding charge. The court further found that the double jeopardy clause barred the State from prosecuting Kalua on the excessive speeding charge.

         The district court's order granting Kalua's motion to dismiss the excessive speeding charge was filed on May 21, 2012, and later amended on September 26, 2012. In the amended order, the district court cited HRS § 701-109(2) in concluding that the State was barred from prosecuting Kalua on the excessive speeding charge. The district court explained that Kalua's conduct consisted of "the operation of his vehicle at a speed in excess of the applicable speed limit," and concluded that his conduct "constituted a single episode." The court therefore concluded that prosecution of the excessive speeding offense was barred because HRS § 701-109(2) bars separate trials for offenses based on the same conduct or arising from the same episode.

         B. ICA Proceedings

         In its opinion, the ICA vacated the district court's order granting Kalua's motion to dismiss and remanded the case for proceedings consistent with its opinion. State v. Kalua, 136 Hawai'i 181, 189, 358 P.3d 750, 758 (App. 2015). The ICA held that the prior adjudication of Kalua's speeding infraction fails to bar the State from subsequently prosecuting Kalua for the crime of excessive speeding. Id. at 184-86, 358 P.3d at 753-55. In the ICA's view, HRS § 291D-3(d) (2007) "eliminates any bar to criminal prosecution that could otherwise arise from the separate adjudication of non-criminal traffic infractions[, ]" and "permit[s] prosecution of a criminal offense where the adjudicated traffic infraction is a lesser included traffic infraction of the charged crime." Id. at 186, 358 P.3d at 755. The ICA also concluded that double jeopardy did not bar subsequent prosecution for excessive speeding because double jeopardy only prohibits successive criminal prosecutions, and therefore did not apply to the prior civil adjudication for the speeding infraction. Id. at 187-89, 358 P.3d at 756-58.

         II. Standards of Review

         A. Constitutional Law

         "This court reviews questions of constitutional law de novo under the right/wrong standard and thus exercises its own independent judgment based on the facts of the case." State v. Curtis, 139 Hawai'i 486, 492, 394 P.3d 716, 722 (2017) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

         B. Statutory Interpretation

         Statutory interpretation is "a question of law reviewable de novo." State v. Levi, 102 Hawai'i 282, 285, 75 P.3d 1173, 1176 (2003) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Statutory construction is guided by established rules:

First, the fundamental starting point for statutory interpretation is the language of the statute itself. Second, where the statutory language is plain and unambiguous, our sole duty is to give effect to its plain and obvious meaning. Third, implicit in the task of statutory construction is our foremost obligation to ascertain and give effect to the intention of the legislature, which is to be obtained primarily from the language contained in the statute itself. Fourth, when there is doubt, doubleness of meaning, or indistinctiveness or uncertainty of an expression used in a statute, an ambiguity exists.

State v, Bayly, 118 Hawai'i 1, 6, 185 P.3d 186, 191 (2008) (citation omitted).

         C. Conclusions of Law

         "A trial court's conclusions of law are reviewed de novo under the right/wrong standard." State v. Adler, 108 Hawai'i 169, 174, 118 P.3d 652, 657 (2005) (citation omitted).

         III. Discussion

         Kalua raises a single issue: does the prior adjudication of his civil traffic offense of speeding bar the State from subsequently prosecuting Kalua for the criminal traffic offense of excessive speeding? See HRS § 291C-102 (penalizing speeding); HRS § 291C-105 (penalizing excessive speeding).

         Kalua contends the prior adjudication under HRS § 291C-102 prevents subsequent prosecution for excessive speeding under HRS § 291C-105, and advances three arguments in support of his contention. First, he argues that the State cannot prosecute him on the excessive speeding charge because HRS § 701-109(1)(a) bars convicting a defendant of multiple offenses where one offense is included in the other. Having been convicted of the lesser offense of speeding, he argues, he cannot later be prosecuted for the greater offense of excessive speeding as well, given that both were committed in the same course of conduct. Second, Kalua argues that HRS § 701-109(2) imposes a compulsory joinder requirement barring successive trials for multiple offenses arising from the same conduct. In other words, he argues the State was required to prosecute both offenses together. Under this analysis, Kalua contends that because the speeding charge had already been adjudicated, the State was barred under HRS § 701-109(2) from prosecuting him in a later trial on the excessive speeding charge. Third, Kalua argues that the double jeopardy doctrine bars the State from prosecuting him for both speeding and excessive speeding.

         The State contends that it may prosecute Kalua for excessive speeding even though the speeding infraction he committed during the same course of conduct has been adjudicated. According to the State, HRS § 291D-3(d) expressly prevents HRS § 701-109 from barring subsequent prosecution of a criminal traffic offense, such as excessive speeding, when a prior civil traffic offense committed during the same course of conduct has already been adjudicated. Second, as to the compulsory joinder requirement of HRS § 701-109(2), the State argues that the statute applies only if both offenses are known to the prosecuting officer at the time the first trial begins, and that was not the case here. Finally, the State stresses, double jeopardy applies only to successive criminal trials, not to a civil adjudication followed by a criminal trial.

          We begin by examining the double jeopardy doctrine and conclude it is not applicable. We then consider the State's arguments that HRS § 291D-3(d) precludes traffic offenses from the prohibitions contained in HRS § 701-109 regarding separate prosecutions and multiple convictions. We hold that HRS § 291D- 3(d) precludes the compulsory joinder requirement contained in HRS § 701-109(2) in the context of traffic infractions. Accordingly, Kalua can be prosecuted separately for speeding and excessive speeding. However, we also conclude that HRS § 291D- 3(d) does not preclude applicability of HRS § 701-109 regarding lesser included offenses.[8] Thus, Kalua cannot be convicted of speeding and excessive speeding if both offenses involve the same conduct pursuant to HRS § 701-109(1), as speeding is a lesser included offense of excessive speeding pursuant to HRS §§ 701-109(1) (a) and 701-109 (4) .

         A. The Double Jeopardy Clause Does Not Bar Kalua's Prosecution for Excessive Speeding

"Double jeopardy protects individuals against: (1) a second prosecution for the same offense after acquittal; (2) a second prosecution for the same offense after conviction; and (3) multiple punishments for the same offense." State v. Higa, 79 Hawai'i 1, 5, 897 P.2d 928, 932 (1995). Kalua argues that the double jeopardy clauses of the U.S. and Hawai'i Constitutions bar the State from prosecuting the excessive speeding charge. The ICA rejected Kalua's argument by concluding that because the double jeopardy clause only bars successive criminal prosecutions and multiple criminal punishments, the prior adjudication of Kalua's noncriminal speeding ...

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