CERTIORARI TO THE INTERMEDIATE COURT OF APPEALS
(CAAP-16-0000421, CASE NO. 3DTC-15-042273)
M. Tonaki, Audrey L. Stanley for Petitioner.
Mitchell D. Roth, David Blancett-Maddock for Respondents.
RECKTENWALD, C.J., NAKAYAMA, McKENNA, POLLACK, AND WILSON,
Michelle Helen Castillon ("Castillon") seeks review
of the May 31, 2017 opinion of the Intermediate Court of
Appeals ("ICA"). State v.
Castillon, 140 Hawai'i 242, 398 P.3d 831 (App.
2017). She contends that Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee State
of Hawai'i ("State") bore the burden to prove,
pursuant to Hawai'i Revised Statutes ("HRS")
§ 286-102(a) (2007),  that she did not possess a valid
driver's license issued by Canada or a valid commercial
driver's license issued by Canada or Mexico, which would
have exempted her from the requirement to operate a motor
vehicle with a valid Hawai'i driver's license.
Inasmuch as Castillon bore the initial burden to produce
"some evidence" to support an exemption, and she
failed to do so, the burden never shifted to the State to
prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Castillon did not have a
driver's license that qualified as an exemption.
was stopped by Officer Aron Tomota ("Officer
Tomota") for driving with expired safety and
registration tags on November 19, 2015. When he asked for her
State of Hawai'i driver's license, Castillon was not
able to provide one. Officer Tomota issued a citation to
Castillon for driving a motor vehicle with a revoked license
under HRS § 286-132 (2007) . The citation was later
amended to driving without a license ("DWOL") under
HRS § 286-102(b) (Supp. 2012).
District Court Proceedings
trial, the District Court of the Third Circuit
("district court") rejected Castillon's
argument that she was entitled to a judgment of acquittal
because the State failed to prove that she did not possess a
valid driver's license issued by Canada or
State offered testimony in its case-in-chief that established
Castillon did not have a valid Hawai'i driver's
license. Officer Tomota testified that when he stopped
Castillon, he called dispatch to verify whether she had a
license. Dispatch responded that Castillon's license had
been revoked. At trial, the supervising driver's license
examiner for the County of Hawai'i ("Examiner")
also testified that Castillon's State of Hawai'i
driver's license had been revoked prior to November 19,
2015. The Examiner testified that the State's database
precluded her from conducting research regarding
Castillon's licensure in Canada. She did not address
whether she was precluded from investigating Castillon's
licensure in Mexico.
did not introduce evidence that she possessed a valid
driver's license in Canada or Mexico. Rather, she argued
the State bore the burden to prove that she did not possess a
valid driver's license in Canada or Mexico and noted
that, while HRS § 286-102(a) requires all persons in the
State of Hawai'i to be "appropriately examined and
duly licensed as a qualified driver" before operating a
motor vehicle, certain persons described under HRS §
286-105 (2007) are exempted from this requirement,
including those who possess a valid driver's license
issued by "a province of the Dominion of Canada"
and those with a valid commercial driver's license issued
by "Mexico, or a province of the Dominion of
Canada[.]" HRS § 286-105(3) and (4). Thus, she
claimed, the State bore the burden to prove that she did not
possess a valid driver's license in Canada or Mexico.
on the evidence presented at trial, the district court
determined that the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt
that Castillon violated HRS § 286-102(b) by operating a
motor vehicle without a valid driver's license. Her
sentence to pay $187.00 in fees and fines was stayed pending
this appeal. Castillon filed an amended motion for
reconsideration of judgment and post-trial motion for
judgment of acquittal, asserting the same arguments. The
district court denied the motions.