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State v. Young

Supreme Court of Hawaii

July 3, 2019

STATE OF HAWAI'I, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
STEVEN E. YOUNG, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.

          CERTIORARI TO THE INTERMEDIATE COURT OF APPEALS (CAAP-17-0000055; CR. NO. 16-1-0432)

          Shawn A. Luiz for petitioner.

          Paul R. Mow for respondent.

          McKenna, Pollack, and Wilson, JJ., with Nakayama, J., dissenting, with whom Recktenwald, C.J., joins.

          SUMMARY DISPOSITION ORDER

         We accepted Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant Steven E. Young's ("Young") application for a writ of certiorari from the Intermediate Court of Appeals' ("ICA") September 11, 2018 Judgment on Appeal pursuant to its May 31, 2018 Summary Disposition Order ("SDO"). The ICA affirmed the Circuit Court of the First Circuit's ("circuit court")[1] December 1, 2016 Judgment of Conviction and Probation Sentence in favor of Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee the State of Hawai'i ("State").

         Previously, in 2000, Young was convicted and sentenced for 1999 charges of Sex Assault in the Second Degree and Sex Assault in the Third Degree of his ex-girlfriend. Young was initially sentenced to five years of probation with one year of confinement, and he was also ordered to complete a sex offender treatment program. Based on his conviction on sex assault offenses, Young was also required to register as a sex offender, which comes with various reporting requirements under Hawai'i Revised Statutes ("HRS") Chapter 846E (2014). In 2001, Young's probation was revoked due to non-compliance with sex offender treatment program requirements, and he was re-sentenced to ten years' confinement. Young was paroled in 2007. His sentence for the sex assault convictions expired on November 5, 2010.

         After expiration of this sentence, Young was notified of continued reporting requirements based on his sex assault convictions. He failed to report in person as required by law within the thirty-day period following his date of birth in both 2014 and 2015. Additionally, Young's lack of a home address triggered a requirement that he report quarterly, and he failed to report from October 2014 to January 2016.

         After a March 30, 2016 traffic stop, Young was charged with two counts of Failure to Comply with Covered Offender Registration Requirements in violation of HRS §§ 846E-9(a)(2) & (c) (2014), and HRS §§ 846E-9(a)(12) & (c) (2014). On July 21, 2016, Young pled no contest and the circuit court adjudicated him guilty on both counts. The circuit court ordered a presentence investigation and report ("PSI").

         Young told the probation officer preparing the PSI he had completed the sex offender treatment program while in custody, a statement he also repeated at the December 1, 2016 sentencing. The probation officer who prepared the PSI indicated Young's claim that he completed the treatment program "was not verified as Hawaii Paroling Authority records were unavailable for review."

         The Deputy Attorney General representing the State requested that if the circuit court was inclined to grant probation, it also order Young to complete sex offender treatment. Young's defense counsel requested credit for time served and four years of Hawai'i's Opportunity Probation with Enforcement ("HOPE probation") for both counts. No determination was made before sentencing as to whether Young had previously completed sex offender treatment.

         The circuit court sentenced Young to a four year term of HOPE probation with special conditions, including one year of imprisonment with credit for time already served. The circuit court also ordered, as another special condition of Young's probation, that he "participate satisfactorily in the Hawai[']i sex offender treatment program as approved by [his] probation officer. . . ."

         Young filed a notice of appeal on February 2, 2017, raising two points on appeal: (1) the circuit court's adjudication of Young's guilt under HRS § 846E-9 violated Young's right to equal protection, and (2) the circuit court abused its discretion in sentencing Young to probation with special conditions of one year incarceration and the completion of sex offender treatment, because Young was not convicted of a new sex crime but of failing to report for previous sex crimes.

         The ICA affirmed the circuit court's judgment and sentence on May 31, 2018. State v. Young, CAAP-17-0000055 at 7 (App. May 31, 2018) (SDO). First, the ICA held that "Young waived his constitutional challenge to his conviction when he entered his no-contest plea." Young, SDO at 4. Second, the ICA held that the circuit court's sentence of one year of incarceration as a special condition of his probation was in accord with the guidelines set forth in State v. Sumera, 97 Hawai'i 430, 39 P.3d 557 (2002), and was not an abuse of discretion. Young, SDO at 6. The ICA also stated:

Here, although Young was not convicted of a new sex offense, the Circuit Court had information before it indicating that Young had a history of improper sexual behavior, including prior convictions for sexual assault in the second degree and sexual assault in the third degree. Furthermore, it appears that Young never completed the sex offender treatment stemming from his previous sexual assault convictions. Therefore, we conclude ...

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