429 P.3d 1229 (Hawai’i App. 2018), CAAP-16-0000593, State v. Carroll

Docket Nº:CAAP-16-0000593
Citation:429 P.3d 1229, 143 Hawai‘i 300
Party Name:STATE of Hawai‘i, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. William Roy CARROLL, III, Defendant-Appellant
Attorney:Keith S. Shigetomi, for Defendant-Appellant. Ha‘aheo M. Kaho‘ohalahala, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, for Plaintiff-Appellee.
Judge Panel:By: Ginoza, Chief Judge, Leonard and Reifurth, JJ.
Case Date:October 31, 2018
Court:Court of Appeals of Hawai'i, Intermediate
 
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Page 1229

429 P.3d 1229 (Hawai’i App. 2018)

143 Hawai‘i 300

STATE of Hawai‘i, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

William Roy CARROLL, III, Defendant-Appellant

No. CAAP-16-0000593

Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawai‘i

October 31, 2018

Editorial Note:

This decision has been designated as "Unpublished disposition." in the Pacific Reporter. See HI R RAP RULE 35

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE THIRD CIRCUIT (CR. NO. 15-1-386)

On the briefs:

Keith S. Shigetomi, for Defendant-Appellant.

Ha‘aheo M. Kaho‘ohalahala, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

By: Ginoza, Chief Judge, Leonard and Reifurth, JJ.

[143 Hawai‘i 301] SUMMARY DISPOSITION ORDER

Defendant-Appellant William Roy Carroll III (Carroll) appeals from the "Judgment of Conviction and Sentence" (Judgment) filed on July 27, 2016, in the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit (Circuit Court).1 Carroll was convicted of one count of Theft in the Second Degree in violation of Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) § 708-830(1) (2014)2 and HRS § 708-831(1)(b) (2014),3 and one count of Theft in the Third Degree in violation of HRS § 708-830(1) and § 708-832(1)(a) (2014).4 ,5

On appeal, Carroll contends that the Circuit Court erred in: (1) denying his challenges to two prospective jurors for cause because the voir dire examination revealed that each had preconceived biases that threatened their ability to serve as impartial jurors; (2) denying Carroll’s Motion for Judgment of Acquittal because the testimony elicited at trial on the valuation of items claimed to be stolen and damaged was insufficient to support a conviction in each charge; and (3) sentencing Carroll to the indeterminate term of incarceration of five years, because such sentence improperly penalized Carroll for exercising his right to a trial.

Upon careful review of the record and briefs submitted by the parties and having given due consideration to the arguments advanced and the issues raised, as well as the relevant statutory and case law, we resolve Carroll’s points of error as follows, and affirm.

Plaintiff-Appellee State of Hawai‘i (State) charged Carroll with one count of Theft in the Second Degree, one count of Theft in the Third Degree and one count of Criminal Property Damage in the Second Degree in violation of HRS § 708-821(1)(b) (2014).6 The charges against Carroll were in connection with an incident in Hilo, Hawai‘i, on September 6, 2015, in which a bronze statue of King Kamehameha I was damaged, and a bronze spear connected to the statue was removed and later found with a four-foot pipe and forty-foot chain.

The case proceeded to jury selection and trial before the Circuit Court. During jury selection, Carroll challenged for cause the seating of Prospective Juror 35 (Juror 35) and Prospective Juror 48 (Juror 48). Carroll alleged that the voir dire examination had revealed preconceived biases of Juror 35 and Juror 48 that threatened their ability to sit as impartial jurors in the instant case.

Carroll’s challenges were largely based on both jurors’ exposure to pre-trial media coverage that had discussed the incident involving the statue, and their somewhat ambiguous responses regarding their ability to be impartial should they be selected as jurors. Carroll also questioned Juror 48’s ability to be impartial based on her disclosure of prior discussions about the incident with her children awhile back, who had expressed their displeasure about the incident.7 The Circuit Court allowed for separate questioning of prospective Jurors 35 and 48, respectively, to investigate whether they could be fair and impartial. Ultimately, the Circuit Court was satisfied with both jurors’ overall responses, noting that each had expressed that they were fairly certain that they could disregard any prior information regarding the case, or any preliminary decisions concerning Carroll’s alleged involvement. As such, Carroll’s challenges to Juror 35 and Juror 48 for cause were denied. At the conclusion of jury selection, Carroll elected to use all three of his allotted peremptory challenges, two of which were used to excuse Juror 35 and Juror 48.[8]

During trial, the State presented testimony by Robert "Bobby" Yamada (Yamada) about the Kamehameha I statue. Yamada, who is a construction manager by trade and licensed general contractor, testified that he was part of the Kamehameha Statue Committee that installed the statue in its current place. As general contractor for the project, Yamada was familiar with the bronze statue and the attached bronze spear, which were the subject property in Counts 1 and 2.9 After examination by both parties, the Circuit Court qualified Yamada to render an opinion as an estimator and general contractor over Carroll’s objection. Yamada proceeded to offer testimony regarding his opinion of the replacement cost of the piece of the statue that was stolen, and the approximate cost to repair the portions of the statue damaged in the alleged incident.

The State also offered the testimony of Patrick Ehrenlechner (Ehrenlechner) to testify about the property involved in Count 310 of the instant case. Ehrenlechner testified that as Manager of Bayfront Motors, he was familiar with the pipe and chain that were allegedly taken from Bayfront Motors’ property, and estimated its value at approximately $135.00. Ehrenlechner based his estimate on the original price he paid to purchase the pipe and chain.

At the conclusion of the State’s case in chief, Carroll made a motion for judgment of acquittal, asserting that the State had failed to prove the necessary elements of each charge, specifically the requisite costs or value of the items allegedly damaged and stolen. The Circuit Court denied Carroll’s motion, finding that the testimony elicited from the State regarding the valuation of the property was sufficient for the jury to consider in determining whether the elements of the charges were proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury subsequently found Carroll guilty of all charges.11 On July 26, 2016, the Circuit Court sentenced Carroll to an indeterminate term of incarceration of five years.

(1) Challenges to Jurors. We review the Circuit Courts decision to pass a juror for cause under the abuse of discretion...

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