430 P.3d 890 (Hawai’i App. 2018), CAAP-16-0000053, St. Clair v. State

Docket Nº:CAAP-16-0000053
Citation:430 P.3d 890, 143 Hawai‘i 329
Party Name:Stephen Keith ST. CLAIR, Petitioner-Appellant, v. STATE of Hawai‘i, Respondent-Appellee.
Attorney:Jeffrey A. Hawk (Hawk Sing & Ignacio), Honolulu, for Petitioner-Appellant. Diane K. Taira and Richard W. Stacey, Deputy Attorneys General, for Respondent-Appellee.
Judge Panel:By: Leonard, Presiding Judge, Reifurth and Chan, JJ.
Case Date:November 19, 2018
Court:Court of Appeals of Hawai'i, Intermediate
 
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Page 890

430 P.3d 890 (Hawai’i App. 2018)

143 Hawai‘i 329

Stephen Keith ST. CLAIR, Petitioner-Appellant,

v.

STATE of Hawai‘i, Respondent-Appellee.

No. CAAP-16-0000053

Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawai‘i

November 19, 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This decision has been designated as "Unpublished disposition."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 (S.P.P. NO. 14-1-008K (CR. NO. 02-1-0064K) )

On the briefs:

Jeffrey A. Hawk (Hawk Sing & Ignacio), Honolulu, for Petitioner-Appellant.

Diane K. Taira and Richard W. Stacey, Deputy Attorneys General, for Respondent-Appellee.

By: Leonard, Presiding Judge, Reifurth and Chan, JJ.

SUMMARY DISPOSITION ORDER

Petitioner-Appellant Stephen St. Clair (St. Clair) appeals from (1) the "Order Denying Petition to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Judgment or to Release Petitioner from Custody; Habeas Corpus," filed on April 27, 2015 (Order Denying Petition) and (2) the "Order Denying ‘Motion for Reconsideration of Petition to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Judgment or to Release Petitioner from Custody; Habeas Corpus,’ " (Order Denying Reconsideration) filed on December 31, 2015 in the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit (Circuit Court).1

St. Clair was convicted after a jury trial of manslaughter, operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, and driving without no-fault insurance.2 See State v. St. Clair, 101 Hawai‘i 280, 283-86, 67 P.3d 779, 782-85 (2003) (St. Clair I). These convictions arose out of St. Clair’s driving while intoxicated and striking and killing a pedestrian, Jane O’Brien, on February 23, 2002. At trial, St. Clair admitted that he had consumed at least twelve beers before the accident, and the State showed that his blood alcohol content was .211 grams per one hundred milliliters of blood immediately following the accident. As relevant to this appeal, St. Clair was sentenced to a twenty year term of incarceration.

In this appeal, St. Clair challenges the Circuit Court’s Order Denying Petition and Order Denying Reconsideration, which had denied St. Clair’s petition filed under Hawai‘i Rule of Penal Procedure (HRPP) Rule 40 (Petition). St. Clair’s Petition challenged the Hawai‘i Paroling Authority’s (HPA) order, following a hearing in April of 2014, determining that St. Clair merited a Level III punishment classification and that his minimum term of imprisonment (MTI) should be thirteen years (2014 MTI Order). After St. Clair filed his Petition but before the Circuit Court denied his Motion for Reconsideration, the HPA entered a new order following a new MTI hearing in May of 2015 which affirmed St. Clair’s Level III classification and an MTI of thirteen years (2015 MTI Order).

St. Clair raises four points of error. In Point One, St. Clair argues that the decision by the HPA to base its MTI decision in the 2015 MTI Order on the sole factor of "Nature of Offense" resulted in an illegal sentence because the finding that he acted "callously" implicates an intent or knowing state of mind but he was convicted for acting recklessly. In Point Two, St. Clair argues that the Circuit Court erred in finding that his claims were moot. In Point Three, St. Clair argues the Circuit Court erred in not finding that his claims, if moot, qualified for an exception to the mootness doctrine and they should be decided. Finally, in Point Four, St. Clair argues the Circuit Court erred in finding his request for findings of fact and conclusions of law were moot.

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

(1) This court does not have jurisdiction to consider the Circuit Court’s Order Denying Petition as the Notice of Appeal was untimely filed. This court has an obligation to determine sua sponte whether we have jurisdiction over an appeal. See State v. Bryan, 124 Hawai‘i 404, 410, 245 P.3d 477, 483 (App. 2010)(citing Ditto v. McCurdy, 103 Hawai‘i 153, 157, 80 P.3d 974, 978 (2003) ). The right of appeal in a criminal case is purely statutory and, as such, it is only available where provided by some constitutional or statutory provision. See

Grattafiori v. State, 79 Hawai‘i 10, 13, 897 P.2d 937, 940 (1995). Pursuant to Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (HRS) § 641-11 and HRPP Rule 40, appeals from proceedings for post-conviction relief must be taken in accordance with Hawai‘i Rules of Appellate Procedure (HRAP) Rule 4(b). See id. "[P]ursuant to HRAP Rule 4(b), an appeal from an order denying post-conviction relief must either be filed within thirty days after the entry of the order denying the HRPP Rule 40 petition or, in the alternative, after the announcement but before the entry of the order." Id.

The Circuit Court’s Order Denying Petition was entered on April 27, 2015 and was an appealable final order pursuant to HRS § 641-11 and HRPP 40(h). See id. (notice of appeal of order denying post-conviction relief must be filed within thirty days after entry of the order denying HRPP Rule 40 petition under HRAP Rule 4(b) ). St. Clair’s next filing was his Motion for Reconsideration on June 29, 2015, over thirty days after the order denying his Rule 40 Petition, which, regardless, is not a tolling motion. See

State v. Brandimart, 68 Haw. 495, 496, 720 P.2d 1009, 1010 (1986) (motion for reconsideration under HRPP 47 is not a tolling motion). No appeal of the Order Denying Petition was filed until January 27, 2016, well beyond the time-limits required by HRAP 4(b). Therefore, this court does not have jurisdiction over the Order Denying Petition. See id. ("[C]ompliance with the requirement of the timely filing of a notice of appeal is jurisdictional" and "[w]e must dismiss an appeal on our own motion if we lack jurisdiction.")

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