79 Hawai'i 10, Grattafiori v. State, No. 17733

CourtSupreme Court of Hawai'i
Writing for the CourtBefore MOON; LEVINSON
Citation79 Hawaii 10,897 P.2d 937
Parties79 Hawai'i 10 Anthony N. GRATTAFIORI, Petitioner-Appellant, v. STATE of Hawai'i, Respondent-Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 17733
Decision Date19 May 1995

Page 937

897 P.2d 937
79 Hawai'i 10
Anthony N. GRATTAFIORI, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
STATE of Hawai'i, Respondent-Appellee.
No. 17733.
Supreme Court of Hawai'i.
May 19, 1995.

Page 938

[79 Hawai'i 11] Anthony N. Grattafiori, pro se, on the briefs, Hilo, for petitioner-appellant Anthony N. Grattafiori.

Robert K. Kekuna, Jr., Deputy Prosecuting Atty., on the briefs, Wailuku, Maui, for respondent-appellee State of Hawai'i.

Before MOON, C.J., and KLEIN, LEVINSON, NAKAYAMA and RAMIL, JJ.

LEVINSON, Justice.

This appeal allows us to clarify the rules regarding timeliness of the filing of a notice of appeal pursuant to Hawai'i Rules of Penal Procedure (HRPP) Rule 40, which governs petitions for post-conviction relief. 1 The petitioner-appellant Anthony N. Grattafiori appeals from the second circuit court's order denying his second HRPP Rule 40 petition for post-conviction relief.

For the reasons set forth below, we need not reach the merits of Grattafiori's claim. 2 Instead, we dismiss the case for lack of appellate jurisdiction.

I. BACKGROUND

In September 1983, Linda White and her thirteen-year-old daughter, Keri White, were found dead at the Maui Islander Apartment Complex. Grattafiori was subsequently arrested on suspicion of the double homicide and was held at the Maui Community Correctional Center pending his trial. Grattafiori had lived with the two victims from April 1983 until the time of their deaths.

Sometime during his pre-trial incarceration, Grattafiori confided in his cellmate, John Belger, that he had killed Linda White with a hammer because she was planning to leave him. Grattafiori further admitted that he had also killed Keri White, in order to prevent her from going to the police. Belger notified authorities of Grattafiori's confession.

Prior to commencement of his jury trial, Grattafiori moved to have his jailcell statements suppressed, arguing that any cellmate, named as a witness for the prosecution, who allegedly received incriminating statements from Grattafiori was a de facto agent of the State. Grattafiori further contended that, because Belger was an agent of the State, any statements that he made to Belger were obtained unconstitutionally, thereby rendering them inadmissible. The circuit court, finding no evidence that Belger was actually an agent of the State, denied Grattafiori's motion.

Grattafiori's jury trial spanned the period from July 28, 1986 through August 14, 1986. At trial, Belger testified as a witness for the prosecution. Grattafiori objected to Belger's testimony on the grounds described above. The court overruled the objection and permitted Belger to testify regarding the jailhouse conversation he had had with Grattafiori. 3

Page 939

[79 Hawai'i 12] The jury eventually found Grattafiori guilty of both murders. On November 19, 1986, the court sentenced Grattafiori to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. Grattafiori filed a timely notice of appeal. Although he raised a number of points of error on appeal, Grattafiori neither challenged the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress his jailhouse statements to Belger nor appealed the introduction of Belger's statements at trial over defense counsel's objection. On December 16, 1987, this court affirmed Grattafiori's conviction. State v. Grattafiori, No. 11923 (Haw. Dec. 16, 1987) (mem. op.).

On January 14, 1991, Grattafiori filed his first petition for post-conviction relief pursuant to HRPP Rule 40. In this petition, Grattafiori raised twelve grounds for relief, including the claim that his jailcell confession to Belger was inadmissible, inasmuch as Belger had been allegedly "coerced" into serving as an agent for the MCPD. On July 31, 1991, the circuit court denied the petition without a hearing. Grattafiori did not appeal the circuit court's order denying his first petition.

Later, on June 21, 1993, Grattafiori filed a second HRPP Rule 40 petition. The second petition again sought to vacate the judgments entered against him. Grattafiori asserted six grounds for relief, of which only the allegation that the circuit court improperly admitted Belger's testimony regarding Grattafiori's jailcell confession is raised as a point of error in this appeal. 4 The prosecution filed its response on August 26, 1993. On October 15, 1993, Grattafiori filed an amended HRPP Rule 40 petition. The amended second petition contained additional arguments on the merits but did not address jurisdictional matters.

On January 21, 1994, Grattafiori filed a notice of appeal in the instant matter, inaccurately stating that judgment denying the amended second HRPP Rule 40 petition had been entered on October 15, 1993. In fact, the circuit court had entered no ruling, decision, or order as of that date.

On February 14, 1994, three weeks after Grattafiori filed his notice of appeal, the circuit court issued an order denying Grattafiori's amended second HRPP Rule 40 petition without a hearing. 5 The court concluded that Grattafiori was foreclosed from twice raising the issue of the admissibility of his jailhouse confession in an HRPP Rule 40 petition, the matter having been previously raised and decided in Grattafiori's pre-trial motion to suppress and in his first HRPP Rule 40 petition. Inasmuch as Grattafiori failed to challenge the court's order denying his motion to suppress in his prior appeal and also declined to appeal the circuit court's...

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126 practice notes
  • 81 Hawai'i 279, State v. Nguyen, No. 17535
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Hawai'i
    • May 7, 1996
    ...court's decision was unannounced and no notice of the entry of judgment was ever provided." Grattafiori v. State, 79 Hawai'i 10, 13-14, 897 P.2d 937, 940-41 (1995). Nguyen has not asserted either that his counsel ineffectively failed to pursue an appeal within thirty days of his 1986 convic......
  • State v. Naititi, No. 25779.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Hawai'i
    • April 12, 2004
    ...is purely statutory and exists only when given by some constitutional or statutory provision." Grattafiori v. State, 79 Hawai'i 10, 13, 897 P.2d 937, 940 (1995). "The [prosecution's] right to appeal in a criminal case is limited to those instances set forth in HRS § 641-13." State v. Dannen......
  • State v. Uchima, SCWC-17-0000081
    • United States
    • Hawaii Supreme Court
    • May 19, 2020
    ...we lack jurisdiction." State v. Knight, 80 Hawai‘i 318, 323, 909 P.2d 1133, 1138 (1996) (quoting Grattafiori v. State, 79 Hawai‘i 10, 13, 897 P.2d 937, 940 (1995) ). While the rule in isolation appears inflexible, this court has allowed untimely appeals when "defense counsel has inexcusably......
  • Hui Kako'O Aina Ho`Opulapula v. Blnr, No. 27159.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Hawai'i
    • September 21, 2006
    ...party's "compliance with the methods and procedures prescribed by statute is obligatory." Grattafiori v. State, 79 Hawai`i 10, 13, 897 P.2d 937, 940 (1995) (emphasis In re Doe, 102 Hawai`i 246, 249, 74 P.3d 998, 1001 (2003) (brackets in original). Consequently, we first address the Appellee......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
126 cases
  • 81 Hawai'i 279, State v. Nguyen, No. 17535
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Hawai'i
    • May 7, 1996
    ...court's decision was unannounced and no notice of the entry of judgment was ever provided." Grattafiori v. State, 79 Hawai'i 10, 13-14, 897 P.2d 937, 940-41 (1995). Nguyen has not asserted either that his counsel ineffectively failed to pursue an appeal within thirty days of his 1986 convic......
  • State v. Naititi, No. 25779.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Hawai'i
    • April 12, 2004
    ...is purely statutory and exists only when given by some constitutional or statutory provision." Grattafiori v. State, 79 Hawai'i 10, 13, 897 P.2d 937, 940 (1995). "The [prosecution's] right to appeal in a criminal case is limited to those instances set forth in HRS § 641-13." State v. Dannen......
  • State v. Uchima, SCWC-17-0000081
    • United States
    • Hawaii Supreme Court
    • May 19, 2020
    ...we lack jurisdiction." State v. Knight, 80 Hawai‘i 318, 323, 909 P.2d 1133, 1138 (1996) (quoting Grattafiori v. State, 79 Hawai‘i 10, 13, 897 P.2d 937, 940 (1995) ). While the rule in isolation appears inflexible, this court has allowed untimely appeals when "defense counsel has inexcusably......
  • Hui Kako'O Aina Ho`Opulapula v. Blnr, No. 27159.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Hawai'i
    • September 21, 2006
    ...party's "compliance with the methods and procedures prescribed by statute is obligatory." Grattafiori v. State, 79 Hawai`i 10, 13, 897 P.2d 937, 940 (1995) (emphasis In re Doe, 102 Hawai`i 246, 249, 74 P.3d 998, 1001 (2003) (brackets in original). Consequently, we first address the Appellee......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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