Nakama v. Russell, CAAP-20-0000546

CourtCourt of Appeals of Hawai'i
Citation151 Hawai‘i 167,509 P.3d 1130 (Table)
Docket NumberCAAP-20-0000546
Parties Sharon Shizue NAKAMA, Petititoner-Appellee, v. Jordan RUSSELL, Respondent-Appellant
Decision Date25 May 2022

151 Hawai‘i 167
509 P.3d 1130 (Table)

Sharon Shizue NAKAMA, Petititoner-Appellee,
v.
Jordan RUSSELL, Respondent-Appellant

NO. CAAP-20-0000546

Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawai‘i.

May 25, 2022


On the brief:

Alen M. Kaneshiro, for Defendant-Appellant.

(By: Leonard, Presiding Judge, and Wadsworth and Nakasone, JJ.)

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Respondent-Appellant Jordan Russell (Russell ) appeals from the Order Granting Petition for Injunction Against Harassment (Injunction ), entered on August 10, 2020, in the District Court of the Second Circuit (District Court ), Wailuku Division.1 Following an evidentiary hearing, the District Court enjoined Russell, pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS ) § 604-10.5 (2016),2 from contacting, threatening, or harassing Petitioner-Appellee Sharon Shizue Nakama (Nakama ) and entering or visiting her residence or workplace.

Russell raises a single point of error on appeal, contending that the District Court erred in finding by clear and convincing evidence that harassment occurred.

For the reasons discussed below, we affirm the Injunction.

I. Background

On June 5, 2020, Nakama filed a Petition for Ex Parte Temporary Restraining Order and for Injunction Against Harassment (Petition ), pursuant to HRS § 604-10.5. Nakama's attached declaration stated: Russell was a former school classmate with whom Nakama had not spoken or had any contact since 2010. On May 25, 2020, Russell began contacting Nakama via Snapchat and "[t]ext conversations over SMS." Initial conversations were "normal" " ‘catching up’ between classmates." However, "[t]he contact escalated on [Russell's] behalf[,]" and "[h]e made [Nakama] feel unsafe by pushing [her] to hang out with him alone." After receiving "[c]ondescending and [c]ontinuous [m]essages from Russell, Nakama "blocked him from Snapchat, phone, and texts[.]" Nevertheless, on May 28, 2020, Russell "show[ed] up at [Nakama's] workplace uninvited." The same day, Nakama sent Russell an outgoing text message stating, "Do not contact me[,]" and another message a minute later stating, "Never again." Russell continued to send messages to Nakama, including one stating "I love you[,]" and continued to leave her voicemails. Russell "[c]laimed in voicemails he loved [Nakama], was in love with [her], and that he could be someone to help [her] show [her] feminine side." Russell also sent messages to Nakama's partner and to one of her friends. Nakama stated in her declaration: "I fear for my life from the ongoing calls, texts, and voicemails that are unwelcome[ ] from ... Russell. ... I fear for my safety and wellbeing. I also am concerned and fear for the safety of my coworkers, family, and those I have mentioned in my text messages."

At an evidentiary hearing on August 10, 2020, Nakama testified that she was "standing by the truthfulness of all of the statements ... that [she] made in [the P]etition ...." She also testified about other unwelcome contacts by Russell after she filed the Petition, including two voicemails on June 7 and nine voicemails on June 8, 2020. Nakama played several of the voicemails in court without objection. Nakama stated that she was "fearful for my safety and life" and explained that "[Russell] and I have no previous relationship except being classmates in school."

At the August 10, 2020 hearing, Russell testified that Respondent's Exhibit 1, a picture of his "Snapchat" application, showed that he had been "friends" with Nakama since June 10, 2020, "and in order for that to happen, you'd have to add me." However, Nakama testified that she did not physically add Russell as a "friend" at that time. She further stated: "I don't know if it's an auto add being on Snapchat, but after that I had deleted my Snapchat."

Following the presentation of evidence and closing argument by Russell's counsel, the District Court stated:

THE COURT: ... [T]he Court has listened to the testimony of [Nakama] and [Nakama]'s witness. The Court has also listened to the testimony of [Russell].

... [T]he Court has also had the opportunity to review the petition for temporary restraining order, ah, that was attached to, um, [Nakama]'s, ah, petition that was filed on June 5th.

... Mr. Russell, you know, contrary to what your attorney has argued to the Court this morning, ... in the Court's opinion ... I don't take this and say this lightly, but I think you have some serious problems here. Um, you have some serious psychiatric problems in the Court's opinion to be honest.

... [T]he frequency of your unwanted calls to [Nakama], the type of messages that you've left on her voicemail, the fact that you haven't listened to her repeated request to you to not have any contact with her, and then you actually even show up at her workplace with flowers and chocolate.

Um, that tells the Court that you somehow have not been able to understand and receive messages from somebody that's telling you that they don't want contact.

... I think that's probably the mistake that you're making in your life right now is you don't listen when people tell you things.

She doesn't want any contact with you, period. But yet you continue to call her.

And, you know, when I see things you call her on June 7, leaving voicemails. You call her again the following day. You leave multiple voicemails. Who does that? And who does that as a person that doesn't understand when somebody says that they don't want any form of contact with them?

So I -- I think you should get some help, Mr. Russell, for something that you obviously have not been able to grasp and understand.

And so the Court does find [Nakama] to be credible. [Nakama] has proven her claim or her -- her request for the injunction by clear and convincing evidence.

... [A]nd to a certain extent I agree with one portion of
...

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