State v. Aliwis, CAAP-19-0000653

CourtCourt of Appeals of Hawai'i
Citation151 Hawai‘i 133,508 P.3d 1219 (Table)
Docket NumberCAAP-19-0000653
Parties STATE of Hawai‘i, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Ray ALIWIS, Defendant-Appellant
Decision Date17 May 2022

151 Hawai‘i 133
508 P.3d 1219 (Table)

STATE of Hawai‘i, Plaintiff-Appellee,
Ray ALIWIS, Defendant-Appellant

NO. CAAP-19-0000653

Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawai‘i.

May 17, 2022

On the briefs:

Walter R. Schoettle, for Defendant-Appellant.

Chad M. Kumagai, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

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


Defendant-Appellant Ray Aliwis (Aliwis ) appeals from the Notice of Entry of Judgment and/or Order and Plea/Judgment, filed August 22, 2019 (Judgment ), in the District Court of the First Circuit (District Court ),1 convicting Aliwis of Operating a Vehicle After License and Privilege Have Been Suspended or Revoked for Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant (OVLPSR-OVUII ), in violation of Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS ) § 291E-62(a)(1)(2)(c) and/or (a)(2), (c)(1).2

On appeal, Aliwis raises five points of error: (1) sufficiency of the charge, (2) admission of the Plaintiff-Appellee State of Hawai‘i's (State ) Exhibits 1-3,3 (3) denial of Aliwis' Motion for Judgment of Acquittal (MJOA ), (4) sufficiency of the evidence, and (5) failure to enter a finding that Aliwis' waiver of his right to testify was knowing and voluntary.

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, we resolve Aliwis' points of error as follows, and affirm.

(1) "[C]harges which are tardily challenged after conviction are liberally construed in favor of validity." State v. Elliott, 77 Hawai‘i 309, 311, 884 P.2d 372, 374 (1994) (brackets, quotations, and block quote formatting omitted). "Our adoption of this liberal construction standard for post-conviction challenges to indictments means we will not reverse a conviction based upon a defective indictment unless the defendant can show prejudice or that the indictment cannot within reason be construed to charge a crime." State v. Motta, 66 Haw. 89, 91, 657 P.2d 1019, 1020 (1983). Aliwis did not challenge the sufficiency of the charge below. Aliwis does not assert or show any prejudice caused by the State's allegedly defective charge. Aliwis' first contention is without merit.

(2) Aliwis challenges the admission of State's Exhibits 1, 2, and 3 as being irrelevant because there is no evidence linking the exhibits to him; his statement of the points of error also mentions, but his brief makes no discernible argument about, hearsay. "A trial court's determination that evidence is 'relevant' within the meaning of [Hawaii Rules of Evidence (HRE)] Rule 401 is reviewed under the right/wrong standard of review." State v. Wagner, 139 Hawai‘i 475, 480, 394 P.3d 705, 710 (2017) (citation and block quote formatting omitted). "Relevant evidence" is "evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence." HRE Rule 401 (2016). Here, the three exhibits admitted -- (1) a certified traffic abstract (Traffic Abstract ); (2) a certified ADLRO Notice of Administrative Review Decision (ADLRO Decision ); and (3) a ADLRO Notice of Administrative Revocation (NOAR )4 -- all relate to Aliwis' prior OVUII charge and, thus, make the fact that Aliwis committed OVLPSR-OVUII more probable than without them.

Moreover, contrary to Aliwis' assertions, the exhibits were linked to Aliwis by more than his name alone. Exhibit 3 contains the same birth year and last four digits of Aliwis' social security number (SSN ) as reflected in Exhibit 1. Additionally, Exhibits 1, 2, and 3 contain the same police report number and date of arrest. The matching information in Exhibit 3 was sufficient to link all of the exhibits to Aliwis. See State v. Kam, 134 Hawai‘i 280, 288-89, 339 P.3d 1081, 1089-90 (App. 2014) (holding that "matches" in various exhibits containing defendant's name, address, date of birth, and last four digits of SSN constituted sufficient evidence of a prior OVUII conviction).

(3) and (4) The standard applied when assessing a ruling on an MJOA is: "whether, upon the evidence viewed in the light most favorable to the prosecution and in full recognition of the province of the jury, a reasonable mind might fairly conclude guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." State v. Alston, 75 Haw. 517, 528, 865 P.2d 157, 164 (1994) (citations omitted). Sufficiency of evidence to support a conviction is measured by viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, to determine "whether there was substantial evidence to support the conclusion of the trier of fact." State v. Young, 93 Hawai‘i 224, 230, 999 P.2d 230, 236 (2000).

Aliwis premised his MJOA on two grounds: (a) without a license, the State could not prove the prior revocation of a "non-existent license" element of OVLPSR-OVUII, and (b) without proof that Aliwis received the ADLRO Decision, the State...

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