State v. Fields

Decision Date31 May 2005
Docket NumberNo. 25455.,25455.
Citation201 P.3d 586,120 Haw. 73
PartiesSTATE of Hawai`i, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Reginald FIELDS, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtHawaii Court of Appeals

Karen T. Nakasone, (Deborah L. Kim on the brief) Deputy Public Defenders, for Defendant-Appellant.

Tracy Murakami, (Jennifer S. Winn on the brief) Deputy Prosecuting Attorneys, County of Kauai, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

BURNS, C.J., LIM and FOLEY, JJ.

Opinion of the Court by BURNS, C.J.

Defendant-Appellant Reginald Fields (Fields) appeals from the October 11, 2002 Judgment of the Family Court of the Fifth Circuit1 finding him guilty of Abuse of Family and Household Members, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) § 709-906 (Supp.2003), a misdemeanor, and sentencing him to probation for two years, and imprisonment for two days, with credit for time served. We affirm without prejudice to Fields' right to attempt to prove his right to post-conviction relief pursuant to Hawai`i Rules of Penal Procedure (HRPP) Rule 40 (2004).

BACKGROUND

On April 29, 2002, Plaintiff-Appellee State of Hawai`i (the State) filed a petition charging Fields with violating HRS § 709-906 by "intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly engag[ing] in and caus[ing] physical abuse of a family or household member," specifically his girlfriend Melinda Staggs (Melinda).

At the jury-waived trial on July 29, 2002, Melinda was the State's first witness. She testified that on April 13, 2002, she was living with Fields in the County of Kaua`i. The State then asked about the events that took place on the evening of April 13, 2002, and the following dialogue occurred:

Q. And you don't recall an incident that happened back in April where the police came over two times?

A. I have a hard time remembering. ...

. . . .

Q. Do you recall talking to a police officer on April 13th just before midnight at where you were living?

A. No.

. . . .

Q. Do you recall telling a police officer that on April 13th around 11:40 you and your boyfriend got into an argument?

A. No, I don't remember.

Q. Do you recall telling a police officer that you were lying chest down on the sofa in your living room?

A. No, I don't remember that.

Q. Do you recall telling a police officer that [Fields] came in behind you and started to push down on your neck with both of his hands?

A. No.

Q. Do you recall telling a police officer that this caused pain to your neck?

A. Nope.

Q. And do you recall telling a police officer that you could not breathe while he was holding you down?

A. No, I don't recall that.

Q. Do you recall — recall telling a police officer that [Fields] punched you once in the face causing pain to your face?

A. (No audible response.)

On cross-examination, Melinda recalled that her friend David Richards (Richards) was also present that evening, could not recall whether or not Richards attempted to hold her wrists to prevent her from slapping Fields, and recalled laying on Fields' surfboard and threatening to break it if Fields left that evening. To the question of whether the fact that she drank a lot of beer that night may have been the reason why she was unable to remember many of the details of that evening, she responded, "Perhaps."

The State's second witness was Karma Lhamo (Karma), the landlord of Fields and Melinda. When asked about the evening of April 13, 2002, she testified, in relevant part, as follows:

Q. How close are your homes?

A. The home that they rented from me is about, I would say, 100 feet or more away from where I live. Maybe 200.

. . . .

Q. Was [sic] the police called that evening?

A. Yes, twice.

Q. Can you briefly describe what happened the first time?

A. I was in my bathroom, I heard a car pull up. I didn't see who was in the car, it was dark. There were several people in the car. Melinda was standing outside yelling for Karma. Says: Karma, Karma, can you please call the cops?

Q. And did the police come?

. . . .

A. I would say about 15 minutes later.

Q. And how long were they there?

A. For a good two hours.

Q. And how many people had come in this car that you described?

A. Well, ... there's a total of four people in that car.

Q. And did the police escort everyone away?

A.... They took a taxi.... [T]hey were asked to take their car off of my property, and then they were asked to find another way home because they were all drunk....

Q. And who was escorted back to Melinda and [Field's] residence?

A. [Fields], Melinda, and they had company, [Richards], a friend of theirs.

Q. Now, after the officers left did you hear anything later that evening?

A. After I was escorted to my door or my walkway ..., I heard noise in their room, like somebody was being pushed or slapped or pushed to the ground. And at that point I called 911 again.

. . . . A. I was — I was in my bathroom and I heard somebody hit the ground with a hard [thud] or a wall or something. There were two people in that house at the time, [Fields] and his company [Richards]. And I don't know if they were arguing — I don't know what was going on there. They were arguing in that apartment and I heard somebody fall to the ground (indicating sound), like a hard [thud], like that. At that point I got afraid, I called 911, and they come over right away.

Q. And was Melinda in the residence?

A. She was there, she was kind of shook up, kind of scared and, I don't know, half beaten or something.

. . . .

A. I went to go over to see if she was okay cuz [sic] [Fields] and his company had left in his Suzuki. They left the property, and I guess Melinda was wanting to know if he was okay or not.

. . . .

Q. Did you notice any injuries to Melinda?

. . . .

A. I — yes. I'm pretty sure she was injured.

Q. Do you remember what kind of injury?

A. It was either a lip injury — a facial— it must have been a facial injury of some sort or something, a bodily injury, I believe.

Q. Did you hear any of the words that were being spoken while their — while you heard the arguing?

A. I think [Fields] and [Richards] were arguing, I don't know if they were arguing towards Melinda or with each other or maybe some — Melinda said something and [Fields] didn't like it or — see, the whole thing that happened there was — from what I had heard during the conversation there on the property was that they were going to go after [Fields], and Melinda was trying to provide some kind of support so they wouldn't attack him cuz [sic] he had some kind of operation, had a bag there on his left side and she was trying to protect him.

. . . .

Q. What did [Richards] say?

A. [Fields], get off her.

Defense counsel did not object to this testimony.

On cross-examination, Karma testified, in relevant part, as follows:

Q. [Karma], during this incident where these four people came over in a car, ... you said that Melinda was ... trying to protect [Fields], is that correct, ... ?

. . . .

A.... [Y]es, she was pretty upset at the fact that they had showed [sic] up on [the] property.

Q.... [D]id you see an actual altercation, physical altercation?

A. Yes, sir.

. . . .

Q. Okay. And did you see [Melinda] get hit at that point?

A. Someone had come up from behind her with a stick, and at that point I was holding the phone trying to call 911.

Q. Sheshe did get hit outside?

A. I don't know if she got hit.

Q. Okay. Now, ... you said there was a big thud or something like that?

A. Yes.

Q. And you thought that was somebody falling to the floor?

A. Yes.

. . . .

Q. Okay. You don't know whose body that was, but?

A. No.

. . . .

Q. Okay. And you said you heard slapping sounds?

A. I heard slapping sounds, that's correct.

Q. Again, you were not sure who was being slapped or who was the slapper and such?

A. Correct.

Police Officer Karen Kapua (Officer Kapua) then testified that she arrived at Melinda's residence at around 11:30 p.m., where she came upon Melinda and Karma. Although Officer Kapua did not speak with Melinda, she did observe that Melinda "had a red mark on her chin and also a red scratch on her right shoulder."

Police Officer Elliot Ke (Officer Ke) was the final witness for the State. Officer Ke stated that he arrived at the residence at around 11:40 p.m. and interviewed Melinda in her living room. The following colloquy took place between the deputy prosecuting attorney (the Prosecutor) and Officer Ke:

Q. And did you ask [Melinda] what happened?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. What did she say?

A. She said that she and [Fields] got into [an] argument. [Fields] was upset. I guess her mom brought some friends over earlier in the evening and the police had to come by. They were upset so they were arguing. And she said she was laying down on the couch watching TV, and I guess [Fields] came up behind her and started holding her down, pressing on her neck with both of his hands, like, kind of holding her down on the couch. And then she also said that he punched her in the face, left side of her face, Melinda's face.

Q. Can you describe [Melinda's] appearance when you saw her?

A.... [H]er clothes was [sic] torn at the front, ... her face was red on her left cheek ... and there were also abrasion [sic] on her chin and a scratch on her shoulder. She ... appeared to be intoxicated.

Defense counsel did not object to this testimony.

On cross-examination, Officer Ke testified as follows:

Q. She also didn't want to cooperate as far as filling out any statement, right?

A. Correct.

Q. Something about she wanted to talk with a lawyer first if she was doing the right thing?

A. Yes.

Q. And she didn't want to go to the women's shelter, right?

A. No, she did not.

At this point, the State rested its case.

Defense counsel then stated to the court that "in lieu of witness testimony, there's been an agreed stipulation that — to submit a report done by investigator Leon Gonsalves with the prosecutor's office [the Gonsalves Report] of a David Richards in this case. Like to submit that into evidence." The...

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4 cases
  • State v. McComas
    • United States
    • Washington Court of Appeals
    • 10 Marzo 2015
    ...that are admissible as substantive evidence.See McManamon v. Washko, 906 A.2d 1259, 1267 (Pa.Super.2006) ; State v. Fields , 120 Hawai‘i 73, 89 n. 3, 201 P.3d 586 (2005), affirmed, 115 Hawai‘'i 503, 168 P.3d 955 (2007).2 Until ER 801(d)(1)(i) is amended accordingly, or until our Supreme Cou......
  • State v. Auld
    • United States
    • Hawaii Court of Appeals
    • 27 Enero 2015
    ...is no objection to the testimony, it's unclear if there were reasons for defense counsel not to object. See State v. Fields, 120 Hawai‘i 73, 92–93, 201 P.3d 586, 605–06 (App.2005), aff'd on other grounds 115 Hawai‘i 503, 168 P.3d 955 (2007).Thus, Auld's hearsay argument lacks merit.3. Openi......
  • State v. Kim, No. 28381 (Haw. App. 5/21/2009)
    • United States
    • Hawaii Court of Appeals
    • 21 Mayo 2009
    ...failure to strike or preclude admission of hearsay testimony into evidence did not constitute plain error. In State v. Fields, 120 Hawai`i 73, 201 P.3d 586 (App. 2005), aff'd on other grounds, 115 Hawai`i 503, 168 P.3d 955 (2007), this court stated that "[g]enerally, at trial, absent an obj......
  • State v. Motta, No. 28256 (Haw. App. 7/30/2009)
    • United States
    • Hawaii Court of Appeals
    • 30 Julio 2009
    ...Mother when she stated that her Child complained of a sore neck and was still sore the day after the incident. State v. Fields, 120 Hawai'i 73, 93, 201 P.3d 586, 606 (App. 2005). (3) Motta claims in the alternative that the failure to object to the hearsay testimony constituted ineffective ......

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