State v. Martin, SCWC-14-0001090

CourtHawaii Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtOPINION OF THE COURT BY McKENNA, J.
Citation463 P.3d 1022
Docket NumberSCWC-14-0001090
Decision Date22 April 2020
Parties STATE of Hawai‘i, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Keaka MARTIN, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.

463 P.3d 1022

STATE of Hawai‘i, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Keaka MARTIN, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.

SCWC-14-0001090

Supreme Court of Hawai‘i.

APRIL 22, 2020
As Corrected APRIL 23, 2020


Lars Robert Isaacson, for Petitioner

Ricky R. Damerville, Hilo, for Respondent

RECKTENWALD, C.J., NAKAYAMA, McKENNA, POLLACK, AND WILSON, JJ.

OPINION OF THE COURT BY McKENNA, J.

I. Introduction

This appeal arises out of the shooting of two Hawai‘i Police Department ("HPD") officers on the evening of January 2, 2013. Keaka Martin ("Martin") was convicted after a jury trial in the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit ("circuit court") of various counts, including attempted murder of one of the officers. On August 5, 2014, the circuit court1 entered its judgment of conviction and sentence, sentencing Martin to life imprisonment

463 P.3d 1027

without the possibility of parole plus ten years.

Martin appealed the judgment of conviction and sentence to the Intermediate Court of Appeals ("ICA"). The ICA affirmed. Martin's application for writ of certiorari to this court ("Application") raises five questions:

1. Did the ICA commit grave errors of law and fact when it held that the trial court did not engage in a deficient Tachibana colloquy?

2. Did the ICA commit grave errors of law and fact when it held that the trial court properly admitted evidence of defendant's suicide attempt?

3. Did the ICA commit grave errors of law and fact when it held that the trial court properly admitted evidence of defendant's statement that he shot himself?

4. Did the ICA commit grave errors of law and fact by holding that the trial court did not err in admitting prior bad acts of defendant?

5. Did the ICA commit grave errors of law and fact by holding that defendant's convictions for attempted murder and assault in the first degree should [not] be vacated because the trial court failed to properly instruct the jury on lesser-included offenses?

For the reasons explained below, the issues Martin raises on certiorari lack merit. We do, however, address Martin's second question on certiorari regarding his suicide attempt the day after the shooting. The circuit court properly ruled the evidence admissible as probative of Martin's identity as the person who had committed the offenses. The circuit court, however, also sua sponte applied the majority rule across the country to rule that the evidence of Martin's suicide attempt was also admissible as relevant to his "consciousness of guilt."

We hold that evidence of a suicide or attempted suicide is not automatically admissible as relevant to a defendant's consciousness of guilt. As recognized by the Vermont Supreme Court, "[t]he underlying reasons motivating an attempt to take one's life can be both numerous and highly complex...." State v. Onorato, 171 Vt. 577, 762 A.2d 858, 859-60 (2000). The New Jersey Supreme Court has also appropriately noted that, aside from guilt, other factors such as "a defendant's psychological, social or financial situation may underlie a suicide attempt." State v. Mann, 132 N.J. 410, 625 A.2d 1102, 1108 (1993). Pursuant to HRS § 602-4 (2016),2 we therefore provide guidance to the trial courts for any future cases in which evidence of a suicide or suicide attempt is proffered as evidence of consciousness of guilt. But because the circuit court correctly ruled the evidence admissible as probative of Martin's identity as the person who had committed the offenses charged, there was no error in the circuit court's admission into evidence of the suicide attempt.

Although the issues raised by Martin on certiorari lack merit, we notice plain error affecting Martin's substantial rights with respect to the lack of a merger instruction on Martin's firearms convictions on Counts 7, 8, and 9. We therefore vacate the ICA's July 9, 2019 judgment on appeal affirming the circuit court's August 5, 2014 judgment of conviction and sentence as to Counts 7, 8, and 9, and remand these counts to the circuit court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.3 We otherwise affirm the ICA's July 9, 2019 judgment on appeal affirming the circuit court's August 5, 2014 judgment of conviction and sentence.

II. Background

A. Factual summary

On January 2, 2013 at around 8:00 p.m., HPD officers Joshua Gouveia ("Officer Gouveia")

463 P.3d 1028

and Garrett Hatada ("Officer Hatada") were assigned to a report of multiple gunshots fired in the Wailoa State Park area. During their investigation, the officers received information about a man hiding beneath a vehicle at Pono Place. Officers Gouveia and Hatada arrived at Pono Place and shined their flashlights under the vehicles in the parking lot. Officer Gouveia saw a man lying on his back beneath a black truck. After calling for backup, Officer Gouveia approached the truck from the passenger's side while Officer Hatada approached from the driver's side. When Officer Gouveia crouched down, he saw the man under the truck reach into his waistband and remove a black and silver gun. Officers Gouveia and Hatada were both then shot in their legs.

That night, after the shooting, Kawika Paulino ("Paulino") gave a statement to the police regarding an encounter with Martin at the Pono Place parking lot earlier that evening. Paulino told the police that Martin had shown him a gun, had said he had been firing the gun "in the middle of Wailoa," and had also said that he would not go to jail without a fight. Darrel Constantino ("Constantino") also told the police that Martin had had a weapon with him at Pono Place.

The next day, an HPD special response team was assigned to make contact with Martin at an East Palai Street residence. After arriving at the residence and announcing themselves as police, a single shot was heard from inside the house. The response team deployed a remote control surveillance robot equipped with a live feed video camera into the house. Through the live feed, the team observed a man lying on his back with a pistol on the ground near his hand.

Officers entered the house and ordered the man not to move and to show his hands. The man was bleeding from the abdominal area. The man raised his hands slightly and said, "I shot myself." Officers told the man to turn over and put his hands behind his back, and the man again said, "I shot myself." The man was later identified as Martin. The gun found near Martin matched bullet casings recovered from the Pono Place parking lot.

B. Circuit court proceedings

1. Pretrial motions

On February 28, 2013, Martin was charged via an indictment with attempted murder in the first degree as to Officer Hatada in violation of HRS §§ 705-500(1)(b) (1985) and 707-701 (Supp. 2011) (Count 1), assault in the first degree as to Officer Hatada in violation of HRS § 707-710 (Supp. 1986) (Count 2), carrying or use of a firearm in the commission of a separate felony in violation of HRS § 134-21(a) (Supp. 2006) (Count 3), attempted murder in the first degree as to Officer Gouveia in violation of HRS § 705-500(1)(b) and HRS § 707-710 (Count 4), assault in the first degree as to Officer Gouveia in violation of HRS § 707-710 (Count 5), carrying or use of a firearm in the commission of a separate felony in violation of HRS § 134-21(a) (Count 6), ownership or possession prohibited of any firearm or ammunition by a person charged with or convicted of certain crimes in violation of HRS § 134-7(b) and (h) (Supp. 2006) (Count 7), carrying or possessing a loaded firearm on a public highway in violation of HRS § 134-26(a) (Supp. 2006) (Count 8), place to keep pistol or revolver in violation of HRS § 134-25(a) (Supp. 2006) (Count 9), alteration of identification marks prohibited in violation of HRS §§ 134-10 (Supp. 1988) and 134-17 (Supp. 1994) (Count 10), and reckless endangering in the second degree in violation of HRS § 707-714(a) (Supp. 2006) (Count 11).

On December 27, 2013, seeking to introduce into evidence Martin's "I shot myself" statements to the police, the State filed a motion for a determination that these statements had been voluntarily made.4 The State asserted that it did not have the burden of establishing that Miranda warnings were given unless the totality of the circumstances reflected that the statement was a result of custodial interrogation. The State also contended that these unsolicited, spontaneous statements made by a defendant before any police questioning and in the absence of any

463 P.3d 1029

coercion were admissible, citing State v. Amorin, 61 Haw. 356, 360, 604 P.2d 45, 48 (1979). At the voluntariness hearing, Martin testified that he did not recall making any statements after he shot himself, that any statement he made was the product of a custodial interrogation, and that his physical condition impaired his ability to make a voluntary statement. The circuit court granted the State's motion.

Also on December 27, 2013, Martin filed his motion in limine #2 to preclude evidence of his self-inflicted gunshot wound. Martin argued that the evidence of his self-inflicted gunshot wound was a specific instance of conduct inadmissible under Hawai‘i...

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15 practice notes
  • State v. Was in Possession Koma Kekoa Texeira, SCAP-18-0000632
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Hawai'i
    • June 19, 2020
    ...of the evidence must show it is admissible by a preponderance of the evidence); accord State v. Martin, 146 Hawai'i 365, 382–82, 463 P.3d 1022, 1039–40, 146 (2020) (noting that this court "adopted the preponderance of the evidence standard for foundation factfinding in HRE Rule 104(a) admis......
  • State v. Jones, SCWC-16-0000345
    • United States
    • Hawaii Supreme Court
    • June 30, 2020
    ...leaving room for discretion in exceptional cases. Id. at 191–92, 117 S.Ct. 644.8 In State v. Martin, 146 Hawai‘i 365, 383, 384 n.20, 463 P.3d 1022, 1040, 1041 n.20 (2020), for example, we explained that the history of popular understandings of suicide presents the risk of unfair prejudice w......
  • State v. Correia, CAAP-18-0000895
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Hawai'i
    • June 30, 2022
    ...concluded, and the parties do not dispute, that Counts 1 and 2 merged. See HRS § 709-109(1)(e); State v. Martin, 146 Hawai‘i 365, 390, 463 P.3d 1022, 1047 (2020) ("HRS § 709-109(1)(e) interposes a constraint on multiple convictions arising from the same criminal conduct") (citing State v. M......
  • State v. Correia, CAAP-18-0000895
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Hawai'i
    • June 30, 2022
    ...concluded, and the parties do not dispute, that Counts 1 and 2 merged. See HRS § 709-109(1)(e); State v. Martin, 146 Hawai'i 365, 390, 463 P.3d 1022, 1047 (2020) ("HRS § 709-109(1)(e) interposes a constraint on multiple convictions arising from the same criminal conduct") (citing State v. M......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • State v. Was in Possession Koma Kekoa Texeira, SCAP-18-0000632
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Hawai'i
    • June 19, 2020
    ...of the evidence must show it is admissible by a preponderance of the evidence); accord State v. Martin, 146 Hawai'i 365, 382–82, 463 P.3d 1022, 1039–40, 146 (2020) (noting that this court "adopted the preponderance of the evidence standard for foundation factfinding in HRE Rule 104(a) admis......
  • State v. Jones, SCWC-16-0000345
    • United States
    • Hawaii Supreme Court
    • June 30, 2020
    ...leaving room for discretion in exceptional cases. Id. at 191–92, 117 S.Ct. 644.8 In State v. Martin, 146 Hawai‘i 365, 383, 384 n.20, 463 P.3d 1022, 1040, 1041 n.20 (2020), for example, we explained that the history of popular understandings of suicide presents the risk of unfair prejudice w......
  • State v. Correia, CAAP-18-0000895
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Hawai'i
    • June 30, 2022
    ...concluded, and the parties do not dispute, that Counts 1 and 2 merged. See HRS § 709-109(1)(e); State v. Martin, 146 Hawai'i 365, 390, 463 P.3d 1022, 1047 (2020) ("HRS § 709-109(1)(e) interposes a constraint on multiple convictions arising from the same criminal conduct") (citing State v. M......
  • State v. Falevai, S. CAAP-18-0000666 & CAAP-18-0000943
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Hawai'i
    • May 10, 2022
    ...right/wrong standard. State v. Celestine, 142 Hawai‘i 165, 169, 415 P.3d 907, 911 (2018). In State v. Martin, 146 Hawai‘i 365, 378-79, 463 P.3d 1022, 1035-36 (2020), the Hawai‘i Supreme Court summarized the relevant case law as follows:Our law protects both the right to testify and the righ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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