State v. Ricard, CAAP-20-0000440

CourtCourt of Appeals of Hawai'i
Citation151 Hawai‘i 168,509 P.3d 1131 (Table)
Docket NumberCAAP-20-0000440
Parties STATE of Hawai‘i, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Richard A. RICARD, Defendant-Appellant
Decision Date26 May 2022

151 Hawai‘i 168
509 P.3d 1131 (Table)

STATE of Hawai‘i, Plaintiff-Appellee,
Richard A. RICARD, Defendant-Appellant

NO. CAAP-20-0000440

Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawai‘i.

May 26, 2022

On the briefs:

Ashlyn L. Whitbeck, Deputy Public Defender, for Defendant-Appellant.

Stephen L. Frye, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, County of Hawai‘i, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

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


Defendant-Appellant Richard A. Ricard (Ricard ) appeals from the Judgment and Notice of Entry of Judgment (Judgment ), entered on June 4, 2020, in the District Court of the Third Circuit, Kona Division (District Court ).1 Following a bench trial, Ricard was convicted of Theft in the Fourth Degree, in violation of Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS ) §§ 708-830(1) (2014) and 708-833(1) (Supp. 2017).2 The charge stemmed from an incident in which Ricard allegedly picked mangos from a tree growing on property owned by complaining witness Robert Hammond (Hammond ).

On appeal, Ricard raises a single point of error, contending that his conviction was not supported by substantial evidence that he intended to deprive Hammond of the mangos. After reviewing the record on appeal and the relevant legal authorities, and giving due consideration to the issues raised and the arguments advanced by the parties, we resolve Ricard's contention as follows and affirm.

We review the sufficiency of the evidence to support a conviction as follows:

[E]vidence adduced in the trial court must be considered in the strongest light for the prosecution when the appellate court passes on the legal sufficiency of such evidence to support a conviction; the same standard applies whether the case was before a judge or a jury. The test on appeal is not whether guilt is established beyond a reasonable doubt, but whether there was substantial evidence to support the conclusion of the trier of fact. ...

"Substantial evidence" as to every material element of the offense charged is credible evidence which is of sufficient quality and probative value to enable [a person] of reasonable caution to support a conclusion. And as trier of fact, the trial judge is free to make all reasonable and rational inferences under the facts in evidence, including circumstantial evidence.

State v. Matavale, 115 Hawai‘i 149, 157-58, 166 P.3d 322, 330-31 (2007) (quoting State v. Batson, 73 Haw. 236, 248-49, 831 P.2d 924, 931 (1992) ).

In order to convict Ricard for Theft in the Fourth Degree, the State was required to prove that Ricard obtained or exerted unauthorized control over Hammond's property with the intent to deprive him of that property, HRS § 708-830(1), and that the property had a value up to $250.00, HRS § 708-833(1).

At trial, Hammond's neighbor William F. Mielcke (Mielcke ) testified that on the morning of September 11, 2018, he saw Ricard "standing on the back of his truck, uh, picking, uh, mangos from ... Hammond's mango tree[,]" while the truck was parked "on the roadway and ... partially on the road right-of-way on the makai side of the road." Mielcke identified Ricard in court. Mielcke described Hammond's mango tree as on Hammond's property on the makai side of the street. Mielcke...

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