State v. White

Citation129 P.3d 1107
Decision Date10 March 2006
Docket NumberNo. 27201.,27201.
PartiesSTATE of Hawai`i, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Wayde K. WHITE, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtSupreme Court of Hawai'i

Phyllis Hironaka, Deputy Public Defender, on the briefs, for the defendant-appellant Wayde K. White.

Daniel Shimizu, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, on the briefs, for the plaintiff appellee State of Hawai`i.

MOON, C.J., LEVINSON and NAKAYAMA, JJ., and ACOBA, J., dissenting, with whom DUFFY, J., joins.

Opinion of the Court by LEVINSON, J.

The defendant-appellant Wayde K. White appeals from the judgment of the circuit court of the first circuit, the Honorable Derrick Chan presiding, filed on March 1, 2005, convicting him of and sentencing him for the following offenses: (1) two counts of forgery in the second degree in violation of Hawai`i Revised Statutes (HRS) 708-852 (Supp. 1997)1 and (2) one count of theft in the second degree in violation of HRS § 708-831(1)(b) (Supp.1998).2

On appeal, White contends that the circuit court erred in sentencing him to extended terms of imprisonment as a "multiple offender" pursuant to HRS § 706-662(4)(a) (Supp. 2003),3 inasmuch as the jury did not decide that such extended terms of imprisonment were necessary for the protection of the public, and, therefore, the extended term sentences imposed by the circuit court ran afoul of the sixth amendment to the United States Constitution as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court in Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 120 S.Ct. 2348, 147 L.Ed.2d 435 (2000), Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296, 124 S.Ct. 2531, 159 L.Ed.2d 403 (2004), and United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220, 125 S.Ct. 738, 160 L.Ed.2d 621 (2005).

The State of Hawai`i [hereinafter, "the prosecution"] counters that the circuit court properly exercised its broad discretion to sentence White to extended terms of imprisonment as a multiple offender because HRS § 706-662(4)(a), see supra note 3, passes muster under Apprendi, Blakely, and Booker. (Citing State v. Maugaotega, 107 Hawai`i 399, 114 P.3d 905 (2005); State v. Rivera, 106 Hawai`i 146, 102 P.3d 1044 (2004), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 126 S.Ct. 45, 163 L.Ed.2d 78 (2005); State v. Kaua, 102 Hawai`i 1, 72 P.3d 473 (2003).)

White responds that this court misconstrued Blakely's pronouncements in Rivera and incorrectly held that "Hawaii's extended term sentencing scheme is not incompatible with Blakely . . ., inasmuch as . . . Blakely addresses only statutory `determinate' sentencing `guideline' schemes." (Quoting Rivera, 106 Hawai`i at 150, 102 P.3d at 1048.)

We note that our recent decisions in Rivera and Maugaotega — which reaffirmed our holding in Kaua that Hawaii's extended term sentencing scheme does not run afoul of Apprendi — dispose of White's point of error. Nevertheless, inasmuch as White disputes our analysis of Blakely and mounts a new challenge to Rivera's interpretation of "indeterminate" sentencing schemes, we explain Rivera's consonance with the mandate of Blakely.4

As we discuss more fully infra in section III, White's arguments are unavailing. Accordingly we affirm the circuit court's judgment of conviction and sentence of White to extended terms of imprisonment.


On October 9, 2003, the prosecution charged White by complaint with the following offenses: (1) forgery in the second degree (Counts I & II) in violation of HRS § 708-852, see supra note 1, and (2) theft in the second degree (Count III) in violation of HRS § 708-831(1)(b), see supra note 2. On September 22, 2004, the circuit court commenced a jury trial that ended on September 24, 2004. On September 24, 2004, the jury returned a verdict of guilty as charged as to all three counts.

On November 26, 2004, the prosecution filed a motion to sentence White as a multiple offender to extended terms of imprisonment of ten years, pursuant to HRS § 706-662(4)(a), see supra note 3, for each of the three class C felonies of which he was simultaneously convicted. On that same day the prosecution also filed a motion for sentencing of a repeat offender to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of one year and eight months pursuant to HRS § 706-606.5(1)(a)(iv) (1993).5 Finally, on November 26, 2004, the prosecution filed a motion for consecutive term sentencing pursuant to HRS § 706-668.5 (1993).6

The circuit court conducted a sentencing hearing on March 1, 2005, during which it sentenced White and considered the prosecution's motions for repeat offender, consecutive, and extended term sentencing. The circuit court concluded that White was a multiple offender under HRS § 706-662(4)(a), see supra note 3, and orally granted the prosecution's motion for extended terms of imprisonment. The circuit court also granted the prosecution's motion for repeat offender sentencing. The circuit court denied the prosecution's motion for consecutive term sentencing. With respect to all three counts, the circuit court sentenced White to an extended ten-year indeterminate maximum term of imprisonment, subject to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of one year and eight months. The circuit court ordered all sentences to run concurrently with one another.

On March 23, 2005, the circuit court entered orders granting the prosecution's motions for repeat offender and extended term sentencing.

On March 30, 2005, White timely filed a notice of appeal to this court.

A. Sentencing

[A] sentencing judge generally has broad discretion in imposing a sentence. State v. Gaylord, 78 Hawai`i 127, 143-44, 890 P.2d 1167, 1183-84 (1995); State v. Valera, 74 Haw. 424, 435, 848 P.2d 376, 381 ... (1993). The applicable standard of review for sentencing or resentencing matters is whether the court committed plain and manifest abuse of discretion in its decision. Gaylord, 78 Hawai`i at 144 890 P.2d at 1184; State v. Kumukau, 71 Haw. 218, 227-28, 787 P.2d 682, 687-88 (1990); State v. Murray [,] 63 Haw. 12, 25, 621 P.2d 334, 342-43 (1980); State v. Fry, 61 Haw. 226, 231, 602 P.2d 13, 16 (1979). Keawe v. State, 79 Hawai`i 281, 284, 901 P.2d 481, 484 (1995). "[F]actors which indicate a plain and manifest abuse of discretion are arbitrary or capricious action by the judge and a rigid refusal to consider the defendant's contentions." Fry, 61 Haw. at 231, 602 P.2d at 17. And, "`[g]enerally, to constitute an abuse it must appear that the court clearly exceeded the bounds of reason or disregarded rules or principles of law or practice to the substantial detriment of a party litigant.'" Keawe, 79 Hawai`i at 284, 901 P.2d at 484 (quoting Gaylord, 78 Hawai`i at 144, 890 P.2d at 1184 (quoting Kumukau, 71 Haw. at 227-28, 787 P.2d at 688)).

State v. Rauch, 94 Hawai`i 315, 322, 13 P.3d 324, 331 (2000) (brackets and ellipsis points in original).

B. Questions Of Constitutional Law

"We answer questions of constitutional law `by exercising our own independent judgment based on the facts of the case,'" and, thus, questions of constitutional law are reviewed on appeal "under the `right/wrong' standard." State v. Jenkins, 93 Hawai`i 87, 100, 997 P.2d 13, 26 (2000) (citations omitted).

State v. Aplaca, 96 Hawai`i 17, 22, 25 P.3d 792, 797 (2001).

C. Statutory Interpretation

"[T]he interpretation of a statute... is a question of law reviewable de novo." State v. Arceo, 84 Hawai`i 1, 10, 928 P.2d 843, 852 (1996) (quoting State v. Camara, 81 Hawai`i 324, 329, 916 P.2d 1225, 1230 (1996) (citations omitted)). See also State v. Toyomura, 80 Hawai`i 8, 18, 904 P.2d 893, 903 (1995); State v. Higa, 79 Hawai`i 1, 3, 897 P.2d 928, 930 (1995); State v. Nakata, 76 Hawai`i 360, 365, 878 P.2d 699, 704 (1994)....

Gray v. Admin[.] Dir[.] of the Court, 84 Hawai`i 138, 144, 931 P.2d 580, 586 (1997) (some brackets added and some in original)[; s]ee also State v. Soto, 84 Hawai`i 229, 236, 933 P.2d 66, 73 (1997). Furthermore, our statutory construction is guided by established rules:

When construing a statute, our foremost obligation is to ascertain and give effect to the intention of the legislature, which is to be obtained primarily from the language contained in the statute itself. And we must read statutory language in the context of the entire statute and construe it in a manner consistent with its purpose.

When there is doubt, doubleness of meaning, or indistinctiveness or uncertainty of an expression used in a statute, an ambiguity exists ....

In construing an ambiguous statute, "[t]he meaning of the ambiguous words may be sought by examining the context, with which the ambiguous words, phrases, and sentences may be compared, in order to ascertain their true meaning." HRS § 1-15(1) [(1993)]. Moreover, the courts may resort to extrinsic aids in determining legislative intent. One avenue is the use of legislative history as an interpretive tool.

Gray, 84 Hawai`i at 148, 931 P.2d at 590 (quoting State v. Toyomura, 80 Hawai`i 8, 18-19, 904 P.2d 893, 903-04 (1995)) (brackets and ellipsis points in original) (footnote omitted). This court may also consider "[t]he reason and spirit of the law, and the cause which induced the legislature to enact it ... to discover its true meaning." HRS § 1-15(2).... "Laws in pari materia, or upon the same subject matter, shall be construed with reference to each other. What is clear in one statute may be called upon in aid to explain what is doubtful in another." HRS § 1-16 (1993).

Rauch, 94 Hawai`i at 322-23, 13 P.3d at 331-32 (quoting State v. Kotis, 91 Hawai`i 319, 327, 984 P.2d 78, 86 (1999)).


White argues in his reply brief that, "[b]ased upon a careful review of Blakely," our decision in Rivera "misconstrued Blakely's pronouncements regarding the applicability of Apprendi" to Hawaii's extended term sentencing system. White urges us to reconsider Rivera, submitting that we erred in analyzing the "indeterminate" sentencing scheme discussed in Blakely because we presumed Washington's indeterminate sentencing scheme to be the same as Hawaii's. White...

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