Tenis v. State, CAAP-20-0000420

CourtCourt of Appeals of Hawai'i
Citation151 Hawai‘i 134,508 P.3d 1220 (Table)
Docket NumberCAAP-20-0000420
Parties Christopher TENIS, Petitioner-Appellant, v. STATE of Hawai‘i, Respondent-Appellee
Decision Date19 May 2022

151 Hawai‘i 134
508 P.3d 1220 (Table)

Christopher TENIS, Petitioner-Appellant,
STATE of Hawai‘i, Respondent-Appellee

NO. CAAP-20-0000420

Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawai‘i.

May 19, 2022

On the briefs:

Christopher Tenis, Self-represented Petitioner-Appellant.

Sonja P. McCullen, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, City and County of Honolulu, for Respondent-Appellee.

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


Self-represented Petitioner-Appellant Christopher Tenis appeals from the "Order Dismissing Christopher Tenis' [sic] Hawaii [sic] Rules of Penal Procedure Rule 40 Petition, Filed June 26, 2018, Without Hearing" entered by the Circuit Court of the First Circuit on March 6, 2020.1 For the reasons explained below, we affirm the Order.


We must first address the statement contesting jurisdiction filed by Respondent-Appellee State of Hawai‘i. Although the State did not move to dismiss, we have "an independent obligation to ensure jurisdiction over each case." State v. Smith, 149 Hawai‘i 153, 163, 484 P.3d 166, 176 (App. 2021) (cleaned up). The Order was entered on March 6, 2020. Under Rule 4(b)(1) of the Hawai‘i Rules of Appellate Procedure (HRAP ), a notice of appeal was due within 30 days, or by April 6, 2020.2 Tenis's notice of appeal was tendered to prison officials on May 28, 2020. See Setala v. J.C. Penney Co., 97 Hawai‘i 484, 485, 40 P.3d 886, 887 (2002) (holding that self-represented prisoner's notice of appeal is deemed filed on the day it is tendered to prison officials). However, the record indicates that the Order was not mailed to the prison where Tenis was incarcerated until May 4, 2020, and was received by the prison on May 11, 2020. Under these circumstances, where Tenis's notice of appeal is deemed filed within 30 days after he received notice of the Order, his notice of appeal was timely. See Grattafiori v. State, 79 Hawai‘i 10, 13-14, 897 P.2d 937, 940-41 (1995) (noting that belated appeals have been permitted when "the lower court's decision was unannounced and no notice of the entry of judgment was ever provided"). We have jurisdiction to consider Tenis's appeal.


On September 6, 2012, the grand jury indicted Tenis on four counts of Sexual Assault in the First Degree in violation of Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS ) § 707-730(l)(b) or (c), and seven counts of Sexual Assault in the Third Degree in violation of HRS § 707-732(1)(b) or (c). Tenis...

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