Court dismisses sentencing appeal

LIHUE — The state of Hawaii, Intermediate Court of Appeals, has dismissed an appeal to amend a sentencing in a 2010 drunken driving case handed down in 5th circuit Court.

In a Sept. 22 decision, the appellate court ruled it lacked jurisdiction to consider the case of Erik Darian Danner, a 22-year-old college student who was sentenced to six months in jail in December 2013.

Danner was granted a deferred sentence to allow for a motion to remove the felony conviction from her record after successfully completing a five-year probation. She must pay restitution and her driving privileges are revoked for the duration of the deferment period.

Judge Kathleen Watanabe sentenced according to a plea agreement for first-degree negligent injury. The state agreed to probation and did not oppose a request for deferred sentence in exchange for a no-contest plea.

Private defense attorney Richard Wurdeman filed the appeal on April 22.

Danner, who was 18 and living in Anahola at the time, was indicted for causing permanent injury by operating a vehicle in a negligent manner. Her SUV struck a motorcyclist and caused permanent injury to the rider.

Danner had reportedly been drinking but there was no OVUII charge because the one-year statute of limitations for that offense had passed before the prosecution got the case.

County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar said the dismissal of the appeal means the sentence stands. There is no statute authorizing an appeal from a sentence involving a deferred acceptance of guilty or no contest plea. In fact, he added, it is technically not a “sentence” at all because there is no conviction as a result of the deferred acceptance.

“We are pleased that the Intermediate Court of Appeals agreed with our position and ruled in favor of our motion to dismiss this appeal,” Kollar said.

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