No Speed Limit Sign In Hawaii
Defendant (Defendant) appeals from the Judgment entered by the District Court of the Third Circuit (the district court) on December 10, 1998 (the December 10, 1998 Judgment), determining that Defendant had committed the traffic infraction of "noncompliance with speed limit prohibited" in violation of Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) 291C-102 (1993).
There was no evidence, and the record is devoid of information, on the question whether a maximum speed limit had been established by county ordinance or the designated stretch of Pali Highway was subject to the jurisdiction of the director of transportation and the speed signs had been placed by that officer.
The defendant moved for judgment of acquittal for failure to show that the speed signs were authorized.
In denying the motion, the court stated no reasons. the judgment of conviction adjudges only that the defendant "has been convicted of and is guilty of the violation of speeding, to wit, 65 mph in a 35 mph zone."
We are unable to determine from the record before us whether the conviction was for violation of 291C-102(a) or (b). If the conviction was for violation of 291C-102(a), proof of judicial notice of the applicable ordinance was required, for which alternative procedures are prescribed by HRS 622-13.
At the time of the supreme court's decision in State v. Lane, 57 Haw. 277, 554 P.2d 767 (1976), Hawaii Revised Statutes 622-13 (1976), which has since been repealed, provided:
Proof of ordinances, rules, regulations, and other official acts. (a) Whenever, in any proceedings before a court or person having authority to hear, receive and examine evidence, it is necessary to prove any ordinance of any county of the State, or any law, rule, regulation, or other official act or thing promulgated or enacted by or under authority of the Constitution and laws of the United States or the State, a copy of such ordinance, bearing the certificate, as to its correctness, of the county clerk and under the seal of the county, or a copy of the law, rule, regulation, or other official act or thing, printed by authority, or bearing the certificate, as to its correctness, of the official in whose custody the original is kept, shall be admitted in evidence as prima facie proof of the contents thereof.
(b) a certified copy or copies of an ordinance or ordinances of any county may be filed by the clerk of the county with any court and thereafter the court may take judicial notice of the ordinance or ordinances and the contents thereof in any cause, without requiring a certified copy or copies to be filed or introduced as exhibits in such cause.
(c) Judicial notice shall be taken of an ordinance or ordinances of any county if a party requests it and (1) furnishes the court sufficient information to enable it properly to comply with the request, and (2) has given each adverse party such notice as the court may require to enable the adverse party to meet the request. the court shall afford the adverse party reasonable opportunity to present information relevant to the tenor of the ordinance to be noticed. If the court has insufficient information to enable it to notice the matter judicially, it shall decline to take judicial notice thereof.
The defendant had moved for judgment of acquittal "on the grounds that the State has not shown that the speed signs that the defendant had passed were authorized speed signs."
The speed at which an automobile may be driven on any highway is governed by ordinance or by statute, and speed signs are erected pursuant thereto.
Accordingly, we construe the defendant's motion as a demand for proof of the ordinance. the record does not disclose any offer of, or reference to, any ordinance or the taking of judicial notice of any ordinance by the court. Cf. State v. Shak, 51 Haw. 626, 466 P.2d 420 (1970).
If the conviction was for violation of 291C-102(b), proof was required that the designated stretch of Pali Highway was under the jurisdiction of the director of transportation and that the speed signs had been placed by that officer.
The record does not disclose any offer of evidence on these questions or the taking of judicial notice of any relevant facts. . . .
HRS 291C-102 imposed upon the prosecution the burden of proving that a maximum speed limit has been established in one of the two ways specified by the statute. Conviction in the total absence of proof in this respect requires reversal under Rule 52(b), Hawaii Rules of Criminal Procedure. 57 Haw. at 277-79, 554 P.2d at 768-69.
In this case, similarly, the record is devoid of any evidence as to whether Defendant was determined to have violated HRS 291C-102(a) or (b).
Indeed, it was never established whether the segment of Queen Kaahumanu Highway on which Defendant was stopped for speeding was a county or state highway.
There is also no evidence establishing that the maximum speed limit for that segment of highway had been established by county ordinance, or that the segment of the highway in question was subject to the jurisdiction of the state director of transportation and that the speed limit signs on the highway had been placed there by the director.
In the absence of the requisite proof in this case, we conclude that Lane mandates that the December 10, 1998 Judgment be reversed.