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State v. Liaw

Supreme Court of South Dakota

April 6, 2016

STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
JEREMIAH BADIT LIAW, Defendant and Appellant

         Argued March 22, 2016.

          APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SECOND JUDICIAL CIRCUIT MINNEHAHA COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA. THE HONORABLE LAWRENCE E. LONG, Judge.

         MARTY J. JACKLEY, Attorney General, PATRICIA ARCHER, Assistant Attorney General, Pierre, South Dakota, Attorneys for plaintiff and appellee.

         BEAU J. BLOUIN, Minnehaha County Public Defenders Office, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Attorneys for defendant and appellant.

         KERN, Justice. GILBERTSON, Chief Justice, and ZINTER, SEVERSON, and WILBUR, Justices, concur.

          OPINION

         KERN, Justice

Page 98

          [¶1] Jeremiah Liaw was convicted by a jury of second-degree kidnapping and criminal trespass. During the trial, Liaw requested instructions defining specific intent and voluntary intoxication. The trial court held that second-degree kidnapping was a general intent crime, and refused the instructions. Liaw was convicted of both offenses and appeals. We reverse and remand.

         Background

          [¶2] Angela Calin is a resident of Sioux Falls. On October 24, 2014, she was at her home with friends Jean Wolff and Nikolai Nidalko, an elderly neighbor. Calin was inside the home while her friends were outside sitting on her back porch. Calin heard shouting and looked out the window to see Liaw standing in her driveway. He was not speaking English, but was uttering loud angry noises. Nidalko and Wolff were shouting at Liaw to leave the property, but Liaw refused and did not respond to their commands. Calin later testified that she feared Liaw would harm Nidalko, who was 75 years old and had knee problems. Calin walked outside and stood between the two men in an attempt to calm Liaw. At this point, Liaw grabbed her by the hand and would not let go. Calin, age 57, is much shorter than Liaw. Wolff was able to give Calin a cordless phone from inside the house and Calin dialed 911 while Liaw held onto her. Liaw was now holding her with both his hands--one gripping her arm and his other around her neck and shoulder. Calin was able to give her address and name to dispatch before Liaw drug her away from her house, and the connection on the cordless phone was lost.

          [¶3] Although terrified, Calin tried to calm Liaw down. Calin testified that Liaw would respond to her, but she did not understand him. After pulling her about a block, Liaw attempted to shove Calin into oncoming traffic. She was able to avoid being hit by shifting in the opposite direction. She observed Liaw cross the street and quickly walk down the block. She followed Liaw, and saw him enter a grocery store. After he left the store, she went inside and again called 911, relaying

Page 99

more information about what had just happened. Calin told the dispatcher that Liaw had " scared the hell out of [her]."

          [¶4] Officer Christopher Jasso was the first to arrive at Calin's house, where Wolff and Nidalko had remained. Wolff was frantic with worry about Calin and described the events to Officer Jasso. A few moments later, Officer Jasso noticed Liaw standing in a yard a few houses away. Officer Jasso approached Liaw and observed that his " balance was off and his speech was slurred." Officer Jasso helped Liaw sit down on the curb so he could ask Liaw about Calin. The two had the following exchange:

Officer Jasso: What did you do with the woman buddy?
Liaw: Huh?
Officer Jasso: What did you do with the old lady that you were walking with?
Liaw: What lady?
Officer Jasso: The old lady?
Liaw: Did I walk with old lady (inaudible)?
Officer Jasso: Yeah you were over here.
Liaw: Huh, I'm done (repeated multiple ...

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