State v. Romano

114 Haw. 1, 155 P.3d 1102 (2007)



Matters of credibility and the weight of the evidence and the inferences to be drawn are for the fact finder.


Defendant was convicted for a prostitution offense after offering sexual acts to an undercover police officer for a fee. Defendant argued, inter alia, that the evidence was insufficient to sustain her conviction.


Was the prosecution able to prove by substantial evidence that the defendant agreed to engage in sexual contact for a fee?




The evidence demonstrated that defendant agreed to give an undercover police officer a "handjob" for a fee of $ 20. The officer confirmed with defendant that the charge for the massage "out-call" was $ 100. The officer then asked whether "that cost extra," and according to the officer, defendant answered, "add $ 20." The officer testified that he confirmed, "oh, $ 20 for handjob," and defendant replied, "yes." That testimony indicated that the $ 20 added fee was for the handjob. Defendant also testified that she knew that the term "handjob" could mean assisted masturbation. The meaning of "sexual contact" in Haw. Rev. Stat. § 712-1200(1) included "any touching of the sexual parts of a person." Plainly, the reference to "hand" in the term "handjob" connoted physical contact with genitals. Hence, considered in the strongest light for the prosecution, substantial evidence was adduced that enabled a person of reasonable caution to conclude that defendant agreed to engage in sexual contact with the officer for a fee.

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