Oral Argument Befor the Hawaii Supreme Court
No. SCWC-12-0000962, Thursday, August 7, 2014, 8:45 a.m.
STATE OF HAWAI`I, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. LETITIA HARTER, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.
The above-captioned case has been set for argument on the merits at:
Supreme Court Courtroom
Ali`iolani Hale, 2nd Floor
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
Attorney for Petitioner:
Alen M. Kaneshiro
Attorney for Respondent:
James M. Anderson, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 05/07/14.
NOTE: Order granting motion for postponement of oral argument from 06/25/14 at 10:00 a.m. to 08/07/14 at 08:45 a.m., filed 06/18/14.
COURT: MER, C.J.; PAN, SSM, RWP, & MDW, JJ.
Letitia Harter filed an application for writ of certiorari (Application) to review the February 27, 2014 Judgment on Appeal of the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA), filed pursuant to its January 28, 2014 Memorandum Opinion.
In brief summary, Harter was convicted of: (1) assault against a law enforcement officer in the second degree, (2) resisting arrest, and (3) disorderly conduct. On appeal, the ICA affirmed Harter’s convictions and held, in relevant part, that: (1) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in determining there was not good cause to warrant a (further) substitution of counsel in order to protect Harter’s right to effective representation of counsel; (2) based on the record, it could not conclude that the circuit court plainly erred in failing to sua sponte hold a competency hearing; and (3) Harter’s argument that she received ineffective assistance of counsel is denied without prejudice to her raising it in a petition for post-conviction relief filed pursuant to HRPP Rule 40, as the competency issue may also have bearing on Harter’s apparent intoxication.
Harter presents three questions in her Application: (1) whether the ICA gravely erred in holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in denying Harter’s motion for withdrawal and substitution of counsel; (2) whether the ICA gravely erred in holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in failing to sua sponte hold a hearing to determine Harter’s competence to stand trial; and (3) whether the ICA gravely erred in holding that Harter’s trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to object to an officer’s testimony that she was on drugs.