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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court

No. SCWC-14-0001143, Thursday, January 21, 2016, 10 a.m.

        STATE OF HAWAI`I, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. Takson Krstoth, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.
 
The above-captioned case was 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:  

William Li

Attorney for Respondent:

Loren J. Thomas, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

NOTE:    Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 11/20/15.

COURT:  MER, CJ; PAN, SSM, RWP, and MDW, JJ.

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant Takson Krstoth (“Krstoth”) timely filed an application for writ of certiorari seeking review of the ICA’s September 9, 2015 Judgment on Appeal filed pursuant to its July 30, 2015 Summary Disposition Order, which affirmed the Circuit Court of the First Circuit’s (“circuit court”) August 1, 2014 “Judgment of Conviction and Sentence.”

In brief summary, Krstoth entered a plea of guilty to one count of Murder in the Second Degree, in violation of Hawai?i Revised Statutes § 707-701.5.  Krstoth has limited English proficiency and required an interpreter throughout the proceedings.  During the change of plea hearing, the circuit court conducted a colloquy with Krstoth about the rights he was giving up, and elicited one word answers.

Krstoth subsequently filed a motion to withdraw his plea prior to sentencing, asserting that his plea was not entered knowingly, intelligently, or voluntarily because he felt pressured by his public defender and interpreter to plead guilty and did not understand why he was pleading guilty.  At the hearing on the motion to withdraw plea, the court heard testimony from Krstoth, his public defender, and his interpreter.  The circuit court concluded that Krstoth’s testimony at the hearing on the motion contradicted his claim and denied the motion.  The ICA affirmed the circuit court’s judgment.

Krstoth raises the following question on certiorari:  “Whether the ICA gravely erred in holding that the Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in denying Krstoth’s Motion to Withdraw Plea?”