State v. Fleming, SCWC-14-0000987

CourtHawaii Supreme Court
Citation149 Hawai‘i 153,484 P.3d 166 (Table)
Docket NumberSCWC-14-0000987
Parties STATE of Hawai‘i, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, v. David T. FLEMING, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.
Decision Date08 April 2021

149 Hawai‘i 153
484 P.3d 166 (Table)

STATE of Hawai‘i, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
David T. FLEMING, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.

SCWC-14-0000987

Supreme Court of Hawai‘i.

April 8, 2021.
As Amended April 29, 2021


Hayden Aluli, Wailuku, for petitioner/defendant-appellant

Richard K. Minatoya, for respondent/plaintiff-appellee

(By: Recktenwald, C.J., Nakayama, McKenna, Wilson, and Eddins, JJ.)

SUMMARY DISPOSITION ORDER

Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant David T. Fleming ("Fleming") appeals from the Intermediate Court of Appeals’ ("ICA") September 6, 2017 Judgment on Appeal, remanding the case to the Circuit Court of the Second Circuit ("circuit court") to determine if Fleming was competent at the time he was tried.1

On November 3, 2006, Fleming was charged by indictment with one count of Sexual Assault in the First Degree.2 Prior to trial, on October 23, 2007 and again on August 14, 2008, Fleming's counsel filed separate Motions for Examination pursuant to Hawai‘i Revised Statutes ("HRS") § 704-404 (1993 & Supp. 2012)3 to determine if Fleming was fit to proceed to trial. The circuit court granted both motions. On two separate occasions, Fleming was examined by the same three court-appointed mental health examiners to determine whether Fleming had the capacity to understand the proceedings against him and to assist in his own defense.4 Based on the independent opinions of all three examiners, on February 27, 2008 and December 3, 2008, the circuit court found Fleming fit to proceed to trial.5

Trial began on January 11, 2010. Fleming elected to testify in his defense. Prior to the presentation of the defense's case, Fleming's counsel informed the circuit court that, based on his interactions with Fleming that day, it was his belief that Fleming was not fit to proceed. Fleming's counsel argued to the court:

Judge, before we get the jury in, I have a concern about whether my client – his right to testify in his, and I completely understand that. I am concerned, and based on my discussions with him today, that I don't believe that his testimony, that he's able to assist in his defense to some degree, without revealing the contents of any discussions.

I just believe that there is a fitness to proceed issue, especially with regards to his ability to testify and communicate, and that I believe some of the comments that may come out, and we're not talking about confessions, but would be so highly prejudicial to him, it almost – what may happen to him is that he could testify and improper inferences could be made with regards to his testimony. And I'm not talking about that at all.

That there's been discussions, which I, at least as an officer of the Court, and as a defense attorney, have been doing this for a long time, feel very uncomfortable, even with this waiver, as well as with the fact that my client is going to take the stand, and based on what I know about what he's going to talk about, some of what he's going to talk about, I have some real concerns.

And I think I need to orally move this Court, at least for the record, I understand we've had two prior 704-404 exams, but I feel it necessary to make an oral motion for a 704-404 exam limited strictly to fitness to proceed.

The circuit court denied the motion, explaining that it reviewed the previous two HRS § 704-404 exam reports, and the circuit court had "not observed Mr. Fleming to have done or said anything in court that would indicate that he [was] not competent or fit to proceed."

Thereafter, Fleming testified in his own defense. On January 25, 2010, the jury found Fleming guilty of Sexual Assault in the First Degree.

After the jury verdict, Fleming filed a Motion for New Trial.6 Fleming argued, in part, that he was incompetent during the trial. He argued that, because a significant amount of time had passed since the trial, a hearing retrospectively evaluating whether he had been competent at the time of trial would be impractical. In support of the argument that Fleming was incompetent at the time of trial, the defense provided a report from Marvin W. Acklin,...

To continue reading

Request your trial
1 practice notes
  • Tenis v. State, CAAP-20-0000420
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Hawai'i
    • May 19, 2022
    ...did not move to dismiss, we have "an independent obligation to ensure jurisdiction over each case." State v. Smith, 149 Hawai‘i 153, 163, 484 P.3d 166, 176 (App. 2021) (cleaned up). The Order was entered on March 6, 2020. Under Rule 4(b)(1) of the Hawai‘i Rules of Appellate Procedure (HRAP ......
1 cases
  • Tenis v. State, CAAP-20-0000420
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Hawai'i
    • May 19, 2022
    ...did not move to dismiss, we have "an independent obligation to ensure jurisdiction over each case." State v. Smith, 149 Hawai‘i 153, 163, 484 P.3d 166, 176 (App. 2021) (cleaned up). The Order was entered on March 6, 2020. Under Rule 4(b)(1) of the Hawai‘i Rules of Appellate Procedure (HRAP ......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT