State v. HanAnnotate this Case
Petitioner was charged with abuse of family and household members. Prior to trial, a Korean language interpreter was sworn in to translate the proceedings for Petitioner. During the trial, Petitioner's attorney informed the court Petitioner was not going to testify on his own behalf. Petitioner was subsequently found guilty as charged. Petitioner appealed, claiming that his right to testify was violated because the court's Tachibana colloquy was deficient. The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) affirmed. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of conviction and sentence, holding (1) under State v. Tachibana, a colloquy between the judge and a defendant involves a verbal exchange in which the judge ascertains the defendant's understanding of his or her rights; (2) here, the advisement by the family court did not adequately ascertain whether Petitioner understood his constitutional right to testify or not to testify; (3) further, Petitioner's need for an interpreter during the trial heightened the necessity for the court to insure Petitioner understood the rights he waived; and (4) the error in this case was not harmless. Remanded.