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In the Interest of Wr and Kl

November 10, 2011

IN THE INTEREST OF WR AND KL


APPEAL FROM THE FAMILY COURT OF THE FIFTH CIRCUIT (FC-S NO. 09-00731)

NOT FOR PUBLICATION IN WEST'S HAWAIfI REPORTS AND PACIFIC REPORTER

MEMORANDUM OPINION

(By: Nakamura, C.J., Foley and Fujise, JJ.)

Father-Appellant (Father) appeals from the Order

Terminating the Parental Rights of [Father] and [Mother] and Awarding Permanent Custody filed on September 29, 2010 in the Family Court of the Fifth Circuit *fn1 (family court).

I. BACKGROUND

On October 2, 2009, Petitioner-Appellee the Department of Human Services (DHS) filed a Petition for Foster Custody and Family Supervision over WR and KL (the Children). KL is the natural child of Father, and the father of WR is unknown. At the time of the petition, Mother was in a treatment program and Father was facing further incarceration.

On October 12, 2009, the family court issued an Order Awarding Temporary Foster Custody, Temporary Family Supervision and Setting the Matter for Continued Hearing, granting temporary foster custody and family supervision over the Children to DHS.

The family court granted Father and Mother's request for a continuance to find and retain counsel.

On December 1, 2009, DHS filed an Ex Parte Motion to Set the Matter for Extraordinary Review Hearing to change the status of the Children. DHS alleged that Father had recently been sentenced to five years of imprisonment and was incarcerated and Mother had recently relapsed into substance abuse and had also been incarcerated.

At a hearing on April 1, 2010, Michael Soong appeared on behalf of Father, who did not appear because he was incarcerated. The court clerk's minutes for April 1, 2010 show that "Mr. Soong stated that Father's minimum term may be one year 8 months" and the family court "noted that parents may participate by telephone at the upcoming hearings." On April 6, 2010, the family court entered an Order Continuing Foster Custody and Setting the Matter for an Order to Show Cause Hearing, which hearing the court ordered all parties to attend on May 27, 2010. At the May 27, 2010 hearing, Father was not present, but was represented by Mr. Soong. The court clerk's minutes for May 27, 2010 state:

Mr. Soong stated that he once represented both Mother & Father and that they are going to divorce each other.

Because of this, Mr. Soong feels that there is a conflict of interest and will be moving to withdraw as counsel for Father. Also, no minimum term has been established for Mother as of yet. Court instructed Mr. Soong to file an Ex Parte Motion to Withdraw as Counsel and give [Father] notice. Once the motion to withdraw is granted, [Father] can apply for the services of an attorney and if he qualifies, one will be appointed. Mrs. Hasegawa shall provide an application for counsel to Mr. Soong and Mr. Soong will be responsible for providing said application to [Father].

On May 28, 2010, the family court filed an Order Continuing Existing Orders and Setting the Matter for Permanency Planning, ordering all parties to appear on ...


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