This decision is published in table format in the Pacific and Hawai'i reporter.
APPEAL FROM THE FAMILY COURT OF THE THIRD CIRCUIT, HILO DIVISION. FC-S NO. 11-0042.
On the briefs: Rebecca A. Copeland, (Law Office of Rebecca A. Copeland), for Mother-Appellant.
Mary Anne Magnier, Diana M. Mellon-Lacey, Deputy Attorneys General, for Petitioner-Appellee, Department of Human Services.
By: Foley, Presiding Judge, Fujise and Ginoza, JJ.
SUMMARY DISPOSITION ORDER
Mother-Appellant (Mother) appeals from the Order Terminating Parental Rights of Mother, filed on February 26, 2014, in the Family Court of the Third Circuit (family court), which terminated Mother's parental rights to her child, AA.
On appeal, Mother contends (1) the family court erred by failing to appoint counsel for Mother when the family court granted Petitioner-Appellee State of Hawai'i, Department of Human Services (DHS) temporary custody of AA; (2) the family court erred by terminating Mother's parental rights less than two months prior to her release from incarceration; (3) DHS failed to prove that Mother would not be able to provide a safe family home within a reasonable period of time; and (4) the family court erred by terminating Mother's parental rights instead of requiring DHS to make a good faith effort at evaluating guardianship for AA.
Upon careful review of the record and the briefs submitted by the parties and having given due consideration to the arguments advanced and the issues raised by the parties, we resolve Mother's points of error as follows:
(1) Mother cites to In re T.M., 131 Hawai'i 419, 319 P.3d 338 (2014), and contends that the family court erred by failing to appoint counsel for Mother after the family court granted DHS' Petition for Temporary Foster Custody.
In In re T.M., the Supreme Court held that
in light of the constitutionally protected liberty interest at stake in a termination of parental rights proceeding, we hold that indigent parents are guaranteed the right to court-appointed counsel in termination proceedings under the due process clause in article I, section 5 of the Hawai'i Constitution. We direct that upon the filing date of this opinion, trial courts must appoint counsel for indigent parents upon the granting of a petition to DHS for temporary foster custody of their children.
Id. at 436, 319 P.3d at 355 (footnotes omitted).
In re T.M. was issued by the supreme court on January 6, 2014. However, Mother had court-appointed counsel since October 4, 2011, long before In re T.M. was issued. Moreover, Mother's reliance on In re T.M. to assert that she should have been appointed counsel as soon as the family court ordered temporary foster custody of AA is ...