CERTIORARI TO THE INTERMEDIATE COURT OF APPEALS
(CAAP-15-0000682; CASE NO. 2DTA-14-00949)
RECKTENWALD, C.J., NAKAYAMA, McKENNA, POLLACK, AND WILSON,
a trial for operating a vehicle under the influence of an
intoxicant, the defense counsel and the State stipulated to
the arresting police officer's training and
qualifications to conduct standardized field sobriety tests.
This appeal arises from a challenge by the defendant to the
lack of a colloquy before the trial court accepted the
stipulation. Although we hold that the Intermediate Court of
Appeals (ICA) did not ultimately err in concluding that a
colloquy was not required in the circumstances of this case,
we provide guidance as to the proper allocation of authority
between a defendant and defense counsel in light of
statements by the ICA regarding defense counsel's
authority to stipulate to an evidentiary matter based on
"trial tactics and procedure." We further hold that
the ICA erred in its alternative holding, which employed a
novel test for evaluating prejudice resulting from a trial
court's acceptance of a stipulation without a colloquy.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
September 2, 2014, the State filed a complaint in the
District Court of the Second Circuit (district court)
charging Marcia Wilson with operating a vehicle under the
influence of an intoxicant (OVUII) in violation of
Hawai'i Revised Statutes (HRS) §§
291E-61(a)(1) and 291E-61(b),  as well as refusal to submit
to a breath, blood, or urine test in violation of HRS
§§ 291E-15 and 291E-68. A bench trial began on May 15,
2015, with the proceedings thereafter continued to July 15,
only witness that the State called to testify was Officer Jun
Hattori. Prior to Officer Hattori taking the stand, the
following exchange occurred:
[THE PROSECUTOR]: So, your Honor, after discussing this case
with the Public Defender, at this time I believe we're
going to stipulate to Officer Hattori's training, that he
followed the standards and guidelines and requirements of the
[National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)]
Manual. It was supervised by a NHTSA Certified Instructor.
Officer Hattori's qualified and certified to conduct the
standard--standardized field sobriety tests and that he
received specialized training in administering and grading
all of the standard field sobriety tests.
THE COURT: All right.
[THE PROSECUTOR]: And just for the record, your Honor, when I
call Officer Hattori, he'll briefly tell the Court what
training he has received.
THE COURT: All right.
court did not engage in a colloquy with Wilson before
accepting this stipulation.
Hattori testified that on August 8, 2014, around 11:15 p.m.,
he initiated a traffic stop of a vehicle driven by Wilson.
The officer stated that Wilson's speech was slurred and
mumbled and her eyes were red. Officer Hattori related that
he asked Wilson if she would participate in a standardized
field sobriety test (SFST), and she agreed.
officer testified that he then administered the three tests
that comprise the SFST: the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN)
test, the walk-and-turn test, and the one-legged stand test.
Officer Hattori testified that he observed a total of
thirteen "validated clues" during the SFST, which
he said demonstrated that Wilson was impaired. These included
six clues on the HGN test, four on the walk-and-turn test,
and three on the one-legged stand test. Based on her
performance, Officer Hattori concluded that Wilson was
"impaired to the point where it was unsafe for her to be
operating a vehicle," and he therefore arrested Wilson
Hattori testified that he transported Wilson to the Kihei
Police Station after she was arrested, where he informed her
of the implied consent law and gave her a form on which to
indicate whether she would submit to a breath or blood
alcohol test. Wilson declined to submit to any test and
marked the box on the form indicating that she had
Officer Hattori's testimony, the State rested its
case-in-chief. The defense called Joelle Lindly, Wilson's
coworker, who was with Wilson on the night that she was
arrested. Lindly testified that after their shifts ended, she
saw Wilson have one glass of wine at the bar and then leave
to go home.
close of evidence, the court found Wilson guilty of both
charges. On the OVUII offense, the district court sentenced
Wilson to 72 hours of community service, a $250 fine, a
substance abuse evaluation, and a fourteen-hour substance
abuse rehabilitation program. On the refusal charge, Wilson
was sentenced to pay $180 in fines and fees. The court
entered judgment on the same day. Wilson filed a timely
notice of appeal.
appeal, Wilson argued that the district court erred by not
engaging her in a colloquy before accepting the stipulation
as to Officer Hattori's qualifications. Wilson contended
that the stipulation was a waiver of her constitutional right
to confrontation and that the district court was therefore
required to determine whether the waiver was made knowingly
asserted that, under our precedents, a trial court must
engage in a colloquy with the defendant when the defendant
waives a fundamental right--here, the right to confront a
witness--to ensure that the waiver is being knowingly and
voluntarily given. (Citing Tachibana v. State, 79
Hawai'i 226, 900 P.2d 1293 (1995); State v.
Murray, 116 Hawai'i 3, 169 P.3d 955 (2007).) Thus,
she concluded that defense counsel's tactical decisions
and trial strategy are not relevant in applying "the
underlying rule that fundamental constitutional rights may
only be waived by the defendant," and any cases that
have suggested otherwise are no longer viable. (Citing
State v. Casey, 51 Haw. 99, 101, 451 P.2d 806, 808
affirmed Wilson's OVUII conviction and held that the
trial court was not required to engage in a colloquy with
Wilson before accepting the stipulation regarding Officer
Hattori's qualifications. State v. Wilson, 141
Hawai'i 459, 467, 413 P.3d 363, 371 (App. 2018). Relying
on State v. El'Ayache, 62 Haw. 646, 618 P.2d
1142 (1980), the ICA reasoned that stipulations like the one
in this case make the trial process more efficient and avoid
"time-consuming and needless presentation of evidence on
matters that are undisputed." Wilson, 141
Hawai'i at 467, 413 P.3d at 371. If trial courts were
required to engage in a colloquy for every stipulation, the
ICA stated, then the trial process would be burdened.
Id. Additionally, the ICA asserted that if
defendants were given veto power over every stipulation, such
a process would "interfere with the role of defense
counsel to exercise appropriate judgment in trial tactics and
the ICA reasoned that, under this court's decision in
State v. Murray, a colloquy is required before a
court accepts an evidentiary stipulation only where the
defendant stipulated to an essential element of the charged
offense. Id. (citing Murray, 116
Hawai'i at 10-14, 169 P.3d at 962-66). The ICA explained
that the stipulation regarding Officer Hattori's
qualifications did not constitute an essential element of
OVUII, but instead it was a stipulation that is routinely
agreed to by parties to avoid unnecessary consumption of
time. Id. The ICA also appeared to conclude that,
even if the lack of colloquy was in error, Wilson failed to
establish sufficient prejudice from the mistake to warrant
vacating her convictions, stating, "Wilson makes no
showing that absent the stipulation, the State would have
been unable to establish Officer Hattori's qualifications
to administer field sobriety tests." Id.
III.STANDARD OF ...