LIHU’E – A Kapa’a resident will be defending himself on charges of kidnapping, multiple counts of sexual assault, and for using a knife to threaten a Canadian woman in 2004.
James Mundon said he wants to be his own attorney because lawyers in the state public defender’s office did not fight for him when he was accused of those crimes two years ago.
“That’s why I want to represent myself now,” he said to Fifth Circuit Court Chief Judge George Masuoka earlier this month.
Mundon was wearing a prison outfit from the Halawa Correctional Facility on O’ahu. He is behind bars for violating probation in another case.
Masuoka told Mundon that he will be at a disadvantage, and will have to comply with all court rules. He also told Mundon that he is looking at the possibility of being in prison for more than 100 years.
Mundon then asked Masuoka for standby counsel. Masuoka asked Mundon if his financial situation had changed. In reply, Mundon said that he has been in Halawa for a year.
Masuoka appointed a representative of the county public-defender’s office to be Mundon’s standby counsel, and set a jury-trial date of Feb. 6.
Masuoka suggested to Mundon that he talk to his public defender about continuing the trial.
Mundon, 51, was indicted in August on 28 offenses. According to the eight-page indictment, he faces one count of kidnapping, 21 counts of third-degree sexual assault, two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening, and one count of third-degree attempted sexual assault.
He also faces one count of third-degree assault, one count of first-degree attempted assault, and one count of first-degree attempted sexual assault.
Bail is set at $180,100.
The offenses stem from similar charges that were brought against Mundon after a 21-year-old visitor alleged he attacked her in February 2004.
The Canadian visitor alleged that Mundon told her to strip, that he held a knife up against her throat, and that he punched her in the ribs when she tried to get away.
The charges were dismissed when prosecutors failed to go to trial before state-sanctioned deadlines for a defendant’s right to a speedy trial.
Mundon spent six months in prison in 2004 awaiting trial.
Court records show that Mundon wrote a letter to now retired Circuit Court Judge Clifford Nakea in July of that year. In the letter, Mundon wrote that he was innocent of the charges, and that he would like to represent himself.
“I need to have counsel that would really fight for me,” wrote Mundon.
Mundon asked Nakea that his public defender be released, and he decided to represent himself.
- Cynthia Kaneshiro, staff writer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or email@example.com.