Cases Description and Files

Grube v. Trader

Nick Grube, a reporter at Honolulu Civil Beat, challenged an order entered in State. v. Ahn, Cr. No. 15-1-1338, that sealed all records and docket entries related to a September 9, 2016 proceeding before the Honorable Rom A. Trader.  Grube questioned whether the prosecution’s conclusory assertion of interference with a pending investigation was sufficient to […]

SHOPO v. City & County of Honolulu

On July 31, 2017, Civil Beat requested the name, position, and compensation for Honolulu Police Department employees.  The City & County of Honolulu planned to disclose the information until the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO) filed a complaint and motion for temporary restraining order on September 1 to stop the City’s disclosure. […]

Honolulu Civil Beat v. Honolulu Civil Service Commission

Honolulu Civil Beat challenged the Honolulu Civil Service Commission’s closure of contested case proceedings to the public without following the procedural and substantive First Amendment standards established by the Hawai`i Supreme Court.

In re Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest

The Law Center objected to the closure of the courtroom for a pretrial release hearing in United States v. Uskanli, 17-MJ-563 BMK.  After the Government moved to detain the Defendant without bail, the Defendant asked the Court to seal the hearing.  The court initially granted the Defendant’s request, but reopened the issue after the Associated Press […]

Honolulu Civil Beat v. Honolulu Police Commission

Honolulu Civil Beat and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser challenged the Honolulu Police Commission’s policy to close contested case proceedings to the public without following the procedural and substantive First Amendment standards established by the Hawai`i Supreme Court.  No. SCPW-17-661.

State v. Gutierrez

On March 16, 2017, Christian Gutierrez pleaded no contest to five criminal counts related to an incident at the Ka`ena Point Natural Area Reserve that resulted in, among other things, the death of 15 Laysan Albatross.  For his July 6, 2017 sentencing, Gutierrez provided notice that he would seek to close the courtroom, so that […]

Kealoha v. City & County of Honolulu

On April 14, 2017, Civil Beat made a request to the City Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for basic employment information about Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Katherine Kealoha (e.g., positions held, dates, salary, application for employment, and leave records).  Kealoha filed a lawsuit against the City Prosecutor claiming that the requested records were protected by the constitutional right […]

In re Office of Information Practices Letter No. F16-01

An individual who disagreed with an opinion from the Office of Information Practices sued OIP asking for judicial review of the decision.  OIP argued that only government agencies, not individuals, have the right to judicial review under the Sunshine Law.  After the circuit court agreed with OIP and dismissed the case, the individual appealed and asked the […]

Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, Inc. v. City & County of Honolulu

The Law Center challenged the Honolulu Police Commission’s interpretation that the Sunshine Law required closure of a public meeting concerning the “Status of the Chief of Police.”  On January 4, 6, and 18, the Honolulu Police Commission met behind closed doors to discuss its evaluation of the police chief and voted in closed session to approve […]

Fritz v. Department of Taxation

Peter Fritz challenged the Department of Taxation’s refusal to disclose its communications with the State Legislature, during the 2016 legislative session, lobbying for changes to State law.  Fritz had encountered the same resistance from the Department during the 2009 legislative session, which led the Office of Information Practices to issue an informal decision requiring the Department of […]