Peer News LLC v. City & County of Honolulu

Online publication Civil Beat challenged the City Department of Budget & Fiscal Service’s denial of access to formal inter-agency memoranda that are part of the City’s budget process.  The case questions whether Hawai`i law permits agencies to withhold all record of government deliberations under a “deliberative process privilege.”  On February 5, 2016, Judge Virginia Crandall entered judgment upholding the City’s use of the deliberative process privilege.  Civil No. 15-1-0891-05 VLC.  Civil Beat sought to have its appeal heard by the Hawai`i Supreme Court, which accepted the case on October 12, 2016.  The Supreme Court heard oral argument on June 1, 2017.  Supreme Court No. SCAP-16-114, ICA No. CAAP-16-114.  On December 21, 2018, the Hawai`i Supreme Court held that the deliberative process privilege is not a basis for withholding records under the Hawai`i public records law.