Cases Description and Files

Doe v. Ibana (Confidential Flag)

In 2018, the Law Center learned more about the State Judiciary’s use of a confidential flag for normal civil court cases.  The confidential flag seals the entire case from public view, including the names of the parties, the docket, and the identities of counsel.  Subsequent motions to unseal in specific cases raised questions about whether […]

SHOPO v. City & County of Honolulu

In November 2020, in every circuit court, the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO) filed complaints alleging that Act 47 (2020)–a law requiring expanded disclosure of police misconduct–was unconstitutional.  Nos. 1CCV-20-1512, 2CCV-20-329, 3CCV-20-432, and 5CCV-20-120.  The lawsuits challenged two distinct provisions of Act 47.  The first challenge concerned the disclosure of police disciplinary […]

In re Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest

The Law Center objected to a global toy company’s effort to proceed anonymously in a trademark infringement action without publicly explaining its need for anonymity in Doe Corp. v. Individuals, 20-CV-395 JMS-KJM.  Ninth Circuit precedent establishes a constitutional right of access to civil complaints and motions to seal.  The global toy company, however, concealed the […]

State v. Abion

The Law Center moved to unseal records in a case pending before the Hawai`i Supreme Court, State v. Abion, No. SCWC-18-600, that raises questions regarding who is entitled to rely on a mental competency defense in criminal cases.  The circuit court sealed the underlying forensic competency evaluations in their entirety and the Intermediate Court of Appeals […]

In re Motion to Unseal Court Records

The Law Center moved to unseal documents filed under seal without public explanation in In re Search of Boston Whaler 370 Outrage “Painkiller”, 18-CV-80 and 17-MC-288.  The case concerns the Government’s 2017 search and seizure of a boat owned by Hawaii Partners–part of the alleged Miske Enterprise in United States v. Miske, 19-CR-99.  The case […]

In re Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest

The Law Center objected to the Government’s effort to authorize sealing of court records as part of a proposed protective order for discovery purposes in United States v. Miske, 19-CR-99 DKW.  In accordance with long-standing U.S. Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit precedent, the Law Center requested that the Court require a proper motion to seal […]

Disappeared News v. Maui Planning Commission

Disappeared News, The Hawai`i Independent, and Victor Gregor Limon challenged the decision of a hearing officer for the Maui Planning Commission to close contested case proceedings to the public without following the procedural and substantive constitutional standards established by the Hawai`i Supreme Court.  The quasi-judicial proceedings concerned the Grand Wailea Resort’s proposed special management area […]

In re Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest

The Law Center moved to unseal to Defendant Minh-Hung Nguyen’s redacted sentencing memorandum in United States v. Kealoha, 17-CR-582 JMS WRP.  On June 1, 2020, Chief Judge J. Michael Seabright ordered the sentencing memorandum unsealed.  The Law Center’s motion was filed under 20-MC-165.

Judges for Justice v. Nakamoto

Judges for Justice, a Washington nonprofit, filed a motion to unseal in In re Schweitzer, S.P. No. 07-1-0007.  The only filings in the case (two stipulations) had been sealed without explanation.  The motion to unseal outlined the recent Hawai`i Supreme Court cases that require a circuit court to explain why filings continue to be sealed. […]

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

The Law Center challenged the Honolulu City Council’s decision to amend a meeting agenda with less notice than required by the Sunshine Law to discuss the Honolulu Police Department’s involvement in the protests at Mauna Kea.  To preserve the public’s right to know in advance what Council will discuss, such non-emergency agenda amendments are permitted […]