Cases Description and Files

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 appealed to the Office of Information Practices for assistance on a Sunshine Law issue, but then disagreed with OIP’s decision, 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 […]

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, 2017, the Honolulu Police Commission met behind closed doors to discuss its evaluation of the police chief and voted in closed session to […]

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 […]

Honolulu Civil Beat v. Department of the Attorney General

Online publication Civil Beat challenged denial of access to the Department of the Attorney General’s report concerning the State Auditor’s Office.  The AG refused to provide access to any portion of its fact investigation, claiming protection under the attorney-client privilege, deliberative process privilege, and privacy.  The case was assigned to Judge Keith K. Hiraoka.  Civil No. 16-1-1743-09 KKH. […]

R.H. v. Matayoshi

Plaintiffs moved to unseal records marked confidential by the State Department of Education in this lawsuit alleging sexual abuse involving a student.  The Law Center filed an amicus curiae—friend of the court—brief supporting Plaintiffs’ motion to unseal the records.  On June 6, Judge Jeanette Castagnetti entered a written order that the statements be publicly filed.  Civil No. 12-1-3327-12 […]

Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, Inc. v. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

The Law Center challenged the CDC’s interpretation of a federal statute as the basis for withholding all information regarding an inspection at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa. According to media reports, the inspection found “widespread regulatory non-compliance” at the UH labs that handle biological toxins.  But the CDC denied access to the inspection report in its entirety, […]

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 deliberations. The case questions whether Hawai`i law permits agencies to withhold all record of government deliberations under a “deliberative process privilege.” […]