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Thursday, January 25, 2018
Judiciary Drops arrest warrant over refusal to speak English--Announces New Hawaiian Language Interpreter Policy
By News Release @ 7:45 PM :: 6723 Views :: Greenmail, Higher Education, Judiciary, OHA

Statement regarding Samuel Kaleikoa Kaeo case

News Release from Hawaii Judiciary, Jan 25, 2018

HONOLULU, HI – This morning, Maui District Court Judge Blaine Kobayashi issued an order recalling the bench warrant in State v. Samuel Kaleikoa Kaeo, case number 2DCW-17-0002038. Therefore, Mr. Kaeo is not subject to arrest. In addition, a hearing has been scheduled regarding the use of a Hawaiian language interpreter.

The Judiciary will be reviewing its policies regarding the provision of Hawaiian language interpreters.

  *   *   *   *   *

Judiciary Announces Hawaiian Language Interpreter Policy

News Release from Hawaii Judiciary, Jan 26, 2018

HONOLULU – The Judiciary today announced the following policy regarding Hawaiian language interpreters during courtroom proceedings:

The Judiciary will provide or permit qualified Hawaiian language interpreters to the extent reasonably possible when parties in courtroom proceedings choose to express themselves through the Hawaiian language.

The Judiciary will develop implementation procedures for this policy, and welcomes input from the community. Comments may be sent to pao@courts.hawaii.gov. Individuals who are interested in serving as a court interpreter should contact the Office on Equality and Access to the Courts at (808) 539-4860 for further information. Basic orientation workshops for court interpreters of all languages are scheduled across the State on the following dates and locations:

  • Oahu: Feb. 24-25 or March 24-25 at the Supreme Court Building in downtown Honolulu
  • Kauai: Feb. 13-14 at the Kauai Courthouse in Lihue
  • Maui: Feb. 28-March 1 at the Maui Driver Education Office in the Main Street Promenade Building
  • Hawaii Island (Kona): March 6-7 at the Kona Driver Education Office in the Kealakekua Business Plaza
  • Hawaii Island (Hilo): March 15-16 at the Hilo Courthouse

The deadline to register is January 31, 2018.

  *   *   *   *   *

OHA statement on judge’s denial of ‘ōlelo Hawaiʻi use in Maui court hearing

Statement of OHA Chief Executive Officer Kamanaʻopono Crabbe Jan 24, 2018

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is deeply disturbed and offended that Hawaiian studies assistant professor Kaleikoa Kaʻeo was prohibited from defending himself in ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi during his court hearing today and that a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. Punishing Native Hawaiians for speaking our native language invokes a disturbing era in Hawaiʻi’s history when ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi was prohibited in schools, a form of cultural suppression that substantially contributed to the near extinction of the Hawaiian language.

It is disappointing that the state government continues to place barriers on ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi, 40 years after Hawaiʻi’s constitution was amended to recognize the Hawaiian language as an official language of the state. We demand that the State Judiciary find an immediate solution to this issue.

  *   *   *   *   *

Judiciary Drops arrest warrant over refusal to speak English

KITV: …Fifty-one-year-old defendant Samuel Kaleikoa Kaeo identified he was present in court, speaking Hawaiian instead of English. When presiding Judge Blaine Kobayashi told Kaeo he couldn't understand him, Kaeo continued to speak in his native tongue. The judge refused to recognize Kaeo's presence in court and issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

On Thursday, the Hawaii State Judiciary dropped the arrest warrant.  Judge Kobayashi issued an order recalling the bench warrant.  Also, a hearing has been scheduled regarding the use of a Hawaiian language interpreter.  The Judiciary will be reviewing its policies regarding the provision of Hawaiian language interpreters.

According to court records, Kaeo was granted a Hawaiian language translator more than a dozen times for past petty misdemeanor proceedings. Kaeo is able to speak English, and in this case, the judge ordered the trial to be held in English and did not provide a translator.….

read … arrest warrant over refusal to speak English

Big Q: Do you agree with the Hawaii Judiciary’s decision to allow Hawaiian language interpreters for legal proceedings if participants choose to speak only in Hawaiian? 

SA Comment: “When Kalei was growing up on Maui he only spoke english or pidgin. His dad is part filipino and Hawaiian, his mom is from England. Only after he was at UH, he started to change.”

SA: Warrant dropped for protester who refused to speak English 

SA: Kīhēhē wale aku ka poʻe Hawaiʻi i ke au iā Maleka

MN: The prosecution noted that Kaeo, an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii Maui College, is fluent in English.  

KITV: Rallies across the state call attention to Hawaiian language

NHLC: NHLC Statement

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