Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Wednesday, June 16, 2021
​Hawaii Court Of Appeals: You Can't Sanction A Member Of The Public For Merely Asking To Unseal Court Records
By Robert Thomas @ 10:15 PM :: 3410 Views :: Ethics, First Amendment, Judiciary

Hawaii Court Of Appeals: You Can't Sanction A Member Of The Public For Merely Asking To Unseal Court Records

by Robert Thomas, InverseCondemnation, June 15, 2021

A detour from our usual fare today, as we post what now is the final complete case that we participated in before we traded in our private practice hat for public interest law back in February.

In a short (5 page) Summary Disposition Order, the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals held that any member of the public has standing to request that a court unseal previously sealed documents, and that a court must hold a hearing on the request. Here, the trial court concluded that Judges for Justice (an association of retired judges who are interested in remedying wrongful criminal convictions) lacked standing to request the unsealing of certain documents that the court had previously kept from public disclosure, and sanctioned Judges for Justice $17,000 for making the request. The appeals court not only concluded it was error to deny the request, but that the trial court abused its discretion when it summarily imposed sanctions. In re Schweitzer (Appeal of Judges for Justice), No. CAAP-20-0000374 (June 15, 2021).

As we noted above, we started off this case wearing our private practice hats. We didn't take the case with us when we joined Pacific Legal Foundation, so we turned it over to our (now former) colleagues at Damon Key, who saw the case through to completion.

Although unpublished, this decision strongly reaffirms that the judicial process is -- absent compelling reasons for secrecy -- a public process, and that members of the public have an interest in these matters and do not need to show any special standing to ask the court to lift the veil. And most importantly, a member of the public can't be hit with a devastating monetary sanctioned merely for asking.

PDF:  Summary Disposition Order, In re Schweitzer (Appeal of Judges for Justice), No. CAAP-20-0000374 (Haw. App....

WHT: Seattle group wins appeal in quest to overturn Ireland murder convictions


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii