Special Master: Presiding Judge Had ‘100s of Pages of Disqualifying Information’ in Kalua Case
by Stephen W Lane
My name is Stephen W. Lane. I have been informed by a member of the Judicial Selection Commission (JSC) that Judge Jessi Hall was reappointed for another six-year term on Sept. 5, 2023. Although there are notices of judges’ petitions for retention, the actual reappointment votes are held with neither public notice nor subsequent announcement.
I was appointed Special Master in the Ariel Kalua case by Judge Jessi Hall.
I have also been appointed Special Master in several high profile child abuse cases, including the Peter Boy Kema case. In that case I was able to file my report in open court so that my findings could be made public.
I have been a licensed foster parent with the State of Hawaii for more than 30 years fostering four special needs children as a single parent for more than 20 years through college graduation. I served as Volunteer Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) in Family Court, appointed as GAL in specific court proceedings representing the interests of incapacitated minors. I assisted in the draft of Judge Browning's Family Court Tort Protocol.
While I can't comment on my findings in the Kalua case or any other case in which the report is filed under seal, I can comment on the general procedure followed by the court when an adoption is under consideration.
As to the prospective adoptive parents, multiple detailed reports are submitted by the Department of Human Services, Catholic Charities, Partners in Development Foundation, Epic Ohana and others on the backgrounds of the individuals under consideration as adoptive parents. Two sets of "safe home" reports customarily are prepared in each case for review by the presiding judge. Those reports alone, sometimes running in excess of 50 pages, provide detailed criminal and social histories on each and every member in the household of the prospective adoptive family. They also include a detailed history of the family's financial resources, history of substance abuse, educational and professional experience and if they have ever had children of their own.
The presiding Judge in the Ariel Kalua case had more than enough disqualifying evidence that was in the public domain to deny the adoption of these children by the subject parents, Issac and Lehua Kalua. That evidence included the criminal records of the parents for assault and drug use, filed bankruptcy documents, and the absence of a record of children of their own.
While I can not comment on my findings as Special Master in this case, the court also had available to them hundreds of pages of documents above described, some of which has been disclosed on multiple occasions by the press in the past two years including eye witness accounts by neighbors of abuse of the subject children that were reported and then ignored.
The adoption of these children by Issac and Lehua Kalua should never have been approved by any judge.
A child died and those responsible--all of them--need to be held accountable.
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July, 2023: Lawsuit Coming: Murder of Ariel Sellers Reaches Probate Court “Public only because it is evidence in Probate Court, the Order is signed by Family Court Judge Jessi L. K. Hall. Typically, one Family Court Judge oversees interrelated Family Court cases, thus implying Hall may be responsible for some or all of the Kalua adoption and foster cases.”
Jan, 2024: Murder of Ariel Sellers: Motion to Unseal Kalua Family Court Records