Friday, November 18, 2011

Hawaii Guv Can't Lei Low; Court Orders Doc Disclosure Under Open Records Law

Neil Abercrombie, member of the United States ...Image via WikipediaThe Honolulu Star-Bulletin has prevailed in a tiff with Gov. Neil Abercrombie over the latter's refusal to identify judical candidates, according to reports by Associated Press and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (

After Gov. Abercrombie declined to release the names of four of six judicial candidates recommended to him by the state's Judicial Selection Commission ("JSC") to fill a Hawaii Supreme Court chair that ultimately went to Judge Sabrina McKenna, the Star-Bulletin sued under Hawaii's Uniform Information Practices Act ("UIPA") [HRS c. 92F], the Aloha State's open records law.

Circuit Court Judge Karl Sakamoto this week sided with the daily, noting that the Hawaii Supreme Court previously has ruled that only the JSC is required to maintain the secrecy of a list of judicial hopefuls. The governor's office had argued both that disclosure would violate the privacy of those under consideration for a judgeship and that releasing names would deter individuals from being attracted to serving on the state's courts. The court specifically rejected the former argument, finding that the list, which only contained the candidates' names and no other personal information, was not invasive of their privacy rights.

The state has yet to reveal whether it plans to appeal Judge Sakamoto's ruling.  Despite the win, the Star-Bulletin will have to wait several months before it actually acquires the list of nominees because procedurally, the daily's lawyers must draft an order for the court's approval that must be reviewed by the attorney general's office before the court can execute it.

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment