HSBA Appellate Section Testimony: Please Don't Muck Around With The Appeals Process
by Robert Thomas, Inverse Condemnation, February 13, 2018
Here's the written testimony submitted by the Hawaii State Bar Association's Section on Appellate Law for today's hearing on a bill making its way through the Hawaii Legislature.
The bills, HB 2191 and HB 2194, would return the state court appeals system to the way it was prior to the 2006 amendments, and would expressly give the Supreme Court jurisdiction to issue advisory opinions. The 2006 amendments made the Hawaii Supreme Court a truly discretionary court, allowing it to handle most of its docket by way of applications for certiorari from decisions of the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals, which currently considers direct appeals in most cases from state trial courts.
Prior to 2006, the Supreme Court was the court of first appeal, but it had the option to send cases to the ICA for a first look. If you didn't like the ICA's decision, you could then seek review in the Hawaii Supreme Court again. So it was an up-as-of-right-down-by-discretion-then-up-by-cert system. Very unusual, and it was an opaque and clunky process that made little sense. See this post for more background on "the way we were."
The testimony we drafted and submitted opposes both measures.
PDF: HSBA Appellate Section Testimony re HB 2191, 2914 (Feb. 12, 2018)
HB 2191: Text, Status
HB 2194: Text, Status