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Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Petitioner Needs Counsel For Supreme Court Oral Arguments In Due Process Case
By Robert Thomas @ 9:59 AM :: 2037 Views :: Family, Judiciary

Step Up, Hawaii Appellate Lawyers: Petitioner Needs Counsel For Supreme Court Oral Arguments In Due Process Case

by Robert Thomas, InverseCondemnation, May 12, 2020

Normally, we would not be asking our colleagues who are licensed to practice in Hawaii to represent an opposing party. Especially in a case in which the Hawaii Supreme Court has already accepted an application for writ of certiorari (local practice note: in the 808, we don't say that you petition for cert -- you "apply," and the court doesn't "grant" cert, but rather "accepts" cert).

The case involves a question of due process. The application sought the Supreme Court's discretionary review of a memorandum opinion of the Intermediate Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court recently accepted the application. 

The Court, however, declined to schedule oral argument. But the petitioner asked the Court to retain it. The Court denied the request without prejudice:

Petitioner/Petitioner-Appellant WW’s motion for retention of oral argument filed on March 10, 2020, is hereby denied without prejudice. Should the parties be accepted to the Appellate Pro Bono Program, WW may renew his motion for retention of oral argument.

The Appellate Pro Bono Project put out the word, looking for counsel. We responded and now our firm represents the Respondent. But the way we're reading the above Order is that the Court will only consider scheduling oral arguments if both parties are represented by counsel. So the case is only halfway there. 

Thus, we think this presents an extraordinary situation and we're calling on our Hawaii-barred colleagues to step up and sign up to represent the Petitioner. We believe that oral arguments would aid the Court in reaching the right result for the parties, and for the law. We've participated in the Hawaii Appellate Pro Bono Project multiple times, and find that it is a good way to provide a public service and help clients who really need the help on appeal, aid the Court in its decision making, a chance for inexperienced appellate lawyers to gain that necessary experience, and a lot of fun. Here, there's even less required than the usual case: the briefing is completed, and the Court has already accepted the case for review.

If you can represent clients in Hawaii courts, please consider signing up for the Petitioner, and we'll argue against each other if the Court allows it.    

Contact the Pro Bono Appellate Project here. Or email me, and I will put you in touch with the Hawaii State Bar Appellate Section coordinator. 

PDF: Order Denying Appellant's Motion for Retention of Oral Argument Without Prejudice, WW v. DS, No. SCWC-18-0000361 (Haw. Apr. 7, 2020)

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