Family Court Secrets: Two Years After Ariel Sellers Murder, Kaluas Still Retain Parental Rights
Editor’s Note: On February 21, 2024, Senior family Court Judge Matthew J Viola is set to hear arguments: Murder of Ariel Sellers: Motion to Unseal Kalua Family Court Records
by Stephen W Lane
I was the court appointed Special Master in the Kalua case.
(Isaac and Lehua) Kalua still retain their parental rights of all the children who were in their care, years after their arrest for murdering one of them.
I know that, because they were able to secure a order through their attorney from Judge Costa baring any contact between me and one of the surviving siblings just as I was about to secure admission for her to one of Hawaii's most distinguished private schools that offered special counselling services for her as part of the admission package.
As long the Kaluas are permitted to maintain their parental rights of these children it will seriously frustrate the efforts of those concerned with their safety and stability, such as the search for permanent "forever" foster or adoptive families and educational opportunities, to say nothing of the emotional harm to the children.
One of the surviving siblings was forced to spend more than a year in detained custody, not because she had done anything wrong but because the State of Hawaii was unable to secure a suitable foster family for her, largely due the running objections of the imprisoned Kaluas asserting their parental rights through counsel.
Judge Jessi Hall, the family court judge who approved the placement of the children with the Kaluas suddenly recused herself in the case without explanation.
The case has now been assigned to Family Court Judge Brian Costa.
I can think of no defensible explanation as to why the State of Hawaii hasn't moved to terminate the parental rights of the Kaluas long ago.
Star-Adv: Couple accused of murder retain parental rights -- “Attorney Francis O’Brien, who specializes in family law, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser he has been retained to represent Isaac Kalua in family court, and made clear he is not court-appointed, which means someone other than the state is paying O’Brien’s legal fees.”