SHOPO v. City & County of Honolulu

In November 2020, in every circuit court, the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO) filed complaints alleging that Act 47 (2020)–a law requiring expanded disclosure of police misconduct–was unconstitutional.  Nos. 1CCV-20-1512, 2CCV-20-329, 3CCV-20-432, and 5CCV-20-120.  The lawsuits challenged two distinct provisions of Act 47.  The first challenge concerned the disclosure of police disciplinary suspensions because, after the passage of Act 47, Honolulu Civil Beat requested all police arbitration decisions from 1996 to 2020.  The second challenge concerned disclosing the identity of suspended or discharged police officers in annual police disciplinary reports to the Legislature.  On November 23, SHOPO moved for a preliminary injunction in the case against the City and County of Honolulu, which case was assigned to the Honorable Dean E. Ochiai.

On behalf of Honolulu Civil Beat, the Law Center filed an amicus curiae–friend of the court–brief supporting disclosure of the requested arbitration decisions under Act 47.  On November 27, Judge Ochiai held an initial hearing on SHOPO’s preliminary injunction motion and denied the motion as it concerned the disclosure of records such as Civil Beat’s request for arbitration decisions.  When SHOPO continued to object to disclosure after Judge Ochiai’s decision, Civil Beat intervened to protect its rights in access to the records that it requested.

The court heard further argument on March 3, 2021, regarding the annual disciplinary reports for the Legislature.  As an organization, the Law Center joined an amicus curiae group with the ACLU of Hawaii Foundation and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law that supported the disclosures required in the annual disciplinary reports.  Gibson Dunn provided pro bono assistance for that effort.  Judge Ochiai entered final judgment against SHOPO on September 30, 2021.  On February 8, 2024, the ICA affirmed the judgment against SHOPO.  No. CAAP-21-603.

Maui County

Hawaii County

Kauai County