Honolulu Civil Beat v. Department of the Attorney General

Online publication Civil Beat challenged denial of access to the Department of the Attorney General’s report concerning the State Auditor’s Office.  The AG refused to provide access to any portion of its fact investigation, claiming protection under the attorney-client privilege, deliberative process privilege, and privacy.  The case was assigned to Judge Keith K. Hiraoka.  Civil No. 16-1-1743-09 KKH.  On June 1, 2017, Judge Hiraoka entered a final judgment in favor of the AG on the basis of the attorney-client privilege.  Civil Beat appealed.  On March 11, 2020, the Hawaii Supreme Court vacated the decision, holding that the attorney-client privilege did not protect the AG’s investigation of the State Auditor; the Court remanded for the circuit court to address the privacy and other exceptions.  No. CAAP-17-480, No. SCAP-17-480.  On remand, on December 17, 2020, Judge John M. Tonaki held that the entire investigation was protected under the privacy and frustration exceptions.  Civil Beat appealed.  On April 26, 2022, the Hawaii Supreme Court held that the report must be disclosed with limited redactions.  No. CAAP-21-57, No. SCAP-21-57.