Peer News LLC v. City & County of Honolulu

Online publication Civil Beat challenged the City Department of Budget & Fiscal Service’s denial of access to formal inter-agency memoranda that are part of the City’s budget process.  The case questions whether Hawaii law permits agencies to withhold all record of government deliberations under a “deliberative process privilege.”  On February 5, 2016, Judge Virginia Crandall entered judgment upholding the City’s use of the deliberative process privilege.  Civil No. 15-1-0891-05 VLC.  Civil Beat sought to have its appeal heard by the Hawaii Supreme Court, which accepted the case on October 12, 2016.  The Supreme Court heard oral argument on June 1, 2017.  Supreme Court No. SCAP-16-114, ICA No. CAAP-16-114.  On December 21, 2018, the Hawaii Supreme Court held that the deliberative process privilege is not a basis for withholding records under the Hawaii public records law.