In re Motion to Unseal (Isabella P. Kalua)

Public First moved to unseal portions of the sealed family court proceedings of Isabella P. Kalua f.k.a. Ariel Sellers, whose adoptive parents have been charged with her murder.  One motion seeks to unseal portions of Isabella’s adoption case, and the other motion seeks to unseal portions of her foster care proceeding.  The State Department of Human Services recommended that Isabella be placed in the care and custody of Isaac K. Kalua, III and Lehua Kalua–first as foster parents, then for adoption–despite signs of serious abuse and neglect and other potential red flags.  Isabella is now declared dead, and the Kaluas are charged with her murder.  Under these extreme facts, the secrecy generally afforded to these types of cases should yield to openness.  Otherwise, the public will never have access to the information necessary to ensure the proper functioning and oversight of the foster care and adoption procedures that are part of the State’s child welfare system.  On June 10, 2024, Judge Matthew J. Viola granted in part and denied in part the motions to unseal.  On July 8, Public First sought review by the Hawai`i Supreme Court.


Petition for Writ of Prohibition and Writ of Mandamus