Supreme Court of Hawaii Decisions

The Hawaii Supreme Court has existed since 1841. Most of the cases that it reviews consist of appeals from decisions in lower state courts or federal courts. These may reach the Supreme Court as reserved or certified questions, or as writs of certiorari. The Court oversees the legal profession in the state and holds exclusive jurisdiction over matters related to the discipline of attorneys and judges. It also holds the exclusive authority to set rules that control procedures in lower state courts, and it has exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving elections.

Five justices serve on the Hawaii Supreme Court. Rather than electing justices, the state uses an assisted appointment method. This means that the Hawaii Judicial Selection Commission compiles a list of candidates for the review of the Governor. Once the Governor chooses a candidate from the list, the Hawaii State Senate must confirm the candidate before they can take their seat on the Court. The Chief Justice may be chosen from current members of the Court, but they also must be selected by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Each justice serves for a 10-year term, after which the Judicial Selection Commission will decide whether to renew the term. Any candidate to serve on the Court must be a resident of Hawaii who has been licensed to practice law for at least 10 years before their appointment. Justices may not hold any other political office or actively practice law while they serve. They must be under 70 years old when they are appointed, and current justices must retire at 70.

A justice may be removed from the Hawaii Supreme Court only if the Judicial Selection Commission decides not to renew their term or if the Commission on Judicial Conduct in the Hawaii State Judiciary recommends their removal. The Commission on Judicial Conduct investigates allegations of misconduct or unfitness. The Supreme Court will make the final decision on whether to remove a justice if the Commission recommends their removal.

Browse Opinions From the Supreme Court of Hawaii

Recent Decisions From the Supreme Court of Hawaii
State v. Pires
Date: October 14, 2019
Docket Number: SCWC-16-0000379
PL III, LLC v. Puu Lani Ranch Corp.
Date: October 11, 2019
Docket Number: SCWC-14-0001115
State v. Enos
Date: October 10, 2019
Docket Number: SCWC-18-0000407
State v. De Lima
Date: October 8, 2019
Docket Number: SCWC-17-0000914
Office of the Public Defender v. Cahill
Date: October 7, 2019
Docket Number: SCPW-19-0000675
Erum v. Llego
Date: October 3, 2019
Docket Number: SCWC-17-0000762
State v. Resun
Date: October 2, 2019
Docket Number: SCWC-16-0000046
In re Yim
Date: October 1, 2019
Docket Number: SCPR-19-0000623
State v. Kaneaikala  
Date: October 1, 2019
Docket Number: SCWC-16-0000647

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case concerning the admissibility of a suggestive eyewitness or show-up identification, the Supreme Court set forth new rules and because the holdings apply only prospectively to events occurring after publicatio...

Adams v. Hawaii Medical Service Ass'n  
Date: September 30, 2019
Docket Number: SCWC-15-0000396

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the intermediate court of appeals (ICA) affirming the judgment of the circuit court that there were not genuine issues of material fact regarding whether Defendant, Hawaii Medic...

Hester v. Horowitz
Date: September 30, 2019
Docket Number: SCWC-16-0000162
In re Office of Information Practices Opinion Letter No. F16-01
Date: September 27, 2019
Docket Number: SCWC-16-0000568
State v. Hosaka
Date: September 27, 2019
Docket Number: SCWC-16-0000716
State v. Malave
Date: September 27, 2019
Docket Number: SCWC-18-0000332
Honolulu Civil Beat Inc. v. Crabtree
Date: September 25, 2019
Docket Number: SCPW-19-0000622
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