Hawaii Courts and COVID-19

 

STATE OF HAWAII JUDICIARY

Hawaii's state courts in each circuit have implemented a variety of orders aimed to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes, COVID-19.  Certain courts have been closed, while access to other courthouses and courtrooms has been restricted.  Various procedures have been amended to curtail interpersonal contact.  Many hearings have been postponed; most of the hearings that are going forward are being conducted via telephone. By order of the Chief Justice, all jury trials have been postponed until a date after October 2, 2020, unless otherwise ordered by the chief judge of each circuit.  Non-jury trials may proceed in accordance with the mandates of the circuit.

Despite the limitations, civil actions in the circuit courts are still proceeding.  New lawsuits are being filed.  Discovery in existing lawsuits is on-going.  Motions are being filed, and some hearings are occurring.

The District Courts on Oahu have reopened - click here for information.

Orders from Hawaii Courts:

(last update: 8/31/2020)

Chief Justice

 

Courts of Appeal

 

First Circuit 

 

Second Circuit

 

Third Circuit

 

Fifth Circuit

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, DISTRICT OF HAWAII

In light of the current status of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Hawaii, Chief Judge Michael Seabright issued an order on August 24, 2020 regarding operations at the Federal Courthouse for the District of Hawaii. (See below).  It provides that August 24, 2020 until October 13, 2020, the courthouse will be closed to the public on all Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The courthouse will remain open on Mondays and Thursdays (other than holidays), but solely for in=person court hearings. The public will be permitted to enter the courthouse on Mondays and Thursdays to attend in-person court hearings and for no other purpose. If needed, the courthouse can be opened on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday for emergency matters. No jury trial shall commence prior to October 13, 2020. 

 

No jury trial will commence before October 13, 2020. 

 

All persons entering the courthouse will be required to wear a mask, and inside the building, are expected to socially distance.  Hearings conducted within the courthouse will be subject to six-foot social distancing requirements.  Access to the Courthouse is limited; the public and media are barred, although they make request access to attend a hearing. 

 

Judge Leslie Kobayashi has an additional requirement for parties and counsel appearing in her courtroom:

For court proceedings before Judge Kobayashi, counsel, parties, interpreters and anyone else who will be speaking during the proceedings are required to obtain and bring their own face shield, and to wear it when speaking in court.  The face shield is required to help make sure that the court reporter and others can hear and understand the person speaking.  To be clear, this requirement does not excuse anyone from the general rule that requires wearing a face mask when entering and being in the courthouse.  Once in Judge Kobayashi’s Courtroom, all counsel, parties, interpreters or anyone else who will be speaking during the proceeding may then replace their face mask with the required face shield.

Chief Judge Seabright and Magistrate Judge Mansfield created a video to explain how the USDC, District of Hawaii is functioning during this period of lockdown, which is available here.

Orders from USDC, District of Hawaii: 

(last update: 8/31/20)

Current Orders

Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic:

CARES Act:

Jury:

Additional Guidance: 

 

Previous Orders.  Previous orders can be found here.

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