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Oral Arguments before the Supreme Court

No. 27580, Thursday, December 15, 2011, 10 am

LILY E. HAMILTON on behalf of AMBER J. LETHEM, a minor, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. CHRISTY L. LETHEM, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.

(Temporary Restraining Order)

Attorneys for Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant: Robert H. Thomas and Rebecca A. Copeland of Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert

Attorney for Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee: Stephen T. Hioki

NOTE: Certificate of recusal, by Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald, filed 10/20/11.

NOTE: Assignment of Circuit Court Judge Virginia L. Crandall, in place of Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald, recused, filed 10/21/11.

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 11/23/11.

COURT: PAN, Acting CJ; SRA, JED, & SSM, JJ; and Circuit Court Judge Virginia L. Crandall, in place of CJ Recktenwald, recused.

The above oral argument is set in:

Supreme Court courtroom
Ali`iolani Hale
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant Christy L. Lethem (Petitioner) filed an Application for Writ of Certiorari seeking review of the September 21, 2011 judgment of the ICA, filed pursuant to its June 30, 2011 published opinion, affirming the Order Regarding Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) pursuant to HRS Chapter 586 entered by the Family Court of the First Circuit (the court) on October 5, 2005.

Petitioner’s ex-wife (Respondent) sought an ex parte TRO on behalf of their minor daughter (Minor) alleging that Petitioner abused Minor. The court granted the TRO the same day. The TRO prevented Petitioner, who did not have custody of Minor but had visitation rights, from contacting Minor for ninety-days. Within fifteen days of granting the TRO, the court held a hearing to determine whether the TRO should continue. Petitioner appeared at the hearing to contest the allegations of abuse. The court ruled that the TRO should remain in force. The ICA affirmed.

In his Application, Petitioner asks whether the parental right to discipline children required the court to apply an articulable standard by which to distinguish abuse from discipline. Petitioner also asks whether, in issuing the TRO, the court should have recognized that non-custodial parents retain a residual parental right to discipline their children.