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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court–SCAP-17-639

No. SCAP-17-0000639 Tuesday, May 8, 2018, 12 p.m.

 In the Interest of FG, AG, PG.

The above-captioned case has been set for argument on the merits at:

Ronald T.Y. Moon Judiciary Complex
Kapolei Courthouse,
Waianae District Court Courtroom
4675 Kapolei Parkway
Kapolei, HI 96707
   
Attorney for Appellants-Parents:

Jeffrey E. Foster

Attorneys for Appellee-DHS:

Ian T. Tsuda, Julio C. Herrera, and Jay K. Goss, Deputy Attorneys General

NOTE: Order granting Application for Transfer, filed 11/21/17.

COURT: MER, CJ; PAN, SSM, RWP, and MDW, JJ.

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

Appellants Mother and Father appealed the Family Court of the Third Circuit’s August 25, 2017 “Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order” prohibiting the parties from disclosing information related to the child protective proceeding and the subject children.

Appellants and their three children were under the supervision of the Child Welfare Services, Department of Human Services (DHS) and the children were placed in foster care.  One of the children died while in foster care, and Appellants shared information related to the foster placement and the child’s death on social media and with local news.  DHS thereafter filed an ex parte motion for temporary restraining order seeking to prevent disclosure of information related to the child protective proceeding and the subject children.

The family court issued an order prohibiting all parties from a) releasing information that “have been or will be submitted to this court relating to the subject children and this court case to the general public without prior court authorization, pursuant to HRS §587A-40”; and b) disclosing the names of the children still in foster custody to the general public.

Appellants appealed to the Intermediate Court of Appeals and also filed an application for transfer to this court, which was accepted.

In their opening brief, Appellants assert three points of error, arguing that the family court incorrectly entered the order because: (1) the Order prohibiting Appellants from disclosing their surviving children’s names is an unconstitutional prior restraint and illegal infringement on their right to freedom of speech; (2) the permanent injunction prohibiting Appellants from releasing information that has been or will be submitted to the court pursuant to HRS §587A-40 because HRS §587A-40 is vague and ambiguous as to whom is prohibited from releasing family court records; and (3) the order’s prohibition against disclosure of records that “will be” submitted to the court makes it virtually impossible for Appellants to comply with the injunction.