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Courts in the Community: Hawaii Supreme Court Convenes at Kaimuki High School

Posted on Nov 15, 2018 in Featured News, News & Reports


Officers of Kaimuki High School's Student Government Association were honored to meet and chat with Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald.

Kaimuki High School Student Government Officers (left to right) Sierra Hisatake, Jazmine Nono, Gum Nau, and Lucy Liu had an opportunity to discuss their future plans with Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald following oral argument on November 15, 2018. This is the first time the Hawaii Supreme Court has ever held oral argument at Kaimuki High School.

HONOLULU – The Hawaii Supreme Court convened this morning at Kaimuki High School, giving 400 students from Oahu high schools the opportunity to view an actual oral argument hearing.

Students from Kaimuki Christian School, Kaimuki High School, Damien Memorial School, Kalani High School, Mid-Pacific Institute, University Laboratory School, McKinley High School, Henry J. Kaiser High School, Saint Louis School, Honolulu Waldorf School, and Sacred Hearts Academy, participated in the Judiciary’s Courts in the Community program. This program is designed to educate students about the Judiciary’s role in government and see first-hand how it resolves disputes in our democracy.

The court heard oral arguments in the case of State of Hawaii v. James Weldon. The case is a criminal matter involving a man who was arrested and charged with carrying a deadly weapon. The issue is whether the police had reasonable suspicion to believe that the man was committing a crime when they initially approached and questioned him.

The hearing was followed by two separate question-and-answer sessions for the students – one with the attorneys and another with the five justices.

To prepare for the case, the high school students worked through a curriculum developed by the Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center and the Students for Public Outreach and Civic Education of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law. Attorneys from the Hawaii State Bar Association (HSBA) also volunteered their time and facilitated the moot court activity in the participating classrooms, where the students argued the case themselves.

“The Courts in the Community Program is both civic education and civic engagement,” said Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald. “This program not only provides a great opportunity for the students to see the Hawaii Supreme Court in action, but it also provides a special opportunity for the justices to interact with some of Hawaii’s future leaders.”

“We deeply appreciate the support of the participating schools, the William S. Richardson School of Law, the Hawaii State Bar Association, and the attorneys who volunteer their time. We had 69 attorneys, a record number, volunteer to prepare the students for the event,” he said.

“This was the first time the Supreme Court has convened at Kaimuki High School. The attorneys were impressed with the students’ participation and enthusiasm,” said HSBA President Howard Luke. “We received very positive feedback which reflects the importance of the Courts in the Community Program and its overall impact.”

“We would like to thank everyone who made this day possible, the Hawaii Supreme Court, volunteer attorneys, teachers, school administrators, and the students,” Luke added.

The Hawaii State Bar Association and the Hawaii State Bar Foundation generously provided the students with lunches and transportation to and from their schools.

If you have any questions or would like to request additional photos of the event, please contact Deborah Murray at the Hawaii State Judiciary Communications and Community Relations Office at (808) 539-4909.