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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court–No. SCAP-19-0000854

No. SCAP-19-0000854, Friday, September 18, 2020, 11:15 a.m.

TRACY YOSHIMURA, Petitioner-Appellant, vs. KEITH M. KANESHIRO, Respondent-Appellee.

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

The oral argument will be held remotely and will be live-streamed for public viewing via the Judiciary’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/hawaiicourts

Attorney for Appellant:

Keith M. Kiuchi

Attorneys for Appellee:

William C. McCorriston, David J. Minkin, Nadine Y. Ando, and Jordan K. Inafuku of McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon LLP

NOTE: Certificate of Recusal, by Associate Justice Paula A. Nakayama, filed 03/09/20.

NOTE: Order assigning Circuit Court Judge Todd W. Eddins, in place of Nakayama, J., recused, filed 03/11/20.

NOTE: Order granting Application for Transfer, filed 04/06/20.

NOTE: Order assigning Circuit Court Judge James H. Ashford due to a vacancy, filed 07/24/20.

COURT: Recktenwald, C.J., McKenna, and Wilson, JJ., and Circuit Judge Eddins, in place of Nakayama, J., recused, and Circuit Judge Ashford due to a vacancy.

[  Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format  ]

[ Watch the video with captions ]

Brief Description:

This appeal stems from the Circuit Court of the First Circuit’s dismissal, for lack of jurisdiction, of Tracey Yoshimura’s petition to impeach Honolulu City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro. In December 2018, Yoshimura initiated a petition to impeach Kaneshiro after Kaneshiro had received a target letter from the United States Department of Justice. Yoshimura supported his petition for impeachment with 800+ electronic signatures collected from an online platform called Change.org. In April 2019, Yoshimura filed a first amended petition with 500+ electronic signatures collected from a different online platform, DocuSign.

Kaneshiro moved to dismiss the petition, arguing that the electronic signatures did not satisfy the requirements for a petition to impeach the city prosecutor under the Honolulu Charter, section 12-203. The circuit court granted the motion to dismiss, finding and concluding that the city is not required to accept electronic signatures, the city is not required to promulgate a rule concerning the acceptance or rejection of electronic signatures, and the petition must be supported by residence addresses to confirm signatories were registered voters of the City and County of Honolulu. Yoshimura sought leave to amend his petition, which the circuit court denied. He also sought reconsideration of the circuit court’s decision, which the circuit court also denied.

On appeal, Yoshimura argues that HRS section 489E-7 provides that electronic signatures are valid under the law. He also argues that, to the extent HRS section 489E-18 allows a government agency to reject electronic signatures, the government agency must first promulgate rules under the Hawaii Administrative Procedure Act, HRS chapter 91, setting forth the circumstances under which electronic signatures may be rejected. He asserts that the circuit court erred in dismissing his petition for lack of jurisdiction, denying his motion for leave to file a second amended petition, and denying his motion for reconsideration of those rulings.