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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court — SCWC-21-0000098

No. SCWC-21-0000098, Thursday, October 20, 2022, 10 a.m.


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

Supreme Court Courtroom
Aliʻiōlani Hale, 2nd Floor
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

The oral argument will also be livestreamed for public viewing via the Judiciary’s YouTube channel at

Attorney for Petitioner Phillip J. Baker:

Samuel P. King, Jr.; Earle A. Partington of the Law Office of Earle A. Partington

Attorneys for Respondent Christopher Young, Administrator, Hawai`i Criminal Justice Data Center:

Patricia Ohara and Candace J. Park, Deputy Attorneys General

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 08/11/22.

COURT: Recktenwald, C.J., Nakayama, McKenna, Wilson, and Eddins, JJ.

Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

[ View Transcript ]

Brief Description:

In 2017, Phillip J. Barker (“Barker”) was charged with a petty misdemeanor, but ultimately pled guilty to, and was convicted of, a violation. Barker filed an application for expungement of his arrest record with the Hawaiʻi Criminal Justice Date Center (“HCJDC”). After the HCJDC denied his request for expungement, Barker filed a complaint in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit (“circuit court”), requesting an order directing the HCJDC to expunge his arrest record. After a hearing on cross motions for summary judgment, the circuit court granted the HCJDC’s motion for summary judgment, holding that Barker’s record of arrest for the petty misdemeanor was not eligible for expungement. On appeal, the Intermediate Court of Appeals affirmed the circuit court’s order granting summary judgment to the HCJDC.

Hawai`i Revised Statutes (“HRS”) § 831-3.2(a), the expungement law, provides that expungement shall be ordered “upon written application from a person arrested for, or charged with but not convicted of a crime[.]” Barker points to HRS § 701-107(7), which provides that “[a] violation does not constitute a crime[.]” Barker argues that because he was only convicted of a violation, his record must be expunged as he was “not convicted of a crime” within the meaning of the expungement law.

The HCJDC, on the other hand, argues that the term “crime” in the expungement law should be interpreted in accordance with its common legal definition, such as to include convictions of violations. The HCJDC points to an exception in the expungement law, HRS § 831-3.2(a)(2), which provides that “an expungement order shall not be issued . . . for a period of five years after arrest or citation in the case of a petty misdemeanor or violation where conviction has not been obtained because of a bail forfeiture[.]” Thus, the HCJDC contends that it would be illogical to require expungement in Barker’s case (where a defendant is arrested for a petty misdemeanor but ultimately convicted of a violation), while at the same time, forbid expungement for a period of five years where a defendant is not convicted of a violation due to bail forfeiture.