ACLU of Hawaii Legal Highlights – 2005 to present Intake We respond to thousands of requests for legal assistance each year, usually resolved informally by referrals, telephone calls, letters, or negotiations. Lawsuits are only filed as a last resort. Litigation • R.G., et al v. Koller, et al (LGBT) The ACLU of Hawaii filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of youth confined at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility (HYCF) who have been abused and harassed by staff and wards on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The ACLU’s request for a preliminary injunction was granted in early February, 2006 by Judge Seabright, who ordered the facility to retain a court-appointed consultant to help HYCF craft new policies and procedures that will protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth from physical and psychological harm, train staff, ensure adequate staffing and supervision of wards and create a functioning grievance system. Judge Seabright's opinion constitutes the first published decision in the nation addressing the safety of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in juvenile justice facilities. • Walsh, et al v. City and County of Honolulu (Residency) The ACLU of Hawaii filed a federal class action lawsuit asking the court to declare that the statewide pre-employment residency requirement is unconstitutional. The requirement prevents countless numbers of individuals from even applying for government jobs in Hawaii because they are not yet residents and affects even those former Hawaii residents who left Hawaii but would like to return. On February 1, 2006, the ACLU’s request for a preliminary injunction was granted and the court ordered the defendants to stop enforcing the residency requirement. • Act 50 (Squatter’s Law) The ACLU of Hawaii challenged Act 50, the “Squatter’s Law”, which gives public officials overly broad powers to ban individuals from using public spaces such as beaches, streets, and sidewalks. The legislature, in response, repealed most of the egregious provisions. The ACLU lobbied the legislature to pass Senate Bill 2687, which would have repealed the rest of the act. Unfortunately, this bill died at the end of the 2006 Legislative session. • Taomae v. Lingle (Voting Rights) The ACLU of Hawaii won this voting rights case and invalidated a Constitutional Amendment because the Legislature failed to follow mandatory Constitutional requirements. • Tapaoan v. Lingle (Overdetention) The ACLU of Hawaii settled a case against the State of Hawaii on behalf of prisoners who were held in custody after they were acquitted or after their charges were dismissed. The settlement provides compensation for the additional time inmates spent behind bars and calls for state officials to follow procedures to ensure detainees are released on time. • First Amendment cases The ACLU of Hawaii settled three First Amendment cases against the City and County of Honolulu for co-sponsoring several religious events and, in one case, conspiring to exclude participants because of their sexual orientation and views. • Activist Groups The ACLU of Hawaii successfully intervened on behalf of several activist groups (anti-war and gay pride, ex.) in Honolulu and Maui on separate occasions who were being denied parade or rally permits by police on various grounds or who were being charged for police protection and signage (when other community groups were not being treated similarly). Lobbying • Bill 71 (Street Performers) The ACLU of Hawaii successfully lobbied against Bill 71, which would ban street performers from an area of Waikiki every evening. The ACLU was successful in persuading the Mayor to veto the bill and gaining the support of the City Council in deciding not to override the Mayor's veto. • 2005 Legislative session The ACLU of Hawaii lobbied legislators on dozens of measures including: opposing electronic surveillance increases, supporting adult and juvenile prison and drug policy reform, and providing emergency room contraception for sexual assault survivors. • 2006 Legislative session The ACLU of Hawaii is currently lobbying legislators on a variety of measures including: adult and juvenile prison and drug policy reform, prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of gender identity or expression or sexual orientation, information charging, “three strikes” law, residency requirements for public employment, criminal trespass, and amending the definition of person to include a viable fetus. • Tom Gill Scholar Awarded to high school student to intern and experience legislative process as one way to advocate for justice and equality. • Hawaii Juvenile Justice Project (since 2003) The Hawaii Juvenile Justice Project is a statewide community collaboration to reform the juvenile justice system. 40+ groups/individuals, including the ACLU of Hawaii participate.
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