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Kokua Line

Clearing citation requires court hearing, posting bond

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QUESTION: I was mailed a "Default Judgment & Notice of Entry of Default Judgment" from Ewa District Court on April 21 for supposedly abandoning my car in January 2008. I immediately called to inform them that that was not my vehicle. I was instructed to go to a website to get the form to file a motion to set aside the judgment. On April 22 I went to file the form in person. I also requested a copy of the citation, which showed that the license plate number, the color and the year of the car cited were not for my car. I asked that the information be corrected but was told it couldn’t be done without an order. I felt I had no option but to request a hearing and was told that I had to post a bond equal to the judgment fee of $160. Why would they not correct the error at that time, especially since it was their error, and why did I have to post bond at that time? What is the proper procedure for someone to follow in this situation?

ANSWER: Since it was not your car that was cited, we understand the citation was dismissed at a hearing last month and that you were refunded the $160 bond.

However, and unfortunately for anyone caught in a similar situation, the process to clear the citation does involve going to a hearing and posting a bond.

Both Section 291D-7(c) of the Hawaii Revised Statutes and Rule 18(b)2 of the Hawaii Civil Traffic Rules require that a motion to set aside a default judgment must be made in writing, and an appearance bond equal to the amount of the judgment, plus any delinquency charges, must be posted, according to state Judiciary officials.

It doesn’t matter that you were erroneously cited because someone typed the wrong license number into the system.

That claim has to be decided by a judge, not a clerk at the counter, said spokeswoman Marsha Kitagawa.

Even if a judge rules in your favor and dismisses the case, she said the information that the citation was dismissed will be reported on your traffic abstract, another requirement of the law.

Court officials also said that information regarding what the process is for defendants to follow can be found in the letter and forms that are sent to them: the "Default Judgment & Notice of Entry of Default Judgment," the "Motion to Set Aside Default Judgment for Traffic Infraction" and the "Appearance Bond for Traffic Infraction."

QUESTION: At the intersection of Kuhio and Ohua avenues in Waikiki, there is a street light on the mauka corner that remains lit during the day, wasting electricity. To which city agency should this be reported?

ANSWER: For city lights, call the city Department of Facility Maintenance’s 24-hour hot line, 768-5300.

You can also report any problem related to city services on the Department of Customer Services’ website, hsblinks.com/2hi; e-mailing complaints@honolulu.gov; calling 768-4381; or writing to Director of Customer Services, 530 S. King St., Room 302-A, Honolulu, HI 96813.

QUESTION: How long may a motor vehicle remain continuously parked in a free, public parking stall? There is a Jeep Cherokee that has been parked for nearly two months in the stall adjacent to TheBus stop at Lehua and Center streets in Wahiawa.

ANSWER: A vehicle is required to be moved at least once every 24 hours.

Report abandoned or derelict vehicles by calling the city at 733-2530 during normal work hours, or leave a message after hours by calling 532-7700 (press 250). You can also file a complaint at hsblinks.com/2hi.

Write to "Kokua Line" at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail kokualine@staradvertiser.com.

 

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