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Hawaii Chief Justice extends modified state Judiciary operations through end of year

  • COURTESY PHOTO
                                Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald

    COURTESY PHOTO

    Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald

Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald has extended a modified order directing state courthouse closings through Dec. 31 for those who do not have official court business.

A March order closed Judiciary facilities, including state courthouses, to the public, but courts remain open to those with official business.

Recktenwald made the extension order Wednesday “in light of the ongoing public health threat posed by the pandemic, and as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to fluctuate in each circuit and health and safety guidelines continue to evolve.”

A Sept. 28 order allowed jury trials in the First Circuit in Honolulu to begin Dec. 14, and jury trials in the Second, Third and Fifth Circuits to begin Nov. 14. COVID-19 safety measures must be followed.

According to an Oct. 22 order, facilities are closed to those with COVID-19 symptoms and those exposed to the coronavirus.

There are some exemptions to the restrictions, but generally, access to facilities is subject to state and county-level emergency orders, rules and proclamations.

Video or telephonic conferencing has been used for many cases, including oral arguments in the Intermediate Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. The state Judiciary said about 75,000 hearings have been conducted remotely since August.

Chief judges have also been issuing circuit-specific orders since March.

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