Something About Hawaii You May Have Missed

The issue will perhaps never arise in your court, but in light of the American Judges Annual Conference being held in Hawaii this September, it might be of interest.

The Washington Times recently reported:

A criminal defendant’s controversial use of the Hawaiian language during a Wailuku District Court hearing this week has prompted the Aloha State to revise its policy for providing interpreters.

The Hawaii State Judiciary on Friday announced it will start offering Hawaiian language interpreters, albeit two days after Wailuku District Judge Blaine Kobayashi issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Samuel Kaeo, a Maui man who refused to answer the judge’s questions in English. 

Mr. Kaeo, though an English speaker, addressed the court in Hawaiian, which has also been recognized in the state constitution alongside English as an official language since 1978.

“The Judiciary will provide or permit qualified Hawaiian language interpreters to the extent reasonably possible when parties in courtroom proceedings choose to express themselves through the Hawaiian language,” the state’s court system said in a press release.

“The Judiciary will develop implementation procedures for this policy, and welcomes input from the community,” the announcement said.”

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