News

S. Kohala District Courtroom to Temporarily Close Due to Staff Shortage

November 5, 2020, 10:07 AM HST
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The South Kohala District Court courtroom will be temporarily closing beginning Dec. 1 for all court hearings due to a shortage of courtroom staff.

While the courthouse will remain open for other court services, officials with the Hawai‘i State Judiciary say, all current cases being heard in South Kohala will be redirected to the Keahuolu Courthouse in Kona and to the Hale Kaulike Courthouse in Hilo.

Judge Mahilani Hiatt will be temporarily transferred to Family Court at the Keahuolu Courthouse.

The South Kohala courtroom staff is small, with one staff member retired and another going to retire, the judiciary is planning to recruit.

It is unknown at this time when courtroom hearings will resume.

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“We appreciate the community’s patience and understanding as we work expeditiously to reopen the South Kohala Courthouse,” said Chief Judge Robert D. S. Kim.

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The number of cases heard at the South Kohala District Court can vary greatly from month to month, said Judiciary Spokeswoman Jan Kagehiro. For example, there were about 1,025 in September and about 850 in October.

Kagehiro explained they cannot predict how many cases will go to Hilo and Keahuolu.

The 3rd Circuit Court will make every effort to allow for remote hearings where possible.

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The South Kohala District Courthouse will remain open to receive documents, process payments, and for other non-court hearing functions.

Anyone needing assistance may call 808-322-8700 (Keahuolu Courthouse) or 808-961-7470 (Hale Kaulike Courthouse) or email: [email protected]

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