About this newsletter/masthead

• In this issue, Hawai‘i updates on:


About this newsletter/masthead: Vol. 37, No. 3, published April, 2012. The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i (“ACLU of Hawaii”) ‘Ohana News is published by the ACLU of Hawaii. It is mailed and/or provided online free of charge to members and supporters. This is not a subscription publication. We do not accept unsolicited articles or advertisements. For information about becoming a member of the ACLU, please visit the national ACLU website

The ACLU of Hawai‘i is comprised of two separate corporate entities, the ACLU of Hawai‘i and the ACLU of Hawai‘i Foundation. Both are part of the same overall organization. This newsletter collectively refers to the two organizations under the name “ACLU of Hawai‘i,” whose mission is to protect the civil liberties contained in the state and federal constitutions through litigation, lobbying, and public education programs statewide. 

The ACLU is funded primarily through private donations and offers its services at no cost to the public. The ACLU does not accept any government funds.

Address: Box 3410 Honolulu, HI 96801
Website: http://www.acluhawaii.org
Email: office@acluhawaii.org
Tel:(808) 522-5900  (Neighbor Isles toll-free:(877) 544-5906)
Fax:(808) 522-5909

Return to top


Criminal Justice Reform

Pictured L-R: Bronson Nunuha, Alex Friedmann, Prison Legal News, Kenneth M. Walczak, Rosen Bien & Galvan LLC, Daniel K. Gluck, ACLU-HI. An aerial view of Saguaro Correctional Facility, via Bing Maps.

Bronson Nunuha was just months away from release on a burglary conviction, and looking forward to reuniting with his seven year-old son, mother and sisters back home in Hawai‘i when he was forced to share housing with extremely violent, gang-affiliated prisoners at Corrections Corporation of America’s (CCA) Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona. On February 18, 2010, a CCA employee opened Bronson’s cell door, then left. Bronson was beaten and stabbed over 100 times by other inmates who carved the name of their gang into his chest and even had time to shower and change clothes before CCA staff became aware that Bronson had been attacked and killed.

On February 15, 2012, represented by the ACLU of Hawai‘i, The Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) and the San Francisco-based law firm of Rosen Bien & Galvan, Bronson’s family filed a lawsuit in state court against CCA and the State of Hawai‘i. The suit exposes CCA’s business model of grossly short-staffing prisons and cutting corners to maximize corporate profits.

Bronson was transferred to CCA’s Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona as part of an increasingly controversial practice in which Hawai‘i prisoners are sent to for-profit mainland facilities. Hawai‘i law requires the State to return inmates to Hawai‘i when a year remains on their sentence (to complete necessary programs to help parolees re-enter the community). In the case of Bronson Nunuha, the State ignored this law.

The ACLU has long warned the State about the damaging effects of its short-sighted policy of shipping prisoners to the mainland. ACLU of Hawai‘i Senior Staff Attorney Dan Gluck said, “This tragedy is bound to be repeated unless Hawai‘i adopts more effective prison policies.”The murder of Bronson Nunuha is part of a disturbing trend. Another Hawai‘i prisoner, Clifford Medina, was killed at the Saguaro facility in June 2010. In 2009, Hawai‘i removed all of its female prisoners from CCA’s Otter Creek Correctional Center in Kentucky following a scandal that resulted in at least six CCA employees being charged with rape or sexual misconduct.Anyone with information about Bronson’s death – or information about violations of other safety rules at the CCA Saguaro Correctional Facility is encouraged to confidentially contact the ACLU of Hawai‘i.

Return to top


First Amendment Rights

Pictured L-R: APEC protest at University of Hawaii at Manoa. Tess and Jaime Meier, flanked by their attorneys, hold a press conference on the courthouse steps. "Occupy Honolulu" encampment at Thomas Square Park. 

APEC co-exists with the First Amendment: Despite a disturbing national anti-protest trend, reports of huge stockpiles of riot gear, weapons and even mobile-jail buses purchased by the State of Hawai‘i,  the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) completed with zero arrests of lawful protesters and no use of weapons by law enforcement. The ACLU focused 18 months of proactive outreach including development of a Hawai‘i-specific “1st Amendment Toolkit” to help achieve this welcome result.

Get the Toolkit online, or order FREE copies for you and your friends by contacting the ACLU of Hawaii!

Free Speech Case Won!:  With pro-bono co-counsel Davis Levin Livingston, the ACLU rose to the successful legal defense of the Meiers - wrongly cited for a peaceful, 2-person protest at Kapiolani Park.  As a result of this free speech case, the City was able to correct some enforcement issues prior to APEC, and is in the process of correcting other ordinances relating to demonstrations and free speech.

City seizing people's property: Honolulu’s “Bill 54” makes it illegal to “store” personal property in City parks or other City property. The anti-homeless intent and vague procedures of this law are troubling to civil libertarians.  The ACLU is actively monitoring how and when it is applied by law enforcement.

Return to top


Privacy Rights

  • ACLU of Hawai‘i took part in a nationwide Open Records Request campaign, joining over 30 other ACLU affiliates in raising awareness about new forms of surveillance using invisible data points - in the form of GPS tracking information - wherever our phones go. By collecting and analyzing that data, corporations and the government can put together a very detailed picture of your activities, who you hang out with, and more. The ACLU position is that a warrant should be needed for any government access to this data.
  • The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) has backed off of plans to mandate the use of “smart meters” for its customers, after a private lawsuit was filed. The ACLU had previously written a letter to KIUC expressing our concerns that privacy protections, including transparent data use and retention policies for consumers should be built into the front end of any project of this type.
  • Should you be asked to show ID to buy a soft drink at a neighborhood store? Should that store then scan and store the information electronically embedded in your government ID so it can build a secret consumer profile on you? Fight Big Brother!  S.B. 2419 and H.B. 2309, moving through the State Legislature, will prevent stores like Target from using this practice. See the legislative report inside for how to get involved!
  • In the harrowing aftermath of rape, Hawaii’s women cannot depend on our hospitals to discuss or offer emergency contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Statewide surveys of Hawaii’s hospitals have revealed that 21 out of 26 emergency rooms refuse to provide or lack policies on emergency contraception, denying women access to information and options when they need it most.As of this writing, S.B 218, which will require hospitals to provide EC, could still pass! Find out more in the Legislative Report inside, and sign the petition at: http://bit.ly/GZgq1V

Return to top


"Sunshine Laws" & Government Transparency - Online now: "ACLU Open Records Archive"

"Democracy exists only when government functions in the open and protects the rights of its citizens to participate in that government. In 1988, the Hawai‘i State Legislature enacted the Uniform Information Practices Act (Modified) (the “UIPA”) to preserve  and ensure that open government and public participation.” (http://hawaii.gov/oip/UIPABooklet-PDF.pdf).

• In 2011, ACLU-HI filed 17 Open Records Requests. 

• As of March, 2012, 7 requests have already been filed. 

One of the best ways to investigate possible civil liberties (or other) issues is to start with the facts. An “Open Records” request can be used to gather data from the Hawai‘i State Government. For data from federal archives, use a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request.

Visit our online Open Records Request archive. See what information the ACLU of Hawaii requested, and what data the government gave us in response.  http://acluhi.org/open-records-requests/

• How to file your own Open Records requests: http://www.state.hi.us/oip/uipa.html

• Learn how to file Federal FOIA requests: http://www.whatisfoia.org/

Return to top


Legislative Program Update (4/10/12)

The ACLU of Hawaii’s Legislative Program has been monitoring hundreds of bills and has testified in writing and/or in person on over 85 bills and resolutions in the 2012 Hawai‘i State Legislative session.  Program staff and volunteers include Laurie Temple (ACLU Staff), Nancy Davlantes, Roger Fonseca, Gail Gnazzo, Steven Levinson and Jory Watland.  We spend countless hours lobbying legislators, meeting with community allies, conducting public education and outreach campaigns and engaging grassroots participation through our ‘Ohana Email Action Alerts, which lay out immediate actions for our supporters to take on legislation that affects civil liberties. Your grassroots advocacy makes a huge difference!

Learn more about the bills in this report, visit  www.capitol.hawaii.gov and enter the bill number in the space for “Bill Status/Measure Status.” Get ACLU ‘Ohana Email Action Alerts or more information, email the Legislative Program: legislative@acluhawaii.org or join the private mailing list at www.acluhawaii.org, enter your email in the space provided.

What is the ACLU of Hawai‘i doing to ensure that the Hawai‘i State Legislature protects our privacy?

• Regulating the collection and retention of driver’s license information.  Senate Bill 2419 will ban private businesses from swiping your driver’s license information and storing and using your personal information.  There are currently no regulations on what businesses may do with your driver’s license information, which includes your name, address, date of birth, hair color, eye color, height, weight, gender, license expiration date, organ donor status, driver’s license number, and medical indicators, among other things.  Make sure the government protects your privacy and support these bills!

• Restricting law enforcement access to cell phone location information. Senate Bill 2247 will allow cell phone providers to give your cell location to law enforcement in an emergency without a warrant based on probable cause. Without court oversight, this process may be abused, allowing phone owners like an estranged spouse, abusive partner, or even an over-bearing employer, to access the user’s location information under the guise of an emergency situation. The ACLU does not oppose an emergency exception so long as proper safeguards are in place to protect against abuse. Weigh in on this bill and tell legislators to add safeguards to protect our privacy!

• Eliminating barriers to changing gender designation on I.D. documents. House Bill 2227 seeks to protect medical privacy (and will help to end discrimination against transgender individuals) by more easily allowing transgender individuals to correct the sex designation on their birth certificate, and doing away with the current requirement that transgender individuals undergo costly and potentially dangerous surgical procedures. This important civil rights legislation needs your support! The ACLU of Hawai‘i is working with Hawaii’s counties to amend their discriminatory and dangerous driver’s license rules. We’ll keep you posted on how you can support those amendments!

• Opposing internet data retention mandates. A particularly egregious bill, House Bill 2288, would have required internet service providers to keep our internet usage history for two years and to make it available to anyone, including the websites we visit, and, consequently, what our interests are, where we bank, what online accounts we have, etc. This bill is dead.  Let’s keep it that way – oppose any legislation that seeks to directly assault the privacy of internet users!

How is the ACLU of Hawai‘i protecting Hawaii’s women from assaults on reproductive health care?

• Requiring hospitals to give rape survivors access to emergency contraception. Senate Bill 219 will ban hospitals from denying rape survivors access to emergency contraception (“EC”) to prevent pregnancy.  EC is only found in four hospitals in Hawai‘i (three on Oahu and one on Kauai) and in pharmacies during business hours. For neighbor islands, which have no 24 hour pharmacies, a woman may not have access to EC when she needs it the most.  Although the House of Representatives killed the House version of the bill, it could still pass SB 218. Contact House Speaker Say and ask him to take action on SB 218!

• Banning health care providers from performing pelvic exams without patient consent. House Bill 2232 will prohibit health care providers from the shocking practice of performing pelvic exams on anesthetized or unconscious female patients without their informed consent. This bill is critically needed to protect Hawaii’s women, and it needs your support!

How has the ACLU of Hawai‘i worked to ensure Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (“LGBT”) rights since the passage of the civil unions bill?  

• Improving the civil unions law while thwarting efforts to allow religiously affiliated businesses to discriminate in public accommodations. House Bill 2569 started off as “fix-it” bills to clean up any issues with civil unions, but has since been amended by House committees to allow religiously affiliated businesses (Polynesian Cultural Center, Chaminade University, etc.) to use religion to discriminate in public accommodations. While every person has religious freedom, religiously-affiliated businesses should not be given a free pass to use religion to discriminate against those who don’t share its religious affiliation. Senators Hee and Green took out the exemption in H.B. 2569 after hearing the bill in a joint hearing by the Judiciary and Labor Committee and the Health Committee.  Support the fix-it bills and oppose legalizing discrimination against our LGBT ‘ohana by thanking Senators Hee and Green for removing the exemption in HB 2569 and asking them to help get the bill passed without an exemption.

How is the ACLU of Hawai‘i fighting for voting rights in Hawai‘i?

• Implementing online voter registration. House Bill 1755 seeks to update voter registration laws and implement an online voter registration system.  By eliminating barriers to voting, HB1755 will increase the integrity of Hawaii’s electoral system and ultimately increase voter access and turnout.  Since nothing is more fundamental to our democracy than the right to vote, the ACLU of Hawai‘i supports all attempts to increase voting and vigorously opposes any attempts to prevent or hamper people from voting. In fact, the ACLU of Hawaii’s long term goal is to ensure that everyone, including incarcerated individuals, gets to vote.

The Constitution needs your kokua to protect and promote civil rights!

Mahalo to some of our great legislative volunteers in 2011: L-R: Summer Intern Ari Freilich testifying at Honolulu Hale. Attorney with the national ACLU Drug Law Reform Project Scott Michelman addresses the crowd of ACLU supporters and drug law reform advocates at the “Stop the Drug War” Rally organized by the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai‘i at the Hawai‘i State Capitol, February 2011. 2011 Winter Intern Priya Varaprath for the ACLU on privacy rights, youth and reproductive freedom at the 2012 Roe v. Wade Commemoration, Hawai‘i State Capitol. The 2011 Summer Interns hosted a free screening of “Let’s Talk About Sex” at the UH Law School to educate the community about the need for laws supporting comprehensive, medically accurate sex education for our public schools. 

Return to top


Board Member Profile: Adam Chang

Adam Chang brings his passion as an advocate for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (“LGBT”) rights, and international human rights to the ACLU of Hawai‘i. He is currently at the William S. Richardson School of Law and has been the Community Organizer for the Lambda Law Student Association since 2009. He previously worked for a human rights organization in Bucharest, Romania where his focus was on HIV prevention and establishing a youth program.

He lead the legal community to raise close to $15,000 for the Honolulu AIDS Walk in 2010 and 2011. He was also integral in restarting the Gay-Straight Alliance at Farrington High School in February 2011. Adam has worked for Refugees International in Washington D.C. and Upwardly Global in San Francisco and is active on the issue of refugee resettlement.

Adam graduated from UC Davis with a BA in African Studies & International Relations. He has lived and studied abroad in Ghana and London.

In law school, Adam organized a televised-panel titled “Giving Voice: Overcoming Islamophobia and Homophobia.” His organizing allowed him to research and write on the development of “critical coalition theory” by focusing on the relationship of Muslims and LGBT persons in the U.S. In the summer of 2011, he received the Samuel L. Cohen Human Rights Fellowship and served for eight weeks at the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights in Oakland, CA. There, he developed a training module to facilitate discussion on Islamophobia within immigrant communities.

In addition to serving on the ACLU of Hawai‘i Board of Directors since January 2012 and the ACLU Youth Affairs Committee, Adam currently also serves on the board for a Hawai‘i-based LGBT advocacy group, Citizens for Equal Rights.

Return to top


Fundraising Initiatives kick off for 2012!

Individual donations are the lifeblood of the ACLU, providing critical day-to-day funding to defend the Bill of Rights. We are grateful for every gift, and put your money to hard work. Email or write us to get a pledge card to send a gift today, or give using PayPal at www.acluhawaii.org/give. In addition to an annual gift, we have some special fundraising projects of note:

Guardians of Liberty: As a Guardian of Liberty, your monthly contributions will be put to immediate use, making sure that no challenge to any of our rights goes unanswered. An automatic monthly pledge — made in small, affordable installments — is one of the most efficient ways that you can support the ACLU. That means more of your donation will go directly toward critically important work. These gifts fuel our legislative program and are not tax deductible. For more info and to register : http://bit.ly/HpMLwp

Aloha United Way (www.auw.org): About 1,300 Oahu companies and organizations run campaigns for Aloha United Way each year. Campaigns are held at small businesses and large corporations in a variety of industries ranging from construction to banking.  Ask about it at work! The ACLU is a campaign recipient: Agency Name - American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i Foundation. Designation #: 71110

Give Aloha: Foodland’s Annual Community Matching Gifts Program, was created in 1999 to honor Foodland’s founder, Maurice J. “Sully” Sullivan, and continue his legacy of giving back to the community. Each year, during Sept.1 – 30 at all Foodland and Sack N Save stores statewide, customers are encouraged to make a donation at checkout to their favorite Hawai‘i non-profit organization. The ACLU of Hawai‘i is an authorized recipient of Give Aloha funds during the campaign, Sept. 1-30. These gifts are anonymous, unless you advise us of your gift. Our participant number is: # 77407

Planned Giving: By including the ACLU in your will, you can leave a legacy of liberty for generations to come. Thousands of passionate civil libertarians nationwide have stepped forward and expressed their most cherished values by making a deeply meaningful gift to the ACLU in their estate plans. We invite you to join this special group of ACLU supporters who have made freedom, justice, and equality their personal legacy.

Whatever your stage of life, and whatever your family and financial picture, there are flexible ways to plan a gift that works for you. Direct your inquiry to Executive Director Vanessa Chong, vchong@acluhawaii.org.

Special Volunteer Mahalo: L. Richard Fried, Jr., General Campaign Chair

“Rick” Fried has served the ACLU of Hawai‘i fundraising campaign for over 20 years. He is generous with his time and talents. Additionally, the law firm of Cronin Fried Sekiya Kekina & Fairbanks annually makes a major financial gift to the ACLU mission. Rick’s leadership has grown charitable giving from the attorney community, in particular, to new heights. The much needed dollars underwrite our legal program so the ACLU can continue to offer its services statewide at no cost to the public.

Return to top


Mahalo to our amazing volunteers in 2011!

Rodney Aiu, The Law Firm of Alston Hunt Floyd and Ing, Paul Alston, Nadine Ando, Anthology Marketing Group, Guy Archer, Susan Arnett, Carol Bain, Holly Berlin, John Bickel, the Law Firm of Bickerton Lee Dang and Sullivan, Jim Bickerton, Pam Bunn, Camille Cabalo, David Carr, Adam Chang, Anthony Chang, Wesley Chang, Andrew Char, Michelle Ching, Chuck Choi, Ed Coll, Civil Beat, Leroy Colombe, Tom Cook, Eleanora Dalton, Joyce Darny, Monisha Das Gupta, The Law Firm of Davis Levin Livingston, Erin Davis, Mark Davis, Nancy Davlantes, James Duca, John Egan, Nikki Engelsen, Mark Ewald, Cynthia Farias, David Field, David Forman, Ari Freilich, L. Richard Fried, Jr., the Law Firm of Hawk Sing Ignacio & Waters, Nan Kaaumoana, Nalani Fujimori Kaina, Larry Geller, Paul Grable, Gary Grimmer, Tom Hackett, Clare Hanusz, Bill Harrison, Jay Hartwell, The Hawai‘i People’s Fund, Mel Hertz, Matt Hom, Jeff Hong, Tom Humphreys, Joe Huster, Micah Inoue, Kim Coco Iwamoto, , Ed Kemper, Jay Knight, Edward Knox, Mike Kozak, Alex Krueger, FBI SSA Anthony Lang, Karen Lee, Jackie Levien, Michael Levine, Ian Lind, Bernice Littman, Michael Livingston, Shannon Lowrey, Greg Lui-Kwan, Max Matthews, Kevin McLaughlin, Bob Merce, Paula Myers, [Off]hrs/Creative, James R. Olson, Jeanne Ohta, Pacific Software Architects. Sun Park, Aram Parker, Judy Pavey, Revolution Books, Blaine Rogers, Rick Schneider, Hina Shamsi, Evan Shirley, David Simons, Elbridge Smith, Rick Sing, Aviam Soifer, Chelsey Stewart, Valentina Stewart Watson, Mele Stokesberry, Paul Sullivan, James Tam, Patrick Taomae, Susan Tius, David Tveraas, Priya Varaprath, Melissa Vincenty, Clyde Wadsworth, Cecillia Wang, Matt Winter, G. Todd Withy, Keith Yamada, Russel Yamashita, Lee Yarbrough, Colin Yost, Nancy Youngren.

The ACLU Hawaii Board of Directors: Barbara A. Ankersmit (Pres.), Marianita Lopez (VP and Affiliate Affirmative Action Officer), Gail Gnazzo (Secretary), Patrick Y. Taomae (Treasurer), Roger W. Fonseca (Nat’l ACLU Board Rep.), Pamela G. Lichty (At-Large), A. Joris Watland (At-Large), Ibrahim Aoude, George Atkins, Adam R. Chang, Barbara L. Franklin, Steven H. Levinson, Andrea Low, Sheryl L. Nicholson, Esther Solomon, Brooke Wilson, Moana Yost, Jackie Young.

Some of our volunteers in action: Free speech has an army! L-R, Mark Davis, Erin Davis, plaintiffs Jaime and Tess Meier, ACLU-HI’s Laurie Temple and Matt Winter. Mark, Erin and Matt provided pro-bono co-counsel from the law firm of Davis Levin Livingston. September 2011. “Growing Up in the shadow of 9-11”, a webcast for youth journalists statewide by Civil Beat and ACLU-HI. L-R: Edward Knox, UHM student, FBI Supervisory Special Agent Anthony Lang, Director of the ACLU National Security Project, Hina Shamsi (joined via Skype) and Civil Beat political reporter Michael Levine. August 2011. Camille Cabalo, a spring 2011 graduate of the University of Hawai‛i at Mānoa with her Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Ethnic Studies spoke at the Annual Meeting on her academic adventures at home in Hawai'i as well as her own love for community/student organizing/mentoring through the Ethnic Studies Student Association (ESSA) at UHM. 2011 Summer Interns! L-R: Sun Park, Ari Freilich, Chelsey Stewart, Holly Berlin.

Return to top


What do you think?

• A brand new website (you're looking at it!) went live in October 2011, with conceptual kokua from our friends at Pacific Software Architects! Try it! How can we improve it even more?

• We work on many different issues that affect civil liberties. We are always interested in what we can do better (and hearing about issues we may be overlooking). Any suggestions?

• Every year we hold an Annual Meeting. Last year’s meeting was on “Young Activists Changing the World,” other years have featured breakout sessions on various topics (even marching in a Pride Parade!). What would you like to see that might get folks to come out for an ACLU Annual Meeting?

• Check us out on social media,and tell us what you think! Facebook: acluhawaii, Twitter: @acluhawaii, Flickr: acluhawaii

• Suggestions or feedback? We are your local ACLU, your opinion counts! Call us, or email office@acluhawaii.org.

Return to top