Court Watch

Hawai'i trial attorneys and appellate court attorneys


Sunday, November 13, 2005

Civil Courts Resemble a "Ghosttown" According to Hawai'i TV Station

This is an update to what was mentioned on November 11th. KITV news reported yesterday the following story:

A KITV investigation revealed that judges handling lawsuits have half the caseload they did 10 years ago. It means many courtrooms sit unused for hours every day. The fourth floor of Circuit Court, where civil cases are heard, is pretty much a ghost town in the afternoon many days. Only one was in use on Friday and that was for a wedding. The 10 courtrooms dedicated to civil cases hosted only 10 jury trials last year.

As Rich Turbin mentioned in the news cast, this loss of access to the courts is a problem. ADR does favor the repetitive user. Especially, if the repetitive use is well financed. You tend to please your steady customers. From the criminal law viewpoint, the loss of trial time is also a symptom of the times. At the moment, criminal defense attorneys seem to be at the wrong end of the pendulum swing. This country is actually debating whether fundamental due process is necessary for people it decides to incarcerate and torture.

As trial lawyers, we should ask ourselves whether due process has any value in getting to the truth and administering justice.

Or does it simply serve some other purpose, or no purpose?


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