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League Monitors Family Court

The following is a reprint from the March issue of "~and Justice For All",
a newsletter for the employees of the Hawaii State Judiciary

Domestic violence proceedings observed by League

Volunteers of the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Honolulu have been observing domestic violence criminal court proceedings on O'ahu to assess the impact of the judicial process on the victims and the defendants.

The LWV of Honolulu initiated their "Domestic Violence Monitoring Project" as part of the Leagues national' priority to learn about and make an impact on domestic violence in America.

At present, the Family Court of the First Circuit has two courtrooms for jury trials and one for arraignment and pleas, with judges Dan Kochi, Linda Luke, and Bode Uale presiding.

Representatives from the LWV met with Senior Family Court Judge Michael Town and Family Court volunteer Dave Crockett recently, to gain a better understanding of the judicial process. The LWV is observing and recording data on the various aspects of domestic abuse proceedings, such as the length of time required for a case to come to trial, arraignment and pleading, bail hearing, verdicts, sentencing and compliance with court orders.

Under the directions of its president, Suzanne Meisenzahl, and its project manager, Susan Anderson, the LWV hopes to expand the program in the future to study the degree of compliance and/or effect of a judge's order in a domestic violence case, and to examine the temporary restraining order process.

The LWV began observing domestic violence trials in the Family Court Criminal Division on March 1, 1996 and will rotate a team of 10 to 12 volunteers to "sit in" on as many open cases as possible for approximately three months. Commenting on the program, Judge Town said, "We are very happy to assist the League of Women Voters in their efforts to study the court and welcome constructive feedback on how the Family Court operates. The public has a right to expect fair, timely and effective justice".

Family Court Monitoring Report

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