ACLU Fights to Protect Juvenile Identities
October 17, 2003
Honolulu - The ACLU of Hawai‘i yesterday filed its objections in response to another attempt by the UPW to force the return of the group’s former legal director to answer questions about the sources of the ACLU investigation into alleged abuses by guards at the Hawai‘i Youth Correctional Facility.
ACLU attorneys argue in their briefs, filed with the Hawai‘i Labor Relations Board, that that the Board has no authority to order former legal director Brent White to reappear for the purpose of asking questions that he has already refused to answer. The ACLU said that Board support for the UPW action would serve “no purpose other than retaliating against Mr. White and the ACLU for their efforts to improve conditions at the Hawai‘i Youth Correctional Facility.”
“Justice requires, in this case, that the information sought, not be released. Such release would create risk of harm or death to the juveniles at HYCF,” said executive director Vanessa Chong.
“The ACLU remains fully committed to pursue litigation over conditions and practices at HYCF. The UPW will not deter us from this original purpose.” The law firm of Alston Hunt Floyd and Ing and the Youth Law Center will assist the ACLU.
The ACLU argues that revealing its sources would also violate public policy which protects informants as well as the ACLU’s constitutional right to pursue litigation to protect individual freedoms.
The ACLU continues to argue that the UPW has no right to any of the information. The identity of the children and the information they provided to White and his interns has nothing to do with the prohibited practices charge filed by UPW against the state for allowing ACLU access to the facility.
The ACLU states that the information UPW wants is protected by the attorney-client privilege and the attorney work product doctrine. Both are core legal principles that shelter the activities of an attorney in order to prepare a client’s case.
A hearing on the ACLU responses is not required and the Board could certify the issues directly to state Circuit Court.
Jeffrey Harris and Tamara Gerrard of Torkildson Katz Fonseca Moore and Hetherington are representing the ACLU.
To view the complete ACLU report and findings on HYCF, log onto its website at http://acluhawaii.org
The mission of the ACLU is to defend the civil liberties contained in the state and federal constitutions through advocacy in the courts, legislature and public forum. Its work on prisons arises out of the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Memo in Opposition to Reappearance
Memo Regarding Work Product
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