Tuesday, March 07, 2017


Appeals court to hear arguments on whether Sen. Brickwood Galuteria lived in his district prior to his election

by Larry Geller

Update: The audio recording of the oral arguments has been posted and is of good listening quality. To download or listen in your browser click here.

Did Brickwood Galuteria live in his district prior to his election to the Senate? This is the main question at issue in a case to be heard on Wednesday before the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA).

Why is this important? According to the state constitution:

No person shall be eligible to serve as a member of the senate unless the person . . . is, prior to filing nomination papers and thereafter continues to be, a qualified voter of the senatorial district from which the person seeks to be elected; except that in the year of the first general election following reapportionment, but prior to the primary election, an incumbent senator may move to a new district without being disqualified.


The case is Richard W. Baker vs. Brickwood M. Galuteria, Abigail L. Galuteria, and Glen Takahashi, City Clerk, City and County of Honolulu. It is set for oral Hawaii supreme courtarguments  on Wednesday, March 8 at 9:00 a.m. The hearing is in the courtroom at the state Supreme Court, 2nd Floor, 417 South King Street (behind the King Kamehameha statue).

While there are many briefs filed with the court, I have posted the appellant’s opening brief below because it is the best explanation of the arguments and the actions that led to the case landing in court. The introduction and background begin on page 9 of the pdf file.

Caution: Posting this one brief is intended only as a shortcut to understand the case—of course there are counter-arguments and it is important for anyone wishing to study the case or form their own conclusions to read both sides of any court action. Briefs are public records and I urge anyone interested to obtain a complete set. I have read several of the briefs before posting this article.

The opening brief posted below is 70 pages long, which suggests that this case is far from simple. It has its twists and turns—for example, on p. 10, there is mention of a rental agreement filed retroactively.

Anyone attending the oral arguments should understand that the ICA has been briefed and presumably understands the case, so what the public hears will naturally be incomplete. In addition, crank up your hearing aids if you plan to attend, the sound system in the courtroom is often totally inadequate.

If the court posts its recording of the hearing I’ll link to it or possibly post an improved sound file as an update to this article—check back after the hearing.

Download Baker Appeal Opening Brief from Disappeared News


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