The Hawaii Supreme Court has issued a unanimous opinion in Hamilton v. Lethem, No. SCWC-27580 (Jan. 7, 2012). The issues in the case revolve around the due process rights of parents in civil TRO proceedings in Family Court.
The court held that "parents have a constitutional right to discipline children inherent in their liberty interest ... under the due process clause ... of the Hawaii Constitution[,] ... trial courts shall consider whether the discipline is reasonably related to the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the welfare of the minor in determining whether the parent's conduct constituted abuse or proper discipline, and ... a non-custodial parent retains the right to discipline a child when the child is under his or her supervision." Slip op. at 1-2.
This decision will have a positive impact on the administration of justice across our state, and more importantly, it protects the rights of Hawaii's parents to have their day in court. A great day for due process and the rule of law.
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