Tidbits and Thoughts . . .  Legal Aid's Online  News
October 31, 2019

Throughout October, the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence hosted a #1Thing social media campaign in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Legal Aid is proud to have joined this campaign by posting #1Thing each day about domestic violence. NRCDV notes, "Domestic violence impacts millions of people each year, but it can be prevented.

It requires the collective voice and power of individuals, families, institutions, and systems - each whose 'one thing' adds a valuable and powerful component to transforming our communities.... The #1Thing message helps individuals and communities to articulate and understand how our collective 'one things' can lead to the social transformation we all desire to see."

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In honor of Pro Bono Celebration month, thank you to all the volunteer attorneys who continue to support and give their time to help provide access to justice for those in need. 

Pro Bono Celebration 2019

Christine with Hawaii State Law Librarian Jenny Silbiger at this year's Pro Bono Celebration.

Congratulations to Ms. Christine Daleiden for being recognized by the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii for her commitment to the delivery of legal services at the Pro Bono Celebration held at the Hawaii Supreme Court Courtroom.

Christine chairs the Hawaii State Bar Association's Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services to the Public (DLSP), is a member of the Justice for All (JFA) committee, and volunteers at the Honolulu District Court Access to Justice Room (AJR). Under her leadership, the DLSP has expanded its initiatives to improve access to justice while continuing its strong support of court self-help centers statewide. Christine recruited volunteer attorneys from the banking sector to help staff the Honolulu AJR and provided additional computer equipment when needed. As a member of the JFA committee, Christine helped oversee the implementation of the state's Justice For All projects that included the Community Navigator statewide training program and the launch of Hawaii's Legal Inter-Agency Roundtable. Finally, Christine has been instrumental in assisting Legal Aid with content development for the Legal Navigator Portal Project, an innovative online legal services portal that will increase access to justice by directing people with legal needs to the most appropriate forms of assistance. The project is in collaboration with the Microsoft Corporation, the Legal Services Corporation, Pro Bono Net, the Hawaii State Judiciary, the National Center for State Courts, and the Pew Charitable Trusts and is being piloted by the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii and Alaska Court System.

Christine is the Senior Vice President, Director of Enterprise Fraud at American Savings Bank. She is also a Lecturer in Law at the University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law and serves on the Board of Editors for the Hawaii Bar Journal.

AmeriCorps Advocates and Pro Bono Attorneys working together
AmeriCorps Advocate for the Honolulu District Court Access to Justice Room Sharlene 
Insong presents volunteer attorney Walter Hebblethwaite a certificate of Outstanding Pro Bono Service from the Hawaii State Access to Justice Commission. Since the Access to Justice Room opened, 6,183 visitors have received help from a volunteer attorney. Over 450 attorneys have volunteered and provided over 3,600 of pro bono hours.

Christy Peace serves as an AmeriCorps Advocate for the Hilo Court Self-Help Center. 
She works together with volunteer attorneys like Bill Heflin and Amy Self to provide legal help for unrepresented people in  East Hawaii. 

Hawaii State Law Librarian and Access to Justice Coordinator Jenny Silbiger together with  volunteer attorney Stephen Frye and Kona Legal Aid AmeriCorps Advocate Mike Rogers volunteer together at the Judge Ronald Ibarra Kona Court Self-Help Center.

Fair Housing for all

I now live at the place I wanted
"I was denied an apartment I wanted because of my background check. All my professional experts couldn't tell me why or how that was determined. 

When I met Caitlin at Legal Aid, she asked questions and found the answers. She devised a plan of action and we worked together and prevailed at my hearing. 

Because of Legal Aid's help, I now live at the place I wanted. Don't just wonder about things, ask someone that can find the truth."

My stress level has improved because I have stable income
"I received notice that I had to apply for SSA benefits or I would be cut off from financial. It scared me because I didn't know what to do or how I would survive. I didn't know where to turn. I came to Waimanalo Health and they told me about Legal Aid and that they could help. I was so relieved. I had the paperwork before for social security but it freaked me out and made my health worse. 

Legal Aid helped me apply for social security and walked me through the whole process. It was so helpful to have someone explain the process and support me through it. My advocate did everything for me. 

Due to Legal Aid's help, I was able to get my social security benefits. My stress level has improved because I have stable income and I know where to go if I have legal questions.  

Legal Aid, especially the staff, is wonderful and there is help out there. There's a lot of services available to help with income, family, housing, and debt. I love Janet and I'm grateful for all of her help."
Congratulations to Legal Aid Executive Director Nalani Fujimori Kaina and Pro Bono honoree Christine Daleiden on receiving the HSBA President's Award

Message from HSBA President 
Derek R. Kobayashi:
Full message at  www.HSBA.org 

One of the plum tasks of the HSBA President is selecting the recipient(s) of the HSBA President's Award, "presented for extraordinary contributions and lifetime achievement that best exemplify the mission statement of the Hawaii State Bar Association: to unite and inspire Hawaii's lawyers to promote justice, serve the public, and improve the legal profession." I am pleased to announce the honorees receiving the President's Award this year are Michelle Acosta, Christine DaleidenNalani Kaina and Erin Kobayashi and to provide a brief background of their outstanding service.

Christine Daleiden is Senior Vice President, Director of Enterprise Fraud at American Savings Bank. She serves as Co-Chair of the HSBA Delivery of Legal Services to the Public Committee ("DLSP") and, like co-honorees Michelle Acosta and Nalani Kaina, is a regular leader of our Hawaii contingent to the annual Equal Justice Conference ("EJC"). Christine is a unifying force; always ideating means to combine resources of the business community with the service of like-minded HSBA members towards the provision of legal services to the public via the DLSP. She inspired the marked increase in participation by HSBA members in the EJC and is relentless in her commitment to serve the public and implement improvements to our legal profession.

Nalani Kaina made her legal career the exemplification of the HSBA mission statement. She is Executive Director of Legal Society of Hawai'i and enumerating the developments for which she is responsible in the realm of promotion of justice, service to the public, and improvements of the legal profession would require writing her biography. Nalani was a driving force of the Access to Justice Hui and principal author of the hui's report in November 2007, "Achieving Access to Justice for Hawai'i's People," which called for the creation of the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission. Highly regarded nationally for her work, in 2018 Nalani was selected to serve as Co Chair for the EJC. Recently, Nalani was integral to the development of the Hawaii Legal Services Portal, an online triage tool that provides legal information and referrals in a simple-to-use and efficient way.

Nalani received the award during the HSBA Bar Convention on October 11 and served as a panelist on the topic of "supporting diversity, including gender diversity, in bar leadership" together with other awardees Michelle Acosta, Christine Daleiden, and Erin Kobayashi.

Kauai Elder Law Fair

Legal Aid alumni and attorney Nancy Budd speaks to a full house about estate planning at Legal Aid's 6th annual Elder Law Fair.

On September 13, the Kaua'i office hosted its 6th annual Elder Law Fair at Kaua'i's War Memorial Convention Hall, in coordination with the County's Agency for Elderly Affairs (AEA). Kauai Legal Aid Seniors Paralegal Lona Hertz, Kauai Self Help Center AmeriCorps, Shelene Aker, and the rest of the staff did an outstanding job organizing the event and received universally great evaluations from those in attendance. -Jay Mason, Kauai Legal Aid managing attorney

Photo credit: Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island    Patrons break away from speaker presentations to see what vendors have available Friday at the Elder Law Day presented by the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii and the county's Agency of Elderly Affairs at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall. Full article available at the Garden Island

Kupuna Legal Aid Services launches
Kupuna Legal Aid Services staff attorneys Joni Domingues and Caroline Conlan provide information at Kalihi Union Church about Legal Aid services.

Kupuna Legal Aid Services (KLAS) conducted its first outreach fair at Kalihi Union Church Gym on October 15. This new initiative will focus on providing legal help to seniors who are 60 years or older in areas such as simple estate planning, advanced health care directive, simple wills, durable powers of attorney, informal probates and all other areas of Legal Aid services that align with Legal Aid's statewide priorities. For seniors needing legal help, please call the Senior Legal Hotline at 808-536-0011 (Oahu) and 1-888-536-0011 (Neighbor Islands).
Legal Aid Design Thinking in action 

Legal Aid Staff and AmeriCorps members spent a few hours re-imagining Legal Aid's extensive brochure content using the process of design thinking and seeing from the client's perspective. Legal Aid will be embarking on this herculean task of revamping its legal informational brochures in the coming months using feedback from the design session. Interested in design thinking? You can learn more about it by visiting the Stanford Design School website.
Legal Aid Hilo Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) Outreach 

Hilo Legal Aid staff Dalton Newsom (MLP Fellow) and Jaycee Yamashita (Hilo staff attorney) conducted outreach at the East Hawaii Community Cares Outreach Event at UH Hilo. The event brought many health care providers who were able to learn more about Legal Aid Hilo's burgeoning MLP Project. -Scott Shishido, Hilo Legal Aid managing attorney

TRO 101 Training
Hilo Legal Aid staff conducted a training called "TRO 101" at the Hilo Lagoon Center in honor of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Jaycee and Dalton initially addressed the dynamics that clients facing domestic violence often encounter, then they turned their focus to the Family Court TRO process, demonstrating how to fill out forms and answering questions from attendees.  

Attendees included staff from the State Department of Health, CARE Hawaii, East Hawaii Independent Physicians Association, United Healthcare, Going Home Hawaii, Ohana Health, Community First, KTA Pharmacy, and a few community members as well. Multiple attendees commented how helpful, practical, and easy-to-follow the presentation was.  

Domestic violence walk and vigil speaks to community

By Laura Ruminski
West Hawaii Today
Friday, October 18, 2019
Full article available on West Hawaii Today 

Participants  (such as Kona Legal Aid attorney Dan Mistak) wave signs at passing motorists on Alii Drive at the Kona Domestic Violence Awareness Walk and Vigil Thursday evening. (Photos by Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA - It's a topic kept in the shadows - but on Thursday night, domestic violence was brought into the light.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month has grown from a single Day of Unity conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in October 1981. The day was set aside to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children, according to YWCA USA.

In 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. In 1989, Congress designated by law October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another, according to the coalition. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, and emotional abuse.

On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States, according to the coalition. In a year's time, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.

The Kona Domestic Violence Awareness Walk and Vigil began with dozens of men, women and children waving signs on Alii Drive fronting St. Michael the Archangel Church. The message was loud and clear: the cycle of violence needs to stop.

"Domestic violence is the most important issue when talking about crime," said Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth. He said statistics show kids from homes experiencing violence have a 50% greater chance of using drugs, and a 60% higher suicide rate. He also cited statistics from the Big Island Substance Abuse Council that show 99-100% of women and babies in their shelter program have domestic violence in their background.

Nationally, studies show kids from homes with violence issues have more physical and mental health issues that are costing taxpayers billions of dollars a year. "It's about breaking the cycle and educating the community that this is not OK," said Roth.

After the community sign waving, the group began its vigil with a poem written by an abuse survivor, and the release of monarch butterflies. The butterflies, along with the poem symbolized the victim trapped in a cocoon, but once free from abuse, having a metamorphosis into a butterfly, flying free.

Proclamations from Mayor Harry Kim and Governor David Ige were presented, remembering all those who have died as a result of domestic abuse and to help and support those who continue to suffer from abuse.

Susan Kim, the governor's representative said emotional, psychological and mental abuse can often be more devastating than physical abuse, so it is our job to make the invisible visible. She said each year in Hawaii about 50,000 women between the ages of 18 and 64 are victims of domestic violence. It crosses all racial and socioeconomic lines. Children who experience or are victims of abuse continue the cycle, because for them, it is normal behavior.

Each year at the vigil, the Purple Ribbon Award is given to an individual who has made an impact on those who suffer from domestic abuse. This year's recipient was First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dale Ross.

"Dale has developed a specialty for prosecuting cases involving child sexual assault and has assisted in training sexual assault nurse examiners. She is responsible for managing a continuing grant that partially funds a full time domestic violence prosecutor. She also was part of a group that obtained federal grants to support community collaboration in response to violent crime," said domestic violence shelter manager Aurora Delaries.

Delaries also commented on the support services available to the community. "When people are ready to ask for the help, it is there."

If you need help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1 (800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit www.domesticshelters.org. In the event of an emergency, call police at 911.

To learn more about domestic violence, visit https://ncadv.org/learn-more.       
In the News
Volunteer Attorneys and Student Essay Contest Winners Honored at 2019 Pro Bono Celebration

Hawaii State Judiciary
Posted on Oct. 30, 2019 
For the full article, visit the Judiciary's website
The Hawaii Access to Justice Commission recognized the volunteer contributions of law firms and individual attorneys at the annual Pro Bono Celebration on October 24. Front left: Hawaii Access to Justice Commission Chair Justice Simeon Acoba (ret.), Legal Aid Society of Hawaii awardee Christine Daleiden, Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii awardee Gary Singh, The Mediation Center of the Pacific, Inc. awardee Denise George, attorney Wyatt Honse for American Civil Liberties Union awardee Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, LLP, University of Hawaii Elder Law Program awardee Barbara Ritchie, Hawaii Disability Rights Center awardee Meredith Miller, and Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald.  (Photo courtesy of Hawaii State Judiciary)

October 25, 2019

HONOLULU, HI - Attorneys who volunteered their time to assist people going to court without a lawyer; non-profit legal services providers; and indigent parties in Hawaii's Appellate Pro Bono Program, were honored at the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission's 2019 Pro Bono Celebration on October 24.  
More than 130 people gathered in the Hawaii Supreme Court courtroom for the annual ceremony, along with Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Hawaii Access to Justice Commission Chair Justice Simeon Acoba (ret.), Commissioner Judge Ronald Ibarra (ret.), Justice Michael Wilson, state Rep. Della Au Belatti, and Hawaii State Bar Association President and Commission Vice-Chair Derek Kobayashi.

Awards were presented to law firms and attorneys who donated services to Oahu's legal services providers. The 2019 awardees and the organizations they supported are: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP (American Civil Liberties Union); Meredith Miller (Disabilities Rights Center); Christine Daleiden (Legal Aid Society of Hawaii); Denise C. George (The Mediation Center of the Pacific, Inc.); Barbara Ritchie (University of Hawaii Elder Law Program) and Gary Singh (Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii).  

Volunteer attorneys who staffed the Access to Justice Rooms at the Honolulu District Court and the Ronald T.Y. Moon Judiciary Complex in Kapolei were also honored for their community service. Since 2012, attorneys have provided more than 8,000 consultations, at no charge, to people seeking legal assistance. This year's honorees are:   

Honolulu District Court  
Individual Attorneys:  
Sergio Alcubilla, Cassie Bagay, William Bagasol, Justin Brackett, Stacey Djou, Joni Dominuges, Arlette Harada, Walter Hebblethwaite, Nathaniel Higa, Miriah Holden, Daniel Kim, Jae Park, Shannon Wack, Bryant Zane, Eileen Zorc.

Law Firms / Offices / Groups:  
Ashford & Wriston, LLP, Bronster Fujichaku Robbins, Cades Schutte, Carlsmith Ball, Case Lombardi & Pettit, Chun Kerr, Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert, Dentons US LLP, Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel, Hawaii Association for Justice, Hawaii Filipino Lawyers Association, Marr Jones Wang, Schlack Ito, Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher,
Yamamoto Caliboso.

Kapolei Family Court  
Kevin Adaniya, Leslie Ching Allen, Dick Diehl, Mari Kishimoto Doi, Greg Frey, Noah Gibson, Seth Harris, Elizabeth Paek-Harris, Jill Hasegawa, Steve Hioki, Erin Kobayashi, Lynnae Lee, Elsa McGehee, Dyan Mitsuyama, Juan Montalbano, Mei Nakamoto, Gemma Poland-Soon, Ellen Politano, Tom Tanimoto, Jackie Thurston, Carol Tribbey, Cheryl Yamaki.

Hawaii's Appellate Pro Bono Program Volunteers
Daniel M. Gluck and David M. Raatz, Jr.

"Our judicial system exists to provide equal justice for all," said Justice Simeon Acoba (ret.), who serves as the Chair of the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission. "Hawaii continues to rank high in the nation for our efforts to increase access to the courts, and we continue to pursue improvements in this area. The annual Pro Bono Celebration is a recognition of Hawaii's ongoing efforts to attain justice for all in our state. We honor the commitment to this ideal by recognizing lawyers who voluntarily donate their legal services to those in need."

The Pro Bono Celebration, held annually during  National Pro Bono Week, was sponsored by the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission with the support of the Hawaii Justice Foundation, the Hawaii State Bar Association, and the Hawaii State Bar Foundation.

The Hawaii Access to Justice Commission was created in May 2008. The Commission's primary purpose is to substantially increase access to justice in civil legal matters for low- and moderate-income residents of Hawaii.

The Hawaii  is an independent, tax-exempt grantmaking organization whose sole purpose is to achieve justice for Hawaii's people.  The Foundation was established in 1969 as a vehicle for philanthropic law-related projects in the State of Hawaii.

The Hawaii State Bar Association is the unified bar association for all persons admitted to the practice of law in Hawaii, and serves to unite and inspire Hawaii lawyers to promote justice, serve the public, and improve the legal profession.
The Hawaii State Bar Foundation is a nonprofit organization established to promote justice through programs such as Access to Justice for persons in need of legal services, civics education, and other public service programs and projects, including programs and projects of the Hawaii State Bar Association.

J ustice Department Sues Owners and Managers of Rental Properties in Honolulu, Hawaii for Discriminating Against Families with Children
Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Monday, September 30, 2019

The Department of Justice today announced that it has filed a lawsuit alleging that the owners and managers of residential rental housing in Honolulu, Hawaii, refused to rent to families with children, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, alleges that the defendants-Hawaii Student Suites Inc., Hawaii Student Residences LLC or Hawaii Student Suites, Savio Hauoli Street LLC, and 258-60 Beach Walk LLC-engaged in unlawful familial status discrimination in connection with three properties in Honolulu: Beachwalk, Kalo Terrace, and Pacific Villa. Specifically, the complaint alleges that since at least 2015, the Defendants have discriminated against families with children by: (1) refusing to rent or to negotiate for the rental of the three properties on the basis of familial status; (2) steering prospective renters with children who inquired about housing away from the properties to a separate property management company; and (3) making discouraging and other discriminatory statements to potential renters with children who inquired about housing, including that the housing was not "suitable" or the right "fit" for families with children.

"Owners and managers of rental housing must ensure their housing is open to families with children," said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. "The Fair Housing Act requires it, and the Justice Department will continue both to enforce the Act vigorously and to seek relief for families victimized by unlawful discrimination."

"Discrimination against families with children is completely contrary to the values of our community in Hawaii and is especially damaging where, as here, housing can be difficult to obtain," said U.S. Attorney Kenji M. Price of the district of Hawaii. "We will pursue violations of federal anti-discrimination laws to provide the fairest opportunities for families with children to find affordable housing."

The  Legal Aid Society of Hawaii brought this matter to the Department's attention after conducting testing which, as the complaint alleges, showed discrimination against families with children in connection with the defendants' properties. Today's lawsuit seeks monetary damages to compensate the victims, a civil penalty to vindicate the public interest, and a court order barring future discrimination and harassment. The complaint contains allegations of unlawful conduct; the allegations must be proven in federal court.

The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at http://www.justice.gov/crt. Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of familial status discrimination or other types of housing discrimination at rental dwellings owned or managed by the Defendants, or who have other information that may be relevant to this case, can contact the Housing Discrimination Tip Line, at 1-800-896-7743, and select mailbox 998 to leave a message.