04-14Posted on Aug 27, 2004 in Formal Opinions
Opinion Letter No. 04-14
August 27, 2004
Briefing on Contested Cases and Executive Session to Protect Privacy
Even under a narrow reading of the term “adjudicatory functions,” a staff briefing for a board regarding pending contested cases before that board is an adjudicatory function exercised by that board and thus not subject to the Sunshine Law.
A board may not hold an executive meeting to receive information about an alleged violator’s personal problems in confidence. When a board is charged with taking action regarding violations of state law, if an alleged violator wishes to offer information about personal problems as a defense or mitigating factor for the alleged violation, then the public has a strong interest in knowing the information that was presented to the board. It is OIP’s opinion that the privacy provision of the Hawaii Constitution does not require a board to keep such information confidential.