Posted on Feb 7, 2003 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 03-02
February 7, 2003
Disclosure of Records of the Crime Victim Compensation Commission

[OIP Op. Ltr. No. 05-03 partially overrules this opinion to the extent that it states or implies that the UIPA’s privacy exception in section 92F-13(1), HRS, either prohibits public disclosure or mandates confidentiality.]

Two exceptions to disclosure authorize the Crime Victim Compensation Commission (“Commission”) to withhold access to information contained in its files concerning applicants for assistance from the Commission. The first involves privacy rights of applicants; the second involves the Commission’s legitimate government function of assisting crime victims.

Unless disclosure of information to which privacy rights attach would shed light on how the Commission is aiding victims of criminal acts, the Commission can withhold access based on the exception permitting non-disclosure of information contained in governments records which, if disclosed, would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

Given that some of the Commission’s programs include information about individuals involved in witness protection programs, and given that the Commission is only authorized to award compensation because of certain violent crimes, the OIP held that disclosure could cause frustration of the Commission’s legitimate government function, and that withholding of access was therefore authorized.

As to personal records, section 92F-22(2), Hawaii Revised Statutes, for withholding access to records such as victim statements, and section 92F-22(4), Hawaii Revised Statutes, allows withholding of access to records such as police reports, to the extent that those records would not be disclosed by the originating agency.

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