Posted on Nov 1, 2005 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 05-16
November 1, 2005
Request to CVCC for records pertaining to Criminal Case

A convicted felon made a request to the Crime Victim Compensation Commission (“CVCC”) for records pertaining to the criminal case that resulted in his conviction for murder and also resulted in an award of compensation to the victim’s family. CVCC’s only responsive record was a file in its computer database summarizing the application and award of compensation. The CVCC denied access to this record and the requester appealed the denial to OIP under the Uniform Information Practices Act, chapter 92F, Hawaii Revised Statutes (“UIPA”). The OIP noted that information in a record may only be withheld if it falls under a specific exception to disclosure; if no exception applies, the information must be disclosed. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92F-11 (1993). In this case, assuming that the applicant was promised confidentiality, the applicant’s identity could be withheld under the UIPA’s exception for information whose disclosure would frustrate a legitimate public function.

Information regarding the deceased victim that was part of the public court record from the requester’s trail could not be withheld under the UIPA’s privacy exception. However, other information about the victim that was not already of public record could be withheld even though the victim was deceased.

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