Posted on Apr 5, 1999 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 99-02
April 5, 1999
Disclosure of Police Reports

[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.]

Police reports for a closed criminal investigation, which resulted in a deferred acceptance of nolo contendere plea, must be made available for public inspection and copying.

A local newspaper had requested disclosure of the police reports, after deletion of the information identifying the victim and witnesses. After reviewing the Kauai Police Department’s objections to disclosure, the OIP determined that the State law governing the deferred acceptance of nolo contendere plea, section 853-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, the State expungement statute, section 831-3.2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, and chapter 853, Hawaii Revised Statutes, regarding criminal history record information, did not constitute State laws which protected the police reports from disclosure under section 92F-13(4), Hawaii Revised Statutes. In addition, since the police reports did not involve a Family Court proceeding, section 571-84, Hawaii Revised Statutes, which makes records of Family Court proceedings confidential, did not apply.

Because the defendant had already been prosecuted, was summoned and appeared in open court, and was identified by public court records, the OIP determined that he had little or no privacy interest in disclosure of his identity, and information regarding his identity was not protected from disclosure. However, the OIP found that the defendant’s social security number, home address and telephone number should be redacted prior to disclosure of the police reports.

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