HAWAII REVISED STATUTES TITLE 32
COURTS AND COURT OFFICERS
(Updated November 1, 1997)
604-1 JUDICIAL CIRCUITS; DISTRICT JUDGES; SESSIONS
604-2 APPOINTMENT AND TENURE OF DISTRICT JUDGES; PER DIEM DISTRICT JUDGES
604-2.5 SALARY OF DISTRICT JUDGES
604-3 DISQUALIFICATION, ABSENCE, VACANCY
604-5 CIVIL JURISDICTION
604-6 EJECTMENT PROCEEDINGS
604-6.1 JURISDICTION OF DISTRICT COURTS; LEASED OR RENTED PERSONAL PROPERTY
604-6.2 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE
604-7 POWERS; VENUE
604-7.3 CHANGE OF VENUE
604-7.4 CURE OR WAIVER OF DEFECTS
604-7.5 CONTINUANCE OF HEARING OR TRIAL
604-8 CRIMINAL, MISDEMEANORS, GENERALLY
604-9 SAME; POWERS
604-10.5 POWER TO ENJOIN AND TEMPORARILY RESTRAIN HARASSMENT
604-11 JURISDICTION OF DISTRICT COURTS; ORDINANCES
604-11.5 SAME; OFFENSES COMMITTED WITHIN THE CIRCUIT
604-13 ARREST UNDER WARRANT
604-15 RULES BY SUPREME COURT
604-16 EXPENSES OF SERVING INDORSED WARRANT
604-17 COURTS OF RECORD; TESTIMONY AND PROCEEDINGS
604-20 POWERS OF CLERK
HRS Section 604-1 Judicial circuits; district judges; sessions
There shall be established in each of the judicial circuits of the State a district court with the powers and under the conditions herein set forth, which shall be styled as follows:
(1) For the First Judicial Circuit: The District Court of the First Circuit.
(2) For the Second Judicial Circuit: The District Court of the Second Circuit.
(3) For the Third Judicial Circuit: The District Court of the Third Circuit.
(4) For the Fifth Judicial Circuit: The District Court of the Fifth Circuit.
There shall be appointed one or more district judges for each judicial circuit. The district court of the first circuit shall consist of fourteen judges, who shall be styled as first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth judge, respectively. One of the district judges shall hear landlord-tenant and small claims matters, provided that when in the discretion of the chief justice of the supreme court the urgency or volume of cases so requires, the chief justice may authorize the judge to substitute for or act in addition to or otherwise in place of any other district judge of the district court of the first circuit. The district court of the second circuit shall consist of three judges, who shall he styled as first, second, and third judge, respectively. The district court of the third circuit shall consist of three judges, who shall be styled as first, second, and third judge, respectively The district court of the fifth circuit shall consist of two judges who shall be styled as first and second judge, respectively. The chief justice ma designate a judge in each circuit as the administrative judge for the circuit.
The district courts shall hold sessions at such places in their respective circuits and as often as the respective district judges deem essential to the promotion of justice.
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Section 604-2 Appointment and tenure of district judges; per diem district judges
District judges shall be appointed by the chief justice of the supreme court. Each judge shall reside in the judicial circuit for which the judge is appointed and shall have been an attorney licensed to practice in all the courts of the State for at least five years. District judges shall hold office for a term of six years and until their successors are appointed and qualified; provided that any judge may be reprimanded, disciplined, suspended with or without salary, relieved or removed from office for misconduct or disability, as provided by rules adopted by the supreme court.
The chief justice shall appoint district judges to serve on per diem basis and as may be necessary to provide auxiliary judicial functions in the several districts of the State. Such per diem district judges may engage in the private practice of law during their term of service. Such judges shall receive per diem compensation for the days on which actual service is rendered based on the monthly rate of compensation paid to a district court judge. For the purpose of determining per diem compensation in this section, a month shall be deemed to consist of twenty-one days.
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HRS Section 604-2 Appointment and tenure of district judges; per diem district judges
(a) The chief justice of the supreme court, with the consent of the senate, shall appoint district judges. Each judge shall reside in the judicial circuit for which the judge is appointed and shall have been an attorney licensed to practice in all the courts of the State for at least five years. District judges shall hold office for a term of six years and until their successors are appointed and qualified; provided that any judge may be reprimanded, disciplined, suspended with or without salary, relieved, or removed from office for misconduct or disability, as provided by rules adopted by the supreme court.
(b) The chief justice shall appoint district judges to serve on a per diem basis and as may be necessary to provide auxiliary judicial functions in the several districts of the State. Per diem district judges may engage in the private practice of law during their term of service, and shall receive per diem compensation for the days on which actual service is rendered based on the monthly rate of compensation paid to a district court judge. For the purpose of determining per diem compensation in this section, a month shall be deemed to consist of twenty-one days.
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HRS Section 604-2.5 Salary of district judges
Effective January 1, 1989, the salary of each district court judge of the various district courts of the State shall be $77,699 a year. Effective January 1, 1990, the salary of each district court judge of the various district courts of the State shall be $81,780 a year.
Whenever the chief justice appoints a district court judge of any of the various district courts of the State to serve temporarily as a circuit court judge of any of the various circuit courts of the State, the judge shall receive per diem compensation for the days on which actual service is rendered based on the monthly rate of compensation paid to a circuit court judge. For the purpose of determining per diem compensation in this section, a month shall be deemed to consist of twenty-one days.
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HRS Section 604-3 Disqualification, absence, vacancy
Whenever it is advisable, by reason of a vacancy in the office of district judge of any circuit, or by reason of the disqualification of any district judge, or the district judge's inability to attend to the district judge's duties by reason of illness or temporary absence, or for any other reason, the chief justice of the supreme court may designate the district judge of any other circuit, or any district family judge of any circuit, to hear and determine any and all matters then or thereafter pending in the district court to which the district judge or district family judge is called for such purpose, and while so engaged, the district judge or district family judge shall have and exercise all of the powers of a regularly appointed judge of the circuit to which the district judge or district family judge is called.
HRS Section 604-4 Repealed
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HRS Section 604-5 Civil jurisdiction
(a) Except as otherwise provided, the district courts shall have jurisdiction in all civil actions where the debt, amount, damages, or value of the property claimed does not exceed $20,000, except in civil actions involving summary possession or ejectment, in which case the district court shall have jurisdiction over any counterclaim otherwise properly brought by any defendant in the action if the counterclaim arises out of and refers to the land or premises the possession of which is being sought, regardless of the value of the debt, amount, damages, or property claim contained in the counterclaim. Attorney's commissions or fees, including those stipulated in any note or contract sued on, interest, and costs, shall not be included in computing the jurisdictional amount. Subject to subsections (b) and (c), jurisdiction under this subsection shall be exclusive when the amount in controversy, so computed, does not exceed $10,000. The district courts shall also have original jurisdiction of suits for specific performance when the fair market value of such specific performance does not exceed $20,000 and original jurisdiction to issue injunctive relief in residential landlord-tenant cases under chapter 521.
(b) The district courts shall try and determine all actions without a jury, subject to appeal according to law. Whenever a civil matter is triable of right by a jury and trial by jury is demanded in the manner and within the time provided by the rules of court, the case shall be transferred to the circuit court. If the demand is made in the complaint and the matter is triable of right by a jury, the action may be commenced in the circuit court if the amount in controversy exceeds $5,000.
(c) The district courts shall have jurisdiction in all statutory proceedings as conferred by law upon district courts.
(d) The district courts shall not have cognizance of real actions, nor actions in which the title to real estate comes in question, nor actions for libel, slander, defamation of character, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, breach of promise of marriage, or seduction; nor shall they have power to appoint referees in any cause.
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HRS Section 604-6 Ejectment proceedings
Nothing in section 604-5 shall preclude a district court from taking jurisdiction in ejectment proceedings where the title to real estate does not come in question at the trial of the action, If the defendant is defaulted or if on the trial it is proved that the plaintiff is entitled to the possession of the premises, the court shall give judgment for the plaintiff and shall issue a writ of possession. The rules of court shall govern the stay of a writ of possession.
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HRS Section 604-6.1 Jurisdiction of district courts; leased or rented personal property
Jurisdiction is conferred upon the district courts to try all cases resulting from the retention of leased or rented personal property, the value of which does not exceed $5,000.
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HRS Section 604-6.2 Order to show cause
Upon the filing of a complaint with a copy of a lease or rental contract and an affidavit sworn to by the plaintiff or some competent affiant setting forth a statement of facts sufficient to show that the leased or rented personal property has been in the defendant's possession at least fourteen days after the termination of the lease or rental contract, either by passage of time or by reason of any default under the terms and conditions of the lease or rental contract, the court may issue an order directing the defendant to either return the leased or rented personal property to the plaintiff or to appear and show cause for the possession at such time as the court shall direct, but not later than ten days from the date of service of the order to show cause. The order to show cause shall also provide that, if the leased or rented personal property is not returned to the plaintiff prior to the hearing, the defendant shall, if reasonably feasible, produce the property at the hearing. If, at the hearing, it is proved to the satisfaction of the court that the plaintiff is entitled to possession of the leased or rented personal property, it shall issue an order directed to the sheriff, or the sheriff's deputy, commanding the sheriff or deputy to seize the personal property therein described and to deliver the same to the plaintiff or the plaintiff's agent. Service of the order to show cause shall be as provided by law or rule of court for cases in the district courts, or by registered mail or by certified mail with return receipt showing delivery within the State.
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HRS Section 604-7 Powers; venue
(a) The district courts may:
(1) Administer oaths;
(2) Subpoena and compel the attendance of witnesses from any part of the State, and compel the production of books, papers, documents, or tangible things;
(3) Enter final judgments; and alter or set aside any judgment within ten days following the date of its rendition or as provided by the rules of court;
(4) Enforce judgments; and punish contempts according to law;
(5) Issue garnishee summons which may be served and shall be operative as to the garnishee throughout the State;
(6) In a criminal case, alter, set aside, or suspend a sentence by way of mitigation or otherwise upon motion or plea of a defendant made within thirty days after imposition of the sentence.
Every witness duly subpoenaed as provided in this section shall be allowed the same attendance and mileage fees allowed witnesses subpoenaed before the circuit courts.
(b) Any document requiring the signature of a district judge, in any cause or proceeding whatsoever in a district court, may be signed without, as well as within, the boundaries of the circuit in which the court is situated.
(c) A summons or other writ issued by a district court may be served anywhere within the State. A summons or other writ issued by a district court may be served without the State in accordance with sections 634-24 and 634-25.
(d) Except as otherwise provided, civil actions shall be brought in the district court of the judicial circuit in which the defendant or a majority of the defendants reside or the claim for relief arose, unless there are parties whose presence is required for adjudication of the claim who cannot be served in that circuit, in which case the action may be brought in the district court of any circuit in which all of the parties can be served. The venue may be changed or the case transferred as provided by sections 604-7.3 and 604-7.4.
(e) The several district courts shall have power to make and award judgments, decrees, orders, and mandates, issue such executions and other processes, and do such other acts and take such other steps as may be necessary to carry into full effect the powers which are or shall be given them by law or for the promotion of justice in matters pending before them.
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HRS Section 604-7.3 Change of venue
After the parties shall have had an opportunity to be heard, any district court may, in its discretion, upon satisfactory proof that it would be more fair and equitable to the parties thereto if any civil case pending in the court were heard in another jurisdiction, change the venue to the district court of some other circuit and order the record to be transferred thereto; provided that any district court may, in its discretion, upon the consent of all the parties to any civil or criminal case pending in the court, change the venue to the district court of some other circuit and order the record to be transferred thereto.
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HRS Section 604-7.4 Cure or waiver of defects
(a) The district court of a circuit in which is commenced a civil case laying venue in the wrong circuit shall transfer the case, upon or without terms and conditions as the court deems proper, to the district court of any circuit in which it could have been brought, or if it is in the interest of justice dismiss the case.
(b) Nothing in sections 604-7 to 604-7.4 shall impair the jurisdiction of a district court of any matter involving a party who does not interpose timely and sufficient objection to the venue.
HRS Section 604-7.5 Continuance of hearing or trial
If the judge of any district court, or any other district judge authorized to preside in the circuit, fails to attend any trial or hearing at the time appointed, a clerk thereof shall continue any case or matter then before the court for trial or hearing, from time to time, until the attendance of one of the district judges, but no such continuance shall be for a longer period than seven days except as otherwise ordered by the court.
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HRS Section 604-8 Criminal, misdemeanors, generally
District courts shall have jurisdiction of, and their criminal jurisdiction is limited to, criminal offenses punishable by fine, or by imprisonment not exceeding one year whether with or without fine. They shall not have jurisdiction over any offense for which the accused cannot be held to answer unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury.
In any case cognizable by a district court as aforesaid in which the accused has the right to a trial by jury in the first instance, the district court, upon demand by the accused, for such trial by jury, shall not exercise jurisdiction over such case except violations under section 291-4, but shall examine and discharge or commit for trial the accused as provided by law, but if in any such case the accused does not demand a trial by jury on the date of arraignment or within ten days thereafter, the district court may exercise jurisdiction over the same, subject to the right of appeal as provided by law. Trial by jury for violations under section 291-4 may be heard in the district court.
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HRS Section 604-9 Same; powers
District courts shall have power, subject to appeal according to law and except as otherwise provided in cases in which the accused has the right to and demands a trial by jury in the first instance, to try without a jury, and to render judgment in all cases of criminal offenses coming within their respective jurisdictions.
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HRS Section 604-10 Repealed
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HRS Section 604-10.5 Power to enjoin and temporarily restrain harassment
(a) For the purposes of this section:
"Course of conduct" means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over any period of time evidencing a continuity of purpose.
(1) Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the threat of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; or
(2) An intentional or knowing course of conduct directed at an individual that seriously alarms or disturbs consistently or continually bothers the individual, and that serves no legitimate purpose; provided that such course of conduct would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress.
(b) The district courts shall have power to enjoin or prohibit, or temporarily restrain harassment.
(c) Any person who has been subjected to harassment may petition the district court of the district in which the petitioner resides for a temporary restraining order and an injunction from further harassment.
(d) A petition for relief from harassment shall be in writing and shall allege that a recent past act or acts of harassment may have occurred, or that threats of harassment make it probable that acts of harassment may be imminent; and shall be accompanied by an affidavit made under oath or statement made under penalty of perjury stating the specific facts and circumstances from which relief is sought.
(e) Upon petition to a district court under this section, the court may temporarily restrain for a period of fifteen days, persons named in the petition from harassing the petitioner if the alleged harassment has caused the petitioner substantial emotional distress. The court may issue an ex parte temporary restraining order either in writing or orally, provided that oral orders shall be reduced to writing by the close of the next court day following oral issuance.
(f) A hearing on the petition to enjoin harassment shall be held within fifteen days after it is filed. The parties named in the petition may file responses explaining, excusing, justifying, or denying the alleged act or acts of harassment. The court shall receive such evidence as is relevant at the hearing, and may make independent inquiry.
If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that harassment as defined in paragraph (1) of that definition exists, it may enjoin for no more than three years further harassment of the petitioner, or that harassment as defined in paragraph (2) of that definition exists, it shall enjoin for no more than three years further harassment of the petitioner; provided that this paragraph shall not prohibit the court from issuing other injunctions against the named parties even if the time to which the injunction applies exceeds a total of three years.
Any order issued under this subsection shall be served by regular mail upon the chief of police of each county.
(g) The court may grant the prevailing party in an action brought under this section, costs and fees, including attorney's fees.
(h) A knowing or intentional violation of a restraining order or injunction issued pursuant to this section is a misdemeanor. The court shall sentence a violator to appropriate counseling and shall sentence a person convicted under this section as follows:
(1) For a violation of an injunction or restraining order that occurs after a conviction for a violation of the same injunction or restraining order, a violator shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum jail sentence of not less than forty-eight hours; and
(2) For any subsequent violation that occurs after a second conviction for violation of the same injunction or restraining order, the person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum jail sentence of not less than thirty days.
The court may suspend any jail sentence, except for the mandatory sentences under paragraphs (1) and (2), upon appropriate conditions, such as that the defendant remain alcohol and drug-free, conviction-free, or complete court-ordered assessments or counseling. The court may suspend the mandatory sentences under paragraphs (1) and (2) where the violation of the injunction or restraining order does not involve violence or the threat of violence. Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the discretion of the judge to impose additional sanctions authorized in sentencing for a misdemeanor offense.
(i) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit constitutionally protected activity.
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HRS Section 604-11 Jurisdiction of district courts; ordinances
Jurisdiction is conferred upon the district courts to try all cases arising from the violation of ordinances in force in the counties and to impose the penalties in such ordinances prescribed for such offenses in like manner as their original jurisdiction is exercised under the general law.
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HRS Section 604-11.5 Same; offenses committed within the circuit
The several district courts shall have jurisdiction, except as otherwise provided, of all criminal offenses cognizable under the laws of the State, committed within their respective circuits or transferred to them for trial by change of venue from some other district court.
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HRS Section 604-12 Repealed
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HRS Section 604-13 Arrest under warrant
Whenever any warrant of arrest has been issued by any court of competent jurisdiction, and the accused is beyond the jurisdiction of the court, it shall be lawful for the officer to whom the warrant is directed, to pursue and arrest the accused in any part of the State.
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HRS Section 604-14 Repealed
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HRS Section 604-15 Rules by supreme court
The supreme court may from time to time, by general rules, prescribe forms for carrying section 604-13 into effect, and make all other needful regulations.
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HRS Section 604-16 Expenses of serving indorsed warrant
The expenses of serving such warrant shall be adjusted by the court originally issuing the warrant.
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HRS Section 604-17 Courts of record; testimony and proceedings
The district courts shall be courts of record. The district courts shall in all cases preserve in writing, on tape, or such other mechanical device as may be appropriate, the minutes, proceedings, and testimony of their trials, transactions, and judgments, and the facts upon which their decisions rest.
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HRS Section 604-18 Repealed
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HRS Section 604-19 Repealed
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HRS Section 604-20 Powers of clerk
The clerks of the district court shall have, within the scope of the jurisdiction of the district courts, all the powers of clerks of other courts of record, including the power to sign and enter judgments, subject to the direction of the court; administer oaths; sign and issue garnishee summons, writs of attachment, execution and possession, and other process; and take depositions.
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