High court upholds license revocation
What ever happened to the case of suspected drunken driver Darcy Freitas, who challenged the way the state handled license revocation hearings?
Answer: In 2004, Darcy Freitas challenged his 90-day license revocation in connection with his drunken-driving charge.
The state had imposed a requirement in May 2001 that people who wanted to attend those hearings had to show a photo identification and sign a log. The rationale was that people entering the hearing rooms and the inner areas of the Administrative Driver's License Revocation Office on South King Street would be less likely to disrupt the proceedings and less likely to engage in other inappropriate behavior.
Freitas' lawyer Earle Partington contended the requirement was adopted without any evidence showing it would be effective. He also argued it was adopted without regard to the privacy rights of individuals or for the accused person's right to an open hearing.
He said not even the Hawaii Supreme Court required identification or a sign-in for those who attend high court hearings.
In 2005 the Hawaii Supreme Court upheld the license revocation office requirements by a 4-1 vote and upheld Freitas' license revocation. The court held that Freitas was not deprived of a public hearing. It also said the requirement served "an important government interest in securing (the hearings)."
Associate Justice Simeon Acoba dissented. He said the requirement was an "unconstitutional limitation" on Freitas' right to a public hearing.
On Thursday the high court affirmed 4-1 the driver's license revocation for Sasha Leon-Guerrero, another of Partington's clients, who raised similar issues challenging the identification requirements. Acoba again dissented and said the hearings should be open to the public without the identification requirement.
"This is a big blow to freedom of access," Partington said about the high court rulings.
This update was written by Star-Bulletin reporter Ken Kobayashi.
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