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December 11, 2023                                      

For Information:
Kim Moa, 808.203.9945

Hawaiʻi Supreme Court Oral Argument Scheduled for Lawsuit Challenging Maui Houseless Sweeps  

HONOLULU, HIThe Hawaiʻi Supreme Court has scheduled an oral argument on December 14, 2023, for the lawsuit against Maui County challenging a September 2021 houseless sweep at Amala Place near Kanahā Beach Park.

The lawsuit, filed in October 2021 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i (ACLU of Hawaiʻi) on behalf of several houseless plaintiffs, alleges the county violated the due process rights of houseless residents at Puʻuhonua o Kanahā in failing to provide adequate notice and ignoring Plaintiffs’ written requests for a contested case. While the Second Circuit Court concluded that a contested case hearing was constitutionally required before the sweep, the County continues to assert that unhoused people’s property is not protected by due process.

“Maui County believes that our houseless clients forfeited their constitutional rights simply because they live in public spaces. But neither the Hawaiʻi nor the U.S. constitution allows the government to disregard due process protections simply because someone is not permanently housed in a structure with four walls and a roof. The government must respect due process for everyone, at all times. Our clients are asking the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court to uphold this fundamental principle,said ACLU of Hawaiʻi Legal Director Wookie Kim.

“This case is a rare opportunity to hold the County accountable and shift the landscape for unhoused people across Hawaiʻi,” said Lisa Darcy a houseless community advocate with Share Your Mana. “Officials in Maui and elsewhere refer to these enforcement actions as 'compassionate disruption, relocation, or clean-ups' insisting they are necessary for public safety and cleanliness. This does not capture the emotional, financial, and physical harm inflicted by sweeps.  It does not reveal the cost to one's health and safety to have to replace items necessary for basic survival, or the massive burden and time it takes to replace IDs and important documents. It sanitizes state-organized violence against people who, due to economic deprivation and untreated disabilities, are forced to live on the street or in their cars. For houseless communities, sweeps bring trauma, destabilization, and displacement,” said Darcy.

“Even after all this time, it’s painful to think about everything we lost and all that we went through during that sweep. I just don’t want others to have to go through what we did, said Sonia Davis, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, when asked about what she experienced during the September 2021 sweep at Amala Place.

The case will be heard on Thursday, December 14th 2023, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. at Aliʻiōlani Hale (417 South King Street, Honolulu, HI 96813). The oral argument will be streamed live on the Hawai‘i State Judiciary’s YouTube page:

Media Assets:

Plaintiff video interview:

Relevant case documents:

Previous media releases:


The mission of the Hawai‘i affiliate of the ACLU is to protect the civil liberties contained in the state and federal constitutions through litigation, legislative, and public education programs. The ACLU is funded primarily through private donations and offers its services at no cost to the public. The ACLU does not accept any government.