Hawaii would remain under martial law until , by which time the tide of the Pacific War had clearly turned in favor of the United States. Supreme Court rule that the declaration of martial law had been unconstitutional. In , after a Referendum was held, the U. Congress admitted Hawaii into the union as a state. Upon becoming a state, the entire U. Constitution took effect in Hawaii. Since , Hawaii has also come under the entire range of federal statutes, regulations, and relevant case law. Hawaii has both state  and federal  courts. There are no municipal or county courts in Hawaii at the present time.
In fact, the judicial picture in Hawaii is relatively straightforward and thus considerably less complicated than that which is found in certain other states like New York or California. In Hawaii, as elsewhere in the United States, the average person is more likely to come in contact with the state court system than the federal court system. Most crimes as well as most civil disputes come within the purview of state courts. Within the Hawaii state court system, there are four judicial circuits. The Third Circuit covers the Big Island.
There is currently no Fourth Circuit.
The Fifth Circuit covers Kauai and Niihau. Each judicial circuit is composed of a circuit court,  a district court,  and a family court. Yet, jury trials are only found in the circuit courts. With the exception of the Fifth Circuit, the circuits use geographical divisions for district court cases.
The court of original jurisdiction in each circuit is the circuit court. However, probate cases, regardless of size, are heard by the circuit court. There is also a land court. As for criminal cases, felony  cases are mostly heard by the circuit courts while misdemeanor cases are mostly heard by the district courts. For example, traffic matters  and landlord-tenant disputes  along with shoplifting cases  are all standard district court fare.
The family court is a unified court that hears cases involving divorce, child custody, paternity, adoption, guardianship, or certain criminal matters.
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Due to the sensitive nature of many of the proceedings, the courtrooms used by the family court tend to be small and effectively closed to the general public. With a few exceptions, a case heard at the trial level by a circuit, district, or family court can be appealed. Hawaii has two appellate courts viz. All state judges and justices in Hawaii are appointed rather than elected. Appointments are made by the Governor and then confirmed by the state Senate. There are no geographical subdivisions.
Hawaii has a somewhat unusual system for handling appeals. All appeals of right are initially filed with the Clerk of the Supreme Court of Hawaii.http://trailblazer.outdoorsy.co/39.php
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Typically, appeals that are considered to be of a routine nature are assigned to the ICA whereas the Supreme Court retains cases that have broader implications. In recent years, oral arguments have only rarely been employed by either appellate court. A backlog of appeals is presumably to blame for this unfortunate state of affairs. The entire State of Hawaii along with certain islands that are not officially part of the State of Hawaii come under the original, federal jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii.
Unlike some larger states, Hawaii has only one U. In addition to the U. The Ninth Circuit is based in San Francisco. Supreme Court are binding on all other courts in the United States. Virtually all cases that come to the U.
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Supreme Court do so by means of a writ of certiorari. Although a few cases from Hawaii have made it all the way up to the Supreme Court, it is certainly a rare event. In some years, the Court does not grant certiorari in a single Hawaii case. At times, the U. Supreme Court feels geographically, politically, and even culturally remote from Hawaii. One could view the nine justices in Washington, D.
Yet, by deciding or, for that matter, not deciding heated constitutional issues, the highest court in the federal system can and does have an impact on the daily lives of people throughout the United States. This reality was made abundantly clear in the Florida election cases wherein the U. Supreme Court effectively decided the Presidential election. Lawyers in Hawaii typically have attended either the William S. Richardson  School of Law, which is located on the campus of the University of Hawaii at Manoa,  or else a law school located in another state.
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In other words, the vast majority lawyers in Hawaii are products of the American system of legal education. States typically require that a person hold a J.
The J. Hence, lawyers in Hawaii, like their counterparts in the continental United States, typically have had at least seven years of post-secondary education. To become a member of the Hawaii Bar, one must, among other things, sit for the Hawaii state bar examination, which is given twice a year in Honolulu.
An applicant must hold a J. Unlike the situation still found in many countries, there is no requirement that an applicant to a U.
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After passing the bar exam and the required background check, candidates are sworn in as members of the bar. Local Legal Culture Overall, the practice of law in Hawaii is quite close to what one would find in many parts of the continental United States.
Indeed, a significant portion of the bar was originally born outside of the islands. Many Hawaii lawyers belong to national legal organizations such as the A. Accordingly, there is a steady stream of outside influence. Nevertheless, a careful observer can detect elements of a local legal culture or perhaps a local legal style. There are a number of factors that have helped to form this unique island legal culture. By contrast, a local Honolulu firm with, say, a dozen lawyers would still be considered to be a sizeable entity.
Firms on the Neighbor Islands tend to be even smaller. The relatively small average size of law firms in Hawaii enables many associates to gain greater responsibility at an earlier stage in their careers. While the Hawaii bar is no longer the tiny elite group that it was in the days of the Territory, let alone during the Monarchy, many lawyers in Hawaii today do know each other. A lawyer walking through Downtown Honolulu, where most law firms, courts, and government agencies are located, is likely to run into colleagues from other offices.
Likewise, Neighbor Island lawyers frequently interact with colleagues based on the same island. Naturally, there are limits to how informal things are allowed to be.
For example, even though male lawyers in Hawaii often wear aloha shirts in the office, court appearances are still made in coats and ties. As is the normal custom in the United States, judges and justices, regardless of gender, wear black robes, but do not wear wigs. Hawaii has long been a multi-ethic society. Over the years the Hawaii Bar has evolved from being a largely male, white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant institution into a body that better reflects the diversity of cultures, races, religions, genders, life styles, and physical disabilities found in the islands. In particular, there are now a considerable number of lawyers from various Asian and Pacific Island ethnic groups although certain groups are still underrepresented in the profession.
Federal law often serves as a model in procedural matters. Where there is a lack of Hawaii case law concerning a certain procedural issue, Hawaii courts will often look to federal decisions interpreting similar court rules. Today Hawaii is an Anglo-American common law jurisdiction that is similar in many respects to other U.
As in other states, standardized state legislation, as proposed by groups of legal scholars,  has often been adopted with only minor changes during the legislative process. As a result, commercial law in Hawaii is close to that found in most other states. In other areas, the situation is somewhat more complicated.
For example, Hawaii has exercised more control over its criminal law.