University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Remmers v. Yoshina VR-HI-0003
Docket / Court 1:02-cv-00451 ( D. Haw. )
State/Territory Hawaii
Case Type(s) Election/Voting Rights
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On July 22, 2002, a former pretrial detainee at Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC) who was denied his constitutional right to vote in the November 2000 election filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. The Clearinghouse was unable to access documents from the ... read more >
On July 22, 2002, a former pretrial detainee at Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC) who was denied his constitutional right to vote in the November 2000 election filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. The Clearinghouse was unable to access documents from the court, but was able to gather the following information based on an August 15, 2005 notice published in Prison Legal News and a 2004 ACLU of Hawaii Litigation report.

The plaintiff sued the state chief elections officer, the director of the Department of Public Safety, and other Public Safety employees under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for disenfranchisement. The plaintiff, represented by the ACLU, sought monetary damages and injunctive relief. The plaintiff claimed that despite himself and other detainees following OCCC instructions to sign up to have a ballot provided to them on Election Day and being registered voters, ballots were never provided and individuals who expressed concern regarding when they would be allowed to vote were either ignored or rebuffed by guards.

The case was assigned to Judge David A. Ezra. Despite having been released already, plaintiff sought injunctive relief to require OCCC to implement a plan to prevent future disenfranchisement, claiming that the issue was not moot because it was “capable of repetition, yet evading review.” Finding that the likelihood of recurrence as to the plaintiff was too remote because it would require him to commit a new crime, the court dismissed the claim for injunctive relief as moot. That said, the court certified the complaint as a class action because there were 44 similarly situated potential claimants.

On October 28, 2002, the court distinguished OCCC employees from election officials. Specifically, because OCCC reasonably did its part by providing a sign-up sheet to detainees, the court found that it was the failure of election officials to monitor OCCC and provide the absentee ballots that actually injured the class. Accordingly, the court dismissed the OCCC defendants and permitted damage claims to proceed against the election officials.

On November 4, 2004, the parties settled for $15,000 in damages. After $10,000 was deducted for attorneys, an award of $833 was approved for each of the six prisoners who submitted valid claims. The case was dismissed on December 13, 2004.

Claire Shimberg - 05/06/2020


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
General
Voting
Voting access
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Voting
Election administration
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Chief Elections Officer
Director of Department of Public Safety
Employees of the Department of Public Safety
Plaintiff Description Former pretrial detainees at Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC) who were denied their constitutional right to vote in the November 2000 election.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filed 07/22/2002
Case Closing Year 2004
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
1:02-cv-451 (D. Haw.)
VR-HI-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/13/2004
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint
VR-HI-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Date:
show all people docs
Judges Ezra, David Alan (D. Haw.) show/hide docs
VR-HI-0003-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Edmunds, John S. (Hawaii) show/hide docs
VR-HI-0003-9000
Verga, Ronald J. (Hawaii) show/hide docs
VR-HI-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Balanay, Denise (Hawaii) show/hide docs
VR-HI-0003-9000
Inouye, Cindy S. (Hawaii) show/hide docs
VR-HI-0003-9000
Kuioka, Laura A. (Hawaii) show/hide docs
VR-HI-0003-9000
Schulaner, Aaron H. (Hawaii) show/hide docs
VR-HI-0003-9000
Suzuki, Russell A. (Hawaii) show/hide docs
VR-HI-0003-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -