Maui’s Court System Explained

Legal Resources & Maui’s Court System Explained

The Maui Court system, also known as the Second Judicial Circuit, consists of the Wailuku Courthouse and the “outer” districts. The Wailuku Courthouse, located at Hoapili Hale, 2145 Main Street, Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii 96793, is the hub of the Judiciary for the County and consists of three types of courtrooms: District Court, Family Court and Circuit Court. Each will be addressed in turn.

District Court is located on the third floor to the left of the elevators and occupies courtrooms 3C and 3D. Both courtrooms hear a combination of civil and criminal matters. The civil calendar is generally held on Monday and the criminal calendar is Tuesday through Friday.

District Courts are vested with jurisdiction over the following:

• Traffic tickets and moving/non-moving violation
• Criminal offenses subjecting the accused to no more than one year in jail
• Probable Cause hearings for felony charges (criminal cases with more than one year jail)
• Civil claims/actions in which the debt, amount, damages, or value of the property claimed does not exceed $40,000 (but no jurisdiction over actions for libel, slander, defamation of character, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, breach of promise of marriage, or seduction).
• Landlord Tenant Summary possession actions and related monetary damages and counterclaims, regardless of the amount claimed in addition to ejectment actions where the title to the property is not in dispute. Civil cases for specific performance when the fair market value of the performance does not exceed $20,000.
• Small claims court (matters of under $5,000 in dispute)
• Temporary Restraining Orders (not involving family or household members
• Appeals from administrative denials of motor vehicle registration.

Family Court is divided between the third and fourth floors. The third floor, courtrooms 3A and 3B, hear traditional family court matters including: divorces, child custody disputes, Temporary Restraining Orders involving family or household members, termination of parental rights, and juvenile court. The fourth floor Family Court, where the Honorable Richard T. Bissen presides, is the court that hears domestic violence and violation of Protective Order criminal cases. However, this courtroom also hears Circuit Court felony cases as well.

Circuit Court is housed exclusively on the fourth floor and includes four courtrooms. Courtrooms one, two and three have mixed calendars including civil disputes and felony criminal cases (any charge that has a potential for more than one year of jail). Courtroom four has mixed Family Court and Circuit Court criminal cases. Circuit Courts are courts of general jurisdiction meaning they address all matters that do not apply to District Court or Family Court. This includes: probate, guardianship, felony criminal matters, all civil matters over $40,000 in controversy, any action involving title to real property, and all jury trials for matters in District Court.

The Second Judicial Circuit also includes the outer districts. These are Lahaina District Court, Hana District Court, Molokai Family and District Court, and Lanai Family and District Court. Other than Lahaina District Court, these courts are not fully staffed and only convene on certain days of the week and/or month.

Pictured: Historic Hana District Courthouse and staff circa 2013

If you are interested in looking up cases in any of the courts, you may do so using the following links.

Caselaw Search

Search Second Circuit Cases

Other Research Materials

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