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Legal Analysis by John Charlton

(Sept. 26, 2009) — It’s an oft repeated charge, that neither the Director of Hawaii’s Department of Health, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, nor its Communications officer, Janice Okubo, can release information regarding the vital records of Barack Hussein Obama, nor the records themselves, without risking prosecution on account of breaking the law.

Some claims are so strong, that to the common observer they do not appear to be blatant lies.  But in this case, such is the case.

Hawaiian Law actually gives Both Fukino and Okubo a loophole to release the information or documents without suffering a penalty of any kind; in fact while Hawaii Revised Statute 92F-17, imposes the lightest of criminal penalties, it similarly offers a loophole for subjective understanding of the law.

[§92F-17] Criminal penalties. (a) An officer or employee of an agency who intentionally discloses or provides a copy of a government record, or any confidential information explicitly described by specific confidentiality statutes, to any person or agency with actual knowledge that disclosure is prohibited, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, unless a greater penalty is otherwise provided for by law.

Hence so long as both can reasonably prove that they do not know the disclosure violates the law, they can escape all penalties in a civil prosecution, if they make such a release.

This is expressly affirmed by the previous section:

[§92F-16] Immunity from liability. Anyone participating in good faith in the disclosure or nondisclosure of a government record shall be immune from any liability, civil or criminal, that might otherwise be incurred, imposed or result from such acts or omissions. [L 1988, c 262, pt of §1]

And the same section specifies grounds for such a release, which they could easily employ as their motive:

§92F-12 Disclosure required. (a) Any other provision in this chapter to the contrary notwithstanding, each agency shall make available for public inspection and duplication during regular business hours:

(15) Information collected and maintained for the purpose of making information available to the general public; and

Nor does the following section give reasons to refrain from such release:

92F-13 Government records; exceptions to general rule. This part shall not require disclosure of:

(1) Government records which, if disclosed, would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;

Since no one can reasonably believe that documents, redacted as to show the parentage and place of birth of Barack Hussein Obama would invade his privacy:  since he has affirmed these facts in public countless times, and these same facts have been refered to in the public statement made by Dr. Fukino in July of this year.

Indeed, Hawaiian law even gives examples of what does not violate privacy interests:

§92F-14 Significant privacy interest; examples.

(a) Disclosure of a government record shall not constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy if the public interest in disclosure outweighs the privacy interests of the individual.

Unless Fukino and Okubo are refraining from releasing the information for the following reason, mentioned in the same section:

(b) The following are examples of information in which the individual has a significant privacy interest:

(2) Information identifiable as part of an investigation into a possible violation of criminal law, except to the extent that disclosure is necessary to prosecute the violation or to continue the investigation;

Hence, it seems only reasonable that if Dr. Fukino and Janice Okubo have a rational basis in Hawaiian Law for not releasing to the general public the information which regards Fukino’s public statements, it can only be that they understand the information would lead to the prosecution of Barack Obama for some sort of crime. On the other hand, if they have no rational basis in the law, what could be the motive other than some sort of political agreement with Obama to conceal information pertaining to his birth story?

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  1. In response to Yo and the responses thereto, I think the explanation is a lot simpler. Fukino and Okubo have probably had pressure brought upon them, possibly from Gov. Lingle, or maybe the Obama camp itself. If they release anything, they lose their jobs (or worse) and life becomes very difficult.

    This would be in keeping with the goon tactics of ACORN and SEIU toward legitimate, First Amendment-protected peacable assemblies and petitions for redress of grievances (otherwise categorized as Tea Parties and Town Hall meetings).

    Mr. Charlton points out that they are not attorneys and may not understand their obligations, but they’ve already admitted that HI AG Mark Bennett reviewed Fukino’s original press statement, so “ignorance of the law” truly is no excuse in this case. I think they’re being pressured.

  2. This part:
    “(2) Information identifiable as part of an investigation into a possible violation of criminal law”

    Isn’t that talking about police investigations? Are you sure that can be construed to include Joe Q Citizen trying to prove the person did something wrong. That wouldn’t make sense to me. That would leave the dept of health to try to get to the intent or motive of every person that requests records from their dept. I can’t believe that’s what it’s talking about.
    Mr. Charlton replies: I agree with your reading of the statue; but the import of this article is to speculate about the motives of Fukino and Okubo, which seem inexplicable on the face of it, since they are subject to no penalty for such a release; not to mention it would save them responding to dozens of inquires about the subject every day. Why they prefer to do that, rather than make a lawful release of information, is what is curious. What they think about this subsection, is anyone’s guess. They are not lawyers, so perhaps they misunderstand their obligations in law.