LEGAL SERVICES DIVISIONS
- Administration Division
- Appellate Division
- Civil Recoveries Division
- Civil Rights Litigation Division
- Commerce and Economic Development Division
- Criminal Justice Division
- Education Division
- Employment Law Division
- Family Law Division
- Health and Human Services Division
- Labor Division
- Land/Transportation Division
- Legislative Division
- Public Safety, Hawaiian Home Lands, and Housing Division
- Tax & Charities Division
- Tort Litigation Division
PUBLIC SERVICES DIVISIONS
- Child Support Enforcement Agency
- Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Division
- Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center
- Office of Child Support Hearings
LEGAL SERVICES DIVISIONS
The Administration Division is principally responsible for commercial and financial-related legal issues. The division provides legal advice and litigation support to various departments and offices, including the Office of the Governor; the Office of the Lieutenant Governor; the Department of Accounting and General Services (including the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, the Stadium Authority, and the State Procurement Office); the Department of Budget and Finance (including advice regarding bond matters and advice to the Employees’ Retirement System, the Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund, and the Office of the Public Defender); the Judiciary (including the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, the Judiciary Personnel Appeals Board, and the Judicial Selection Commission; other areas of the Judiciary are advised by the Education Division); the Hawaii State Land Use Commission; and the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women.
The Appellate Division has oversight authority over all state and federal appeals in the department. The division also serves as the primary contact point with other states for filing amicus briefs in the United States Supreme Court and other courts in pending non-Hawaii cases that may affect Hawaii.
The Civil Recoveries Division pursues monies owed to the State. Some examples of these claims are delinquent lease rents, third-party reimbursements, salary or benefit overpayments, loan delinquencies, tax delinquencies, Medicaid estate recoveries and home property liens, complex child support payments, delinquent hospital service payments, false claim actions, contract claims and construction claims. In addition, the division provides advice and counsel to the Department of Defense.
- Asset Forfeiture Unit is now under the administration of Civil Recoveries Division.
The Civil Rights Litigation Division provides legal defense to the State, its departments and agencies, and certain state employees in lawsuits or other claims that involve allegations of constitutional or civil rights violations. This defense includes, but is not limited to, answering legal complaints filed in court, investigating claims, conducting discovery, filing motions as determined to be necessary, and representing state interests at arbitrations, mediations, and trials.
The Commerce and Economic Development Division provides legal services and litigation support to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (including the professional and vocational licensing boards), the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (including the Aloha Tower Development Corporation, the Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation, the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the High Technology Development Corporation, and the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority), and the Department of Agriculture (including the Agribusiness Development Corporation. The division also enforces the antitrust laws and provides legal services to the Board of Trustees of the State’s Deferred Compensation Plan and to other state agencies involved in administering tax deferral programs.
The Criminal Justice Division performs prosecutorial functions on behalf of the State in areas such as welfare fraud, tax fraud, unemployment fraud, unauthorized practice of law, and public corruption. The division is also responsible for prosecuting Internet crimes against children, high technology crimes, Medicaid fraud and elder abuse, violations of state tobacco laws, drug nuisance, environmental crimes, cold homicide cases, and conflict cases from the four county prosecutors’ office.
The Education Division principally provides legal advice and support to the Department of Education and the Board of Education. Other clients include the Charter School Administrative Office and the Charter Schools; the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board; the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii; the Hawaii State Public Library System; the Judiciary (including general consultation with and advice to the staff attorney’s office, and representation of judges in writs and civil lawsuits; other areas of the Judiciary are advised by the Administration Division); the Campaign Spending Commission; and the Office of Elections.
The Employment Law Division provides legal representation and advice to the Department of Human Resources Development and to all state departments and agencies on employment-related issues. The division represents all state employers in mandatory arbitration hearings, administrative agency hearings, and civil litigation involving disputes over employment matters with the State’s employees.
The Family Law Division handles all state litigation under the jurisdiction of Family Court, such as child and adult protection, guardianships, truancy, adolescent mental health cases, and involuntary civil mental commitment hearings. Clients include the Department of Health, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Education, and the Office of the Public Guardian. The division also provides support to the Child Support Enforcement Agency.
The Health and Human Services Division provides the principal legal services and support to the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services. The division enforces the State’s environmental laws, provides legal advice to all Department of Health and Department of Human Services programs, takes appeals to circuit court from administrative decisions, defends actions against the State in both State and federal court, and handles some appeals in both the State and federal appellate systems.
The Labor Division provides legal services and litigation support to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations and boards and agencies administratively attached to that department, including the State Fire Council. In connection with its enforcement of the various labor laws, the division also collects penalties, fines, and reimbursements.
The Land/Transportation Division provides legal services to both the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and the Department of Transportation (DOT). These assignments include servicing all divisions of the DLNR (Aquatic Resources, Boating, Conservation and Resources Enforcement, Forestry and Wildlife, Land, State Historic Preservation, State Parks, and Water Resource Management) and the DOT (Airports, Harbors, and Highways). The division also provides services to the following attached commissions, boards, or agencies: Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission, Natural Area Reserves System Commission, Bureau of Conveyances, the four island Burial Councils, Hawaii Historic Places Review Board, Hawaii Invasive Species Council, Commission on Transportation, State Highway Safety Council, and Medical Advisory Board. Most tort litigation involving the DLNR or the DOT is handled by another division, but the Land/Transportation Division handles a number of cases involving the State as a landlord and as a source of permits or as regulator. The division is responsible for all quiet title actions involving the State and virtually all state eminent domain actions, the bulk of which are done on behalf of the state highways program. The division prepares land disposition documents for the DLNR and the DOT and prepares office leases for the Department of Accounting and General Services when state agencies rent private property as tenants. The division reviews for legality its clients’ contracts and administrative rules. The litigation that the division handles includes enforcement actions for violations of the State Historic Preservation law and the law governing land use in conservation districts and actions for damage to natural resources of the State. The division is working on several of the DOT’s complex construction cases.
The Legislative Division provides legal services on matters pertaining to legislation and to proposed administrative rules. The division coordinates the preparation and review of all legislative bills proposed by the executive branch agencies and coordinates the review, monitoring, and evaluation of all legislative bills during and after each session of the Legislature. In addition, the division coordinates, monitors, and reviews the preparation of administrative rules of the Department of the Attorney General. This division also performs the final review of the formal opinions issued by the Attorney General and performs the initial review of complaints involving the Sunshine Law.
The Public Safety, Hawaiian Home Lands, and Housing Division provides legal services and support to the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation, and the Hawaii Public Housing Authority. The division is responsible for reviewing pardon applications and extradition documents, and responding to petitions for release from inmates under Rule 40 of the Hawaii Rules of Penal Procedure.
The Tax Division provides legal representation and advice to the Department of Taxation and other state departments and agencies, primarily in the areas of tax litigation, legislation, rules, investigations, and opinions and advice. The division contains an informal bankruptcy unit devoted to handling all bankruptcy cases for the Department of Taxation, and occasionally assists other agencies in bankruptcy matters. The division represents the Attorney General in the oversight and enforcement of laws pertaining to charitable trusts, public charities, public benefit corporations, and private foundations. The division is also responsible for the department’s registration and bonding function for professional solicitors and professional fundraising counsels under HRS chapter 467B, and enforcement of the State’s charitable solicitation laws. The division is the custodian of certifications by charities that issue charitable gift annuities under HRS § 431:204(b).
The Tort Litigation Division provides legal defense to personal injury lawsuits and claims made against the State and its departments and agencies. The division does not have primary responsibility for giving advice and counsel to any state department or agency, to provide representation in criminal matters, or to collect monies owed to the State. In general, the services provided by the division include accepting service of legal complaints for the Attorney General, answering legal complaints made against state department and agencies, investigating claims, conducting discovery on claims, and representing state interests in arbitrations, mediations, and trials.
PUBLIC SERVICES DIVISIONS
The Child Support Enforcement Agency provides assistance to children by locating parents, establishing paternity and support obligations (both financial and medical), and enforcing those obligations.
The Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Division coordinates statewide programs, activities, research, and grants for the improvement of the criminal justice system, crime victim services, and community crime prevention efforts. The Juvenile Justice Information System, which tracks youths from arrest to parole, is also a responsibility of the division.
The Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center (HCJDC) is an agency of the Department of the Attorney General in the State of Hawaii and is responsible for the statewide criminal history record information system (CJIS-Hawaii), the statewide Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), the statewide SexOffender and Other Covered Offender Registry, and the Adult Criminal Conviction Information Web Site (eCrim).
The Office of Child Support Hearings is an office funded with state and federal funds that provides a fair and impartial administrative forum for the expeditious resolution of child support disputes. Once a part of the Child Support Enforcement Agency, the office has been a separate office of the department since 1992. The office has concurrent jurisdiction with the court in proceedings in which a support obligation is established, modified, or terminated. Attorney hearings officers issue orders establishing, modifying, terminating, and enforcing child support obligations.
The Investigations Division conducts investigations in support of the department’s civil, criminal, and administrative cases. These investigations involve such areas as homeland security; Internet crimes against children; high technology computer crimes; drug nuisance abatement; environmental crimes; tobacco tax enforcement; airport, harbors, and highways; cold homicide cases; and other criminal and civil matters.